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by Peter Knegt
November 28, 2012 11:45 AM
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For Your Consideration: The 10 Biggest Surprises of the Spirit Award Nominations

"Keep the Lights On."

6. Linda Cardellini over Melanie Lynskey, Emily Blunt and Greta Gerwig
Last year Rachael Harris's performance in "Natural Selection" deservedly snuck in over expected nominees like Felicity Jones ("Like Crazy") in the lead actress category, and this year a similar situation occurred with another excellent performance (Linda Cardellini's in "Return") coming out of nowhere to manage a nomination. Not to say Cardellini is more or less worthy, but it definitely would have been more expected had, say, Melanie Lynskey ("Hello I Must Be Going"), Emily Blunt ("Your Sister's Sister") and Greta Gerwig ("Damsels in Distress," which was snubbed altogether) been nominated instead.

7. Thure Lindhardt and Wendell Pierce over Richard Gere and Jake Gyllenhaal
There was also some big surprises in lead actor category (which last year snubbed George Clooney's performance in "The Descendants").  Aforementioned performances by Thure Lindhardt ("Keep The Lights On") and Wendell Pierce ("Four") both took unexpected (though, again, deserved) nominations in the category (which offered six nominees instead of the usual five). But absent as a result were two actors widely predicted to pop up here: Richard Gere (for "Arbitrage") and Jake Gyllenhaal (for "End of Watch).

8. No English-language titles in the foreign film race.
The Spirit Awards' foreign film race, unlike the Oscars, is open to any film not produced in the United States and thus has the option of English-language films to be included. And included they have been. Last year three titles ("Melancholia," "Shame" and "Tyrannosaur") got nominated, and at least one English title has been included each of the past five Spirit Awards (three of them winning in "Once," "An Education" and "The King's Speech"). But this year, it was all foreign language thanks to "Amour," "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia," "Rust and Bone," "Sister" and "War Witch."

9. And no "Holy Motors" either!?
One of the snubs that seemed to find the most outrage on Twitter was the absence of Leos Carax's hugely acclaimed "Holy Motors" from the foreign category. Ineligible for the Oscar foreign category (France submitted "The Intouchables" instead, which thankfully also didn't make the cut), this would have been a nice place for the film to get some recognition...

10. Matthew McConaughey is a double nominee!
It wasn't clear whether "Magic Mike" would be eligible at the Spirits (while budgeted at just $7 million, it was released by a major studio), but it was indeed and Matthew McConaughey got an extremely warranted best supporting actor nomination as a result. But that wasn't the end of the McConaughey love. He also got a lead actor nomination for his equally deserving turn in "Killer Joe." Oddly, his nominations were the sole recognition each film received ("Magic Mike" at least should have got a screenplay nom), though another film he was in -- "Bernie" -- got nominations across the board, just not for McConaughey...

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  • jingmei | November 29, 2012 3:01 AMReply

    Cool doubts list this is, kinda share the same common. First of all, need to point out that in the item 8. Sister is the "English language title" of the France/Swiss film L'enfant d'en Haut. Guess you meant this year no English speaking films like Brit films or something. Sister is a coolly touching film, its English translation title is manipulating, only when watch it, just learn the relationship of the kid and the young adult. By the way both English and American actors in this film. Have to mention the child actor in it was amazingly impressive, besides Lea Seydoux. Same here, felt just learned that Silver Linings Playbook is an indie film. Another bit doubt is: Brit Marling and Helen Hunt are both for best supporting female instead of best lead female. Funny, John Malkovich is one of the producers of The Parks of being a wallflower. Maybe Richard Gere is more for Academy not Indie Spirit.

  • Lou | November 28, 2012 4:28 PMReply

    Hey, how about some coverage for Julia Loktev, the only woman in the Best Director category? I think that qualifies as a surprise - a welcome one!

  • Spirits annoy | November 28, 2012 2:45 PMReply

    What about SLEEPWALK WITH ME being entirely ignored? Ridiculous. And notable that nearly all the nominated films played as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival.

  • shelly | November 29, 2012 2:03 AM

    Sleepwalk With Me is so painfully mediocre. The Gotham's only nominated him because he hosted.

  • your brother's brother | November 28, 2012 1:42 PMReply

    I still couldnt believe they nominate Rosemarie as SUPPORTING - she was the clear lead and she deserves that leading nom. Also extremely disappointed that Emily didnt get nominated.

  • Brian | November 28, 2012 12:33 PMReply

    Just a note: France submitted The Intouchables. Austria submitted Amour.

  • Casey | November 28, 2012 12:09 PMReply

    I am floored KEEP THE LIGHTS ON was nominated for anything. Its script was very poor, dropping interesting characters in the needless third act, and the direction nothing special. I'll give Thure Lindhardt credit for a fine performance.