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"Fargo," "Funeral," and "Dollhouse" Top Spirit Award Nominations; Pre-

"Fargo," "Funeral," and "Dollhouse" Top Spirit Award Nominations; Pre-Cursor To Oscar Nominations?


by Eugene Hernandez




Commenting on last week's announcement of the Independent Feature Project West's Spirit Awards
nominatations, a CNN reporter stated that this year the Academy may take a
cue from the indie community. Indeed, in this season full of awards
nominations and annual critics lists, the Academy's Oscar nominations will
likely follow suit and mirror some of the IFP West's choices.


Joel and Ethan Coen's "Fargo" topped the list with a total of six nominations,
while both Abel Ferrara's "The Funeral" and Todd Solondz' "Welcome To The
Dollhouse
" garnered five nominations. Each was nominated in the Best Feature
category, with Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man" and John Sayles "Lone Star" rounding out
the list. The nominees in the Best First Feature category are Campbell Scott
& Stanley Tucci's "Big Night", Mary Harron's "I Shot Andy Warhol", Lisa
Krueger's "Manny & Lo", Billy Bob Thorton's "Sling Blade", and Steve Buscemi's
"Trees Lounge". Filmmakers Joel Coen ("Fargo"), Abel Ferrara, ("The Funeral"),
David O. Russell ("Flirting With Disaster"), Todd Solondz ("Welcome To The
Dollhouse") and Robert M. Young ("Caught") were nominated in the Best Director
category.


In the writing categories, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen ("Fargo"), Jim Jarmusch ("Dead
Man"), David O. Russell ("Flirting With Disaster"), John Sayles ("Lone Star"), and
Nicholas St. John ("The Funeral"), were nominated for Best Screenplay, while
Suzan-Lori Parks ("Girl 6"), Lisa Krueger ("Manny & Lo"), Michael Scott Myers
("The Whole Wide World"), Steve Buscemi ("Trees Lounge"), and Stanley Tucci &
Joseph Tropiano ("Big Night") were nominated for Best First Screenplay.


While Academy members will have already turned in their ballots by the time
Spirit Awards winners are announced in Santa Monica, CA on March 22nd, the
tremendous amount of mainstream media attention being given to critically
accalaimed indies is likely to affect the Academy's Oscar nominations. The
absence of a clear cut Hollywood studio favorite this awards season leaves
voters in a unique position to honor movies that, in a "typical" year, would
be considered "underdogs." Academy Awards nominees will be announced
February 11th.


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