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by Peter Knegt and Steve Greene
November 29, 2011 11:39 AM
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"Take Shelter" and "The Artist" Lead Spirit Award Nominations

Jeff Nichols' "Take Shelter." Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

The nominations for the 27th Film Independent's Spirit Awards were announced this morning in Los Angeles, and both Jeff Nichols' "Take Shelter" and Michel Hazanavicius's "The Artist" (which few realized was eligible) led the pack with 5 nominations a piece.

The two films were joined in the best feature category alongside "50/50," "Beginners," "Drive," and "The Descendants." While that was a generally expected lineup (save "The Artist"), the nominations overall were quite surprising.

Beyond the unexpected presence of "The Artist," the Spirits made some major snubs in the acting categories: George Clooney ("The Descendants"), Glenn Close ("Albert Nobbs"), Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("50/50"), Owen Wilson ("Midnight in Paris"), Paul Giamatti ("Win Win"), Kenneth Branagh ("My Week With Marilyn')  and Felicity Jones ("Like Crazy") were excluded in favor of a quite a few highly unexpected nominees. Most notably, Lauren Ambrose ("Think of Me") and Rachael Harris ("Natural Selection") were nominated the lead actress category over Close and Jones.

"Like Crazy" was snubbed altogether, while Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" - though nominated for supporting actor and cinematography - was completely shut out of the top categories.

"The Artist"
Fox Searchlight was far and away the leader among distributors, taking in 14 nominations. Sony Pictures Classics followed with 9.

At the announcement, co-presenter Anthony Mackie added some levity to the proceedings, giving a tiny fist pump when “Half Nelson” co-star Gosling popped up on the nominee list. Afterwards, extolled the virtues of some of the other nominees.

“This year, I really enjoyed ‘The Artist,” ‘Take Shelter,’ and ‘Pariah,’” Mackie said. “They all have a real focus on storytelling, which is something that gets lost in all of today’s 3-D.”

Mackie’s announcing partner, Kate Beckinsale, was also quick to praise “The Artist,” citing its success as a key part of a varied field. “One of the things that I found great about it was that you couldn’t really generalize these films. We’re seeing these very left-field, high-far-reaching concepts.”

More commentary to come. Full nominations below.

The Nominees for the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards:

Best Feature (Award given to the Producer)
50/50 - Ben Karlin, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen

Beginners - Miranda de Pencier, Lars Knudsen, Jan Van Hoy, Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech

Drive - Michel Litvak, John Palermo, Marc Platt, Gigi Pritzker, Adam Siegel

Take Shelter - Tyler Davidson, Sophia Lin

The Artist - Thomas Langmann, Emmanuel Montamat

The Descendants - Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Mike Mills, Beginners

Jeff Nichols, Take Shelter

Alexander Payne, The Descendants

Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive

Best First Feature (Award given to the director and producer)
Another Earth - Director: Mike Cahill; Producers: Mike Cahill, Hunter Gray, Brit Marling, Nicholas Shumaker

In The Family - Director: Patrick Wang; Producers: Robert Tonino, Andrew van den Houten, Patrick Wang

Margin Call - Director: J.C. Chandor; Producers: Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Neal Dodson, Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Zachary Quinto

Martha Marcy May Marlene - Director: Sean Durkin; Producers: Antonio Campos, Patrick Cunningham, Chris Maybach, Josh Mond

Natural Selection - Director: Robbie Pickering; Producers: Brion, Hambel, Paul Jensen

John Cassavetes Award
(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000; award given to the writer, director, and producer)
Bellflower - Writer/Director: Evan Glodell; Producers: Evan Glodell, Vincent Grashaw

Circumstance - Writer/Director: Maryam Kesahavarz; Producers: Karin Chien, Maryan Keshavarz, Melissa M. Lee

Hello Lonesome - Writer/Director/Producer: Adam Reid

Pariah - Writer/Director: Dee Rees; Producer: Nekisa Cooper

The Dynamiter - Writers: Matthew Gordon, Brad Ingelsby; Director: Matthew Gordon; Producers: Kevin Abrams, Matthew Gordon, Merilee Holt, Nate Tuck, Amile Wilson

Best Screenplay
Mike Mills, Beginners

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, The Descendants

Joseph Cedar, Footnote

Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Tom McCarthy, Win Win

Best First Screenplay
Mike Cahill & Brit Marling, Another Earth

Patrick deWitt, Terri

Phil Johnston, Cedar Rapids

Will Reiser, 50/50

J.C. Chandor, Margin Call

Best Female Lead
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Rachael Harris, Natural Selection

Adepero Oduye, Pariah

Lauren Ambrose, Think of Me

Best Male Lead
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter

Woody Harrelson, Rampart

Ryan Gosling, Drive

Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Demian Bichir, A Better Life

