Everyone's talking about who will and should win the Oscars in five days, but there's another award show this weekend too: The Spirit Awards, which go down Saturday afternoon in Santa Monica and honor the best in independent filmmaking. And it's looking like a showdown between two films.
Best Supporting Male: Like the aforementioned Weaver, Robert DeNiro was another bizarre "Silver Linings" snub and would have easily won this had he been nominated. The same probably goes for Dwight Henry, who was another odd omission for his work in "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Instead we got the only category without an Oscar nominee, with Michael Pena ("End of Watch"), David Oyelowo ("Middle of Nowhere"), Bruce Willis ("Moonrise Kingdom"), Sam Rockwell ("Seven Psychopaths") and Matthew McConaughey ("Magic MIke") rounding it out. Willis could definitely take this, but the money's probably more on McConaughey, who had a banner year but was snubbed at the Oscars. And while a $100 million hit released by a studio once again doesn't quite scream "indie spirit," it did only have a $7 million budget, and McConaughey most definitely deserves this.
Who Will Win: Matthew McConaughey, "Magic Mike"
Who Could Win: Bruce Willis, "Moonrise Kingdom"
Who Should Win: Matthew McConaughey, "Magic Mike"
Who Shoulda Been Here: Dwight Henry, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Best First Feature: Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" managed a sole nomination for best first feature, which would be wholly deserved if "Perks" was actually Chbosky's first feature. He directed "The Four Corners of Nowhere" back in 1995, a film that played in competition at Sundance. While 17 years is a long time between films, it doesn't quite re-virginize Chboksy's status as a first-time filmmaker. It seems like it could likely win anyway, which we'd be all for if it was a fair designation. And it seems almost like a slap in the face to Chbosky to give him an award that suggests his first film doesn't exist.
Who Will Win: "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
Who Could Win: "Safety Not Guaranteed"
Who Should Win: If it actually was a first feature, I'd say "Perks," but since it's not: "Gimme The Loot"
Who Shoulda Been Here: "Sleepwalk With Me"
John Cassavetes Award: Ava DuVernay's "Middle of Nowhere" is an absolute shoo-in for this award, given to a film made for under $500,000. It will also interestingly make her the second consecutive black female filmmaker to take this award (after Dee Rees' "Pariah" last year), a hopeful feat given the disturbingly low number of women of color filmmakers to manage nominations here (or anywhere) in the past.
What Will Win: "Middle of Nowhere"
What Could Win: "Starlet"
What Should Win: "The Color Wheel"