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AWARDS WATCH | “I’m Not There” Atop Spirit Award Nominations; “Juno,” “Diving Bell,” “Savages” Also

AWARDS WATCH | "I'm Not There" Atop Spirit Award Nominations; "Juno," "Diving Bell," "Savages" Also

Todd Haynes‘ “I’m Not There” led this morning’s announcement of the 2008 Film Independent’s Spirit Awards, with four nominations including best feature, best director and acting nods for Marcus Carl Franklin and Cate Blanchett, both for playing fragments of Bob Dylan. “There,” which opened in 130 locations over Thanksgiving weekend, also recieved the inaugural Robert Altman Award, which is given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. Alongside “There,” with four nominations each, were Jason Reitman‘s “Juno,” Julian Schnabel‘s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” and Tamara Jenkins‘ “The Savages,” all of which open in the next few weeks.

The nominations, which were announced by Zach Braff and Lisa Kudrow this morning in Los Angeles, featured a variety of both expected and surprise nominees. “Butterfly” and “Juno” joined “I’m Not There” as nominees in the best feature category, which also included Michael Winterbottom‘s “A Mighty Heart” and Gus Van Sant‘s “Paranoid Park.” “Park,” which won’t be seeing theatrical release in the U.S. until 2008, also garnered a director nod for Van Sant, who joined Haynes, Schnabel, Reitman and Tamara Jenkins. Notable snubs included Laura Linney‘s performance in “The Savages,” Noah Baumbach‘s “Margot at the Wedding,” whose sole nomination came for Jennifer Jason Leigh as best supporting female, as well as Craig Gillepsie‘s “Lars and the Real Girl,” which did not recieve any nominations. (Note: indieWIRE previously suggested Sarah Polley‘s “Away From Her” was snubbed, though as a Canadian production it was in fact ineligible for this year’s awards).

Jeffrey Blitz‘s “Rocket Science” led the first features with three nominations, including best first feature (which is given to both the director and producer). Julie Delpy‘s “2 Days in Paris,” Craig Zobel‘s “Great World of Sound,” Scott Frank‘s “The Lookout” and Rajnesh Domalpalli‘s “Vanaja” were also best first feature nominees. First-time feature directors Chris Eska, Stephane Gauger and Jeff Nichols were also present in the nominees for the John Cassavetes Award, which honors the director, writer and producer of a feature made for under $500,000. The five films nominated for that award were Eska’s “August Evening,” Gauger’s “Owl and the Sparrow,” Chris Smith‘s “The Pool,” Aaron Katz’s “Quiet City” and Nichols’ “Shotgun Stories.”

Film Independent also announced nominees in three special categories nominated by smaller commitees. The IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition,” nominating Ramin Bahrani, director of “Chop Shop,” Ronnie Bronstein, director of “Frownland” and Lee Isaac Chung, director of “Munyurangabo.” The Truer Than Fiction Award, presented to an emerging non-fiction director, nominated Laura Dunn for “The Unforeseen“, Gary Hustwit for “Helvetica” and John Maringouin for “Running Stumbled.” Finally, the 11th annual Producers Award honors emerging produers, with the three finalists announced as Anne Clements, producer of “Ping Pong Playa,” Alexis Ferris, producer of “Police Beat,” and Neil Kopp, producer of “Paranoid Park.”

Mathieu Amalric in a scene from Julian Schnabel’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” Photo credit Etienne George, courtesy of Miramax Films.

The other categories were selected by the Spirit Awards Nominating Committee, composed of three subcommittees: American Narrative, Foreign Film, and Documentary Film. Selected from more than 250 submissions, the winners will be presented at a ceremony will air on IFC on Saturday, February 23, 2008, in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. Diana Zahn-Storey returns to produce the event for the fourteenth consecutive year.

EDITORS NOTE: indieWIRE’s Eugene Hernandez again served on the Spirit Awards documentary film committee this year.