Best Supporting Female
Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter

Anjelica Huston, 50/50

Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

Harmony Santana, Gun Hill Road

Shailenne Woodley, The Descendants

Best Supporting Male
Albert Brooks, Drive

John Hawkes, Martha Marcy May Marlene

Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris

John C. Reilly, Cedar Rapids

Best Cinematography
Joel Hodge, Bellflower

Darius Khondji, Midnight in Paris

Guillaume Schiffman, The Artist

Benjamin Kasulke, The Off-Hours

Jeffrey Waldron, The Dynamiter

Best Documentary (Award given to the director)
Jarreth Merz, An African Election

Richard Press, Bill Cunningham New York

Steve James, The Interrupters

David Weissman, We Were Here

Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion, The Redemption of General Butt Naked

Best Foreign Film (Award given to the director)
Asghar Farhadi, Separation

Lars Von Trier, Melancholia

Steve McQueen, Shame

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, The Kid With a Bike

Paddy Considine, Tyrannosaur

Robert Altman Award
(Given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)
Margin Call - Director: J.C. Chandor; Casting Directors: Tiffany Little Canfield, Bernard Telsey; Cast: Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Aasif Mandvi, Ashley Williams

Piaget Producers Award
Chad Burris (Mosquito y Mari)

Sophia Lynn (Take Shelter)

Josh Bond (Martha Marcy May Marlene)

Someone to Watch Award
Simon Arthur (Silver Tongues)

Mark Jackson (Without)

Nicholas Ozeki (Mamitas)

Truer Than Fiction Award
Where Soldiers Come From

Hell and Back Again

Bombay Beach

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16 Comments

  • Keith | February 28, 2012 2:05 PMReply

    What was the song playing in the very opening of the show?

  • Melanie | February 21, 2012 2:43 PMReply

    It's Josh Mond not Bond for MMMM

  • Dana Stone | December 5, 2011 7:02 PMReply

    Adam Stone's name should be included for film making (for Take Shelter).

  • Robert B | November 30, 2011 10:03 AMReply

    Saw BOMBAY BEACH last night at an On-Line screening with a Q&A after with the director. The film was mesmerizing, powerful and had rare cinematic moments. The director was lovely. My heart started pounding when she came on screen. It's true that this film is out of the box. One of the best films I ever saw. I also agree on MARGIN CALL. Great cast!!! Well deserved.

  • F.P. | November 29, 2011 10:55 PMReply

    The right choice for Robert Altman Award - the cast of 'Margin Call' has been largely ignored in end of year discussion, and rightfully earns deserved kudos for across the board excellence. It should get Best First Feature as well. How 'Midnight in Paris' merits Cinematography and Supporting Actor, but not Screenplay or Directing is beyond explanation. And 'Cedar Rapids?' No, really, 'Cedar Rapids?'

  • jingmei | November 29, 2011 7:39 PMReply

    Mostly covers all the awesome movies currently. Margin Call is really awesome, good to see it gets Robert Altman Award. Elizabeth Olsen deserves a nomination, at least. Hope Lars Von Trier and Steve McQueen gonna share something. 50/50 also deserves some prize.

  • Mindy L.B | November 29, 2011 6:07 PMReply

    I think it's funny that Bombay Beach is mentioned in almost every post.... I belong to those who think it's the best film of the year. Happy to see other people can't stop thinking/talking/arguing about it. Maybe if it had a real studio behind it we would see it nominated for best doc

  • IAN | November 29, 2011 3:33 PMReply

    Don't get me started about Bombay Beach... BEST FILM OF THE YEAR. "Love it or hate it" it is.... and I love it! I adore it! I think it can't be compared with all these other films because it's beyond ALL THE GENRES and some people don't know how to enjoy something that doesn't fit in a box... sad for them but that's nothing new.

  • Frank Stallion | November 29, 2011 2:30 PMReply

    I'm glad Bombay Beach was included in the Truer than Fiction category. But I have to say the film really wasn't for me nor do I consider it at the level of the other nominees for Best Doc. It's a "love it or hate it" I guess.

    The Interrupters and Bill Cunningham have my vote. Surprised not to see Better this World on this list. Esp. after the Gotham.

  • Jason V | November 29, 2011 2:20 PMReply

    If you don't get BOMBAY BEACH, you ain't no friend of mine. Film of the year and best doc I ever saw. Best thing about it is that enjoying it is a testimony to the viewer's soul.

  • Lee | November 29, 2011 2:14 PMReply

    Don't get Bombay Beach being included. Would make a nice short but never held as a feature length film. Some individual scenes were stylistically nice but totally ran out of steam by 30 minutes.

  • Sam Kimball | November 29, 2011 1:28 PMReply

    What about "Leave" with Rick Gomez, Frank John Hughes and Bryan Cranston? The the best film I've seen all year.

  • Mike A. | November 29, 2011 1:08 PMReply

    I'm with you on Bombay Beach. They will teach this film in film schools for years to come!!!

  • Forest | November 29, 2011 1:05 PMReply

    BOMBAY BEACH should have been ALSO nominated for best doc. It was the best film of the year...

  • Ronnie D. | November 29, 2011 12:36 PMReply

    It's Corey Stoll, not Stahl, and boy, that came out of left field.

  • sharon | November 29, 2011 12:14 PMReply

    they forget some names.felicity jones should be nominated.anyway,i like all the nomines.