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For Your Consideration: The 10 Biggest Surprises of the Spirit Award Nominations

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire November 26, 2013 at 2:30PM

The 10 biggest surprises of this morning's Spirit Award nominations.
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Yolanda Ross in "Go For Sisters"
Yolanda Ross in "Go For Sisters"

6. Yolonda Ross wins this years award for most out of nowhere acting nominee.
While the aforementioned nomination for Gaby Hoffman was a surprise, it paled in comparison to the shock of Yolanda Ross's nomination in best supporting female for John Sayles's "Go For Sisters," a film few have heard of. Not that were complaining. One of the nice things about the Spirits is their occasional tendency to recognize the tiniest of films over likely Oscar contenders (one would think this would have been Octavia Spencer's spot).

7. "Kill Your Darlings," "Don Jon" and "In a World" miss out on best first feature.
"Fruitvale Station" was an expected nominee (and likely winner) for best first feature, but beyond that it was a rather surprising category. Much discussed and generally acclaimed debut features from John Krokidas ("Kill Your Darlings"), Lake Bell ("In a World") and Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("Don Jon") all missed the cut in favor of Alexandre Moors's "Blue Caprice," Stacie Passon's "Concussion," Lucy Mulloy's "Una Noche" and Haifaa Al Mansour's "Wadjda." The first three aren't particularly unexpected, but "Wadjda" -- Saudi Arabia's entry at the Academy Awards -- was a surprise in that it was eligible at all (turns out its an American co-production). But nice end result here: 3 of 5 first features are directed by women.

8. Coens snubbed in best director and best screenplay.
"Inside Llewyn Davis" indeed got a nomination for best feature, the Coen Brothers first nomination here since winning for "Fargo" nearly 20 years ago. But the brothers themselves didn't get any love: They were shut out of both best director and best screenplay. Though it seems likely the Oscars will make up for that...

Ain't Them Bodies Saint, Ben Forster
Ben Foster in "Ain't The Bodies Saints"

9. "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" doesn't get a single nomination.
A film the Oscars aren't likely to recognize that could have really benefited from some love here was David Lowery's "Ain't Them Bodies Saints." But the film -- which won raves at Sundance before finding a rather underwhelming (at least financially) release this past August -- didn't get a single nomination. One would have at least expected Ben Foster's great supporting turn to get some love, but this wasn't the case. At least Lowery's other two 2013 projects -- "Pit Stop" (which he co-wrote) and "Upstream Color" (which he co-edited) -- ended up getting him nominations for first screenplay and editing, respectively.

10. The Weinsteins' Spirit Award reign is over!
After winning the best feature prize at the Spirits two years in a row for films that many felt were should not even have been eligible -- 2012's "The Artist" and 2013's "Silver Linings Playbook" -- the Weinsteins did not even receive a nomination in that category, and only found 3 overall (all of them for "Fruitvale Station"). Though notably its three big contenders this year -- "Lee Daniels' The Butler," "August: Osage County" and "Philomena" -- were all rightly ineligible for budgetary or country of origin reasons (though there was a time when we thought the same would end up being true of "The Artist" and "Silver Linings").

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

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This article is related to: Awards Season Roundup, Awards, Awards Season, Independent Spirit Awards, Spirit Awards, For Your Consideration