The complete list of nominations:

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer)

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Jon Kilik

I’m Not There
Producers: Christine Vachon, John Sloss, John Goldwyn, James D. Stern

Producers: Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Mason Novick, Russell Smith

A Mighty Heart
Producers: Dede Gardner, Andrew Eaton, Brad Pitt

Paranoid Park
Producers: Neil Kopp, David Cress


Todd Haynes, “I’m Not There”
Tamara Jenkins, “The Savages”
Jason Reitman, “Juno”
Julian Schnabel, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
Gus Van Sant, “Paranoid Park”

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)

2 Days in Paris,” Director: Julie Delpy
Producers: Julie Delpy, Christophe Mazodier, Thierry Potok

Great World of Sound,” Director: Craig Zobel
Producers: Melissa Palmer, David Gordon Green, Richard Wright, Craig Zobel

The Lookout,” Director: Scott Frank
Producers: Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Laurence Mark, Walter Parkes

Rocket Science,” Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Producers: Effie T. Brown, Sean Welch

Vanaja,” Director: Rajnesh Domalpalli
Producer: Latha R. Domalapalli

A scene from Jason Reitman’s “Juno.” Image courtesy of Fox Searchlight.

(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000; award given to the writer, director, and producer)

August Evening,” Writer/Director: Chris Eska
Producers: Connie Hill, Jason Wehling

Owl and the Sparrow,” Writer/Director: Stephane Gauger
Producers: Nguyen Van Quan, Doan Nhat Nam,
Stephane Gauger

The Pool,” Director: Chris Smith
Producer: Kate Noble
Writer: Chris Smith & Randy Russell

Quiet City,” Director: Aaron Katz
Producers: Brendan McFadden, Ben Stambler
Writers: Aaron Katz, Erin Fisher, Cris Lankenau

Shotgun Stories,” Writer/Director: Jeff Nichols
Producers: David Gordon Green, Lisa Muskat, Jeff Nichols


Ronald Harwood, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
Tamara Jenkins, “The Savages”
Fred Parnes & Andrew Wagner, “Starting Out in the Evening”
Adrienne Shelly, “Waitress”
Mike White, “Year of the Dog”


Jeffrey Blitz, “Rocket Science”
Zoe Cassavetes, “Broken English”
Diablo Cody, “Juno”
Kelly Masterson, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”
John Orloff, “A Mighty Heart”

Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman in a scene from Tamara Jenkins’ “The Savages.” Photo by Andrew Schwartz, courtesy of Fox Searchlight.


Angelina Jolie, “A Mighty Heart”
Sienna Miller, “Interview”
Ellen Page, “Juno”
Parker Posey, “Broken English”
Tang Wei, “Lust, Caution”


Pedro Castaneda, “August Evening”
Don Cheadle, “Talk To Me”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Savages”
Frank Langella, “Starting Out in the Evening”
Tony Leung, “Lust, Caution”


Cate Blanchett, “I’m Not There”
Anna Kendrick, “Rocket Science”
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “Margot at the Wedding”
Tamara Podemski, “Four Sheets to the Wind”
Marisa Tomei, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”


Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Talk To Me”
Marcus Carl Franklin, “I’m Not There”
Kene Holliday, “Great World of Sound”
Irrfan Khan, “The Namesake”
Steve Zahn, “Rescue Dawn”


Mott Hupfel, “The Savages”
Janusz Kaminski, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
Milton Kam, “Vanaja”
Mihai Malaimare, Jr., “Youth Without Youth”
Rodrigo Prieto, “Lust, Caution”

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director)

Crazy Love,” Director: Dan Klores
Lake of Fire,” Director: Tony Kaye
Manufactured Landscapes,” Director: Jennifer Baichwal
The Monastery,” Director: Pernille Rose Gronkjaer
The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair,” Directors: Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the director)

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” Director: Cristian Mungiu (Romania)
The Band’s Visit,” Director: Eran Kolirin (Israel)
Lady Chatterley,” Director: Pascale Ferran (France)
Once,” Director: John Carney (Ireland)
Persepolis,” Directors: Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi (France)

(Given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)

I’m Not There,” Director: Todd Haynes
Casting Director: Laura Rosenthal
Ensemble Cast: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Bruce Greenwood, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw

The latest coverage of the Spirit Awards, the Oscars, and more are available in indieWIRE’s Awards Watch section.

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