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by Peter Knegt
November 12, 2013 9:22 AM
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For Your Consideration: Previewing The Independent Spirit Award Nominations, Which Could Look a Lot Like The Oscars

Best Director and Best First Feature

Director Prediction: JC Chandor (All Is Lost), Joel & Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis), David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), Alexander Payne (Nebraska)
Director Spoilers: Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine), Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond The Pines), Destin Cretton (Short Term 12), Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said), Harmony Kroine (Spring Breakers), Richard Linklater (Before Midnight), Jeff Nichols (Mud), Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club)

First Feature Prediction: Afternoon Delight (Jill Soloway), Don Jon (Joseph Gordon Levitt), Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler), In a World (Lake Bell), Kill Your Darlings (John Krokidas)
First Feature Spoilers: Blue Caprice (Alexander Moors), Concussion (Stacie Passon), Escape From Tomorrow (Randy Moore), Sun Don't Shine (Amy Seimetz)

One of the most interesting races to watch is the one that has no Oscar equivalent: Best first feature. 2013 was an exceptional year for first time filmmakers. Yes, Ryan Coogler's work on "Fruitvale Station" is the clear frontrunner, but he could be joined by an impressive lineup of other new filmmakers: Jill Soloway ("Afternoon Delight"), John Krokidas ("Kill Your Darlings"), Alexander Moors ("Blue Caprice"), Lake Belll ("In a World"), Stacie Passon ("Concussion") and yes, Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("Don Jon").

As for the best director race, this seems like Steve McQueen's to lose. Which if Coogler wins as well, would make for a big first: Both winners would be black filmmakers.

"Wadjda" Wadjda

Best Foreign Film

Prediction: Blue is the Warmest Color, Gloria, The Past, Philomena, Wadjda
Spoilers: Broken Circle Breakdown, Child's Pose, The Grandmaster, The Great Beauty, The Hunt, In The House, I'm So Excited, The Rocket

This category is always quite interesting in that it often honors both foreign-language films and English-language films made outside the United States. As a result, "Once," "An Education" and "The King’s Speech” are recent winners, though last year "A Separation" and "Amour" won here the last two years just like they did at the Oscars.

This year, the only English language film that seems like it has a real shot is Stephen Frears' "Philomena," which might square off against the impressive international likes of "Blue is the Warmest Color," "Broken Circle Breakdown," "Gloria," "The Hunt," "The Past" and "Wadjda." And we bet that even though it's ineligible for the Oscars, "Blue Is The Warmest Color" will be taking home a consolation prize in this category.


"20 Feet From Stardom"
Best Documentary

Prediction: The Act of Killing, After Tiller, Cutie and the Boxer, The Square, Twenty Feet From Stardom
Spoilers: American Promise, The Armstrong Lie, Blackfish, Call Me Kuchu, God Loves Uganda, Inequality For All, Let The Fire Burn, Leviathan, Our Nixon, Running From Crazy, Tim's Vermeer, The Unknown Known, Valentine Road

As the recent IDA Award and Cinema Eye Honors nominations helped made clear, another thing 2013 has going for it is an extraordinary output of documentary filmmaking. How the Spirit Awards end up choosing to represent that is probably the toughest call of all; historically, they have very much gone their own way in this category.

Last year Kirby Dick's "The Invisible War" won while Oscar winner "Searching For Sugar Man" was nowhere in sight. The year before, Steve James’ “The Interrupters” won, helping make up for an Oscar snub. The list of possibilities is literally dozens of films long, though it would be surprising if at least one or two of our five predicted films -- "The Act of Killing," "After Tiller," "Cutie and the Boxer," "The Square" and "Twenty Feet From Stardom" -- didn't make it.

Peter Knegt is Indiewire's Senior Writer and awards columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

Check out Indiewire's latest chart of Oscar predictions here.

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9 Comments

  • Indy Guest | November 25, 2013 6:41 PMReply

    Best International Film #WrongCops by Quentin Dupieux

    Mark Burnham
    Eric Judor
    Steve Little
    Marilyn Manson
    Grace Zabriskie
    Arden Myrin
    Eric Wareheim
    Isabella Palmieri
    Daniel Quinn
    Hillary Tuck
    Jennifer Blanc
    Tim Trobec
    Ray Wise

    from @IFCMidnight 12.20.2013

  • FP | November 25, 2013 11:06 AMReply

    Wow, way to go out on a limb in listing more than 15 spoilers for best film. My predix will be so much better than friends because you covered the spread!

  • me | November 13, 2013 1:28 AMReply

    where is julia roberts from August: Osage County

  • JACK NAPIER | November 25, 2013 2:19 PM

    Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts produced by George Clooney

    what is independent about that ? ? ?? ? ? ?

  • Edward Copeland | November 12, 2013 11:21 PMReply

    Haven't the Indie Spirit Awards, aside from an acting or screenplay nomination here or there and the categories in which the Oscars don't have an equivalent, looked embarrassingly like the Academy Awards for years now -- especially in terms of winners? They gave best foreign film (not even bothering with the language requirement) to The King's Speech since that was SO independent. For 2011, they aped Oscar with wins for Christopher Plummer for supporting and The Artist for picture, actor and director. Harvey pretty much bought off this award a long time ago (and with even greater success than he has done at the Oscars). I do have to give them kudos for their awards for 2012 when they honored John Hawkes for The Sessions since the Academy didn't even other to nominate him.

  • Jon | November 12, 2013 4:51 PMReply

    Is Stories We Tell ineligable? Because that seems like a major omission in the doc category. And what's with the 20 Feet from Stardom shill? Decent film, but no other major awards have even nominated it.

  • Peter Knegt | November 12, 2013 11:18 PM

    Stories We Tell is Canadian, and thus ineligible, yes.

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  • bob hawk | November 12, 2013 11:04 AMReply

    I've been following the Indie Spirit Awards since their inception, and I can't remember any year that has had such an embarrassment of riches from which to choose. Surprises from left field are inevitable, but you have made an intelligent and coherent case for one prognosticator's take on a wildly unpredictable slate (beyond a few virtually certain locks). My one prediction (or is it just a hope?) is that the Indie Spirits this year will offer a haven of recognition for many entities who will not be taking up nominee seats at the Oscars. Here's to spreading it around!