"Keep the Lights On"
"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...

Sign up HERE for Indiewire's Awards Season newsletter and receive a twice-weekly email roundup of our awards stories, hand-picked by our editors from across the Indiewire Network, plus additional coverage in the final run up to the Oscars.