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Spirit Awards 2011: Who Will Win & Who Should Win

Spirit Awards 2011: Who Will Win & Who Should Win

indieWIRE conducted a poll of its writers as well as many of its criticWIRE participants, asking two questions about this year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards: Who will win, and who should win? In thirteen categories, insiders suggested who might take home an award at the ceremony this Saturday afternoon in Santa Monica, California.

If they’re correct, look for a very spread out afternoon. Debra Granik’s “Winter’s Bone,” Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan,” Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours,” Lisa Cholodenko’s “The Kids Are All Right,” Josh & Ben Safdie’s “Daddy Longlegs,” and Lena Dunham’s “Tiny Furniture” are among the films being predicted for wins. With four of the five Spirit-nominated best pictures also nominated for Oscar’s top prize, the event should also serve as a nice way for films that might fall pray to “The King’s Speech”‘s sweep (though an independent film, it’s ineligible here because it’s British – except in the foreign film category where it does indeed look to win).

As for who should win, things were generally quite divisive. “Winter’s Bone” – predicted as the winner of best feature – was also 52% of the voters’ ideal winner, though “The Kids Are All Right” and “Black Swan” each had roughly a quarter of the support. Only two “should wins” saw support of over 60% (Dale Dickey for best supporting female and “Black Swan” for best cinematography), suggesting love across the board for a lot of these nominees.

Check out all the results below, followed by links to each individual ballot.

Best Feature
Who Will Win: Sixty-four percent of those polled agree that this is “Winter’s Bone”‘s award to lose. But 27% said “Black Swan,” and 9% said “The Kids Are All Right.” All three Oscar nominees seem like quite plausible winners.

Who Should Win: “Winter’s Bone” leads again, although by a much slighter margin. 52% gave Debra Granik’s film their vote of approval, while “Black Swan” and “The Kids Are All Right” each took 24%.

Best Director
Who Will Win: Like they did for the Oscars, voters here suggest a picture-director split, with “Black Swan” director Darren Aronofsky taking 68% of the vote here (Aronfosky has never actually won this prize, though won best feature for “The Wrestler” and best first screenplay for “Pi”). Meanwhile, 23% said Debra Granik, and 9% said Lisa Cholodenko.

Who Should Win: Forty-three percent said that Darren Aronfosky deserved this award, topping Granik (24%), Cholodenko (24%), John Cameron Mitchell (5%) and Danny Boyle (5%).

Best Female Lead
Who Will Win: For the first time in the history of the Spirits, a category features all five Oscar nominees (plus Greta Gerwig, as the Spirits opted for six nominees). But while our voters almost unanimously said she would take the Oscar, a less certain 55% said Natalie Portman would win here, with 36% saying Jennifer Lawrence would be the spoiler. Michelle Williams and Annette Bening took 5% of the vote, respectively.

Who Should Win: Anybody but Greta Gerwig, apparently. While Portman and Bening split the Oscar hopes, they tied for third here, taking 19% of the vote. Jennifer Lawrence was the leader, with 29%, while Michelle Williams took 24% for second, and Nicole Kidman also found some support in 10% of voters.

Best Male Lead
Who Will Win: The only Oscar nominee of the bunch, 91% said “127 Hours”‘s James Franco will take this (but does he have time to show up amidst his Oscar hosting duties?).

Who Should Win: James Franco found 52% of the support, but “Daddy Longlegs”‘s Ronald Bronstein, “Rabbit Hole”‘s Aaron Eckhart (19%), and “Cyrus”‘s John C. Reilly (5%) all had fans as well.

Best Supporting Female
Who Will Win: “Winter’s Bone”‘s Dale Dickey found a whopping 78% of the vote in the only acting category not to have an Oscar nominee, over better-known actresses like Naomi Watts (11%) and Allison Janney (11%). Though it’s still curious that “Black Swan”‘s Mila Kunis or Barbara Hershey weren’t nominated here.

Who Should Win: Dale Dickey was the voters’ hope as well, taking 74% over Watts (16%), Janney (5%) and Daphne Rubin-Vega (5%)

Best Supporting Male
Who Will Win: A dark horse at the Oscars, “Winter’s Bone”‘s John Hawkes is a frontrunner here, taking 68% of the vote over his fellow Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (23%).

Who Should Win: John Hawkes got 52% of the vote, but everyone got some love: Mark Ruffalo got 29%, John Ortiz got 10%, and both Bill Murray and Samuel L. Jackson got 5%.

-This article continues on the next page-

Best Screenplay
Who Will Win: Voters say this could be the one award for “The Kids Are All Right”, with 68% saying Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg’s script will top Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini’s work “Winter’s Bone” (which got 27% of the vote).

Who Should Win: “The Kids Are All Right”, though this time with only 43% of the vote, narrowing defeating “Winter’s Bone”‘s 38%. The scripts for “Life During Wartime” (10%), “Rabbit Hole” (5%) and “Please Give” (5%) all got votes as well.

Best First Feature
Who Will Win: Lena Dunham seems poised to take this, with “Tiny Furniture” getting 76% of predictions here. Though “Get Low” (14%) and “Night Catches Us” (10%) are potential spoilers.

Who Should Win: The three noted films basically spilt the vote in this regard, with “Night Catches Us” (39%) narrowly topping “Tiny Furniture” (33%) and “Get Low” (27%).

John Cassavetes Award
Who Will Win: Josh and Ben Safdie are favorites here for their “Daddy Longlegs”, which took 67% of predictions over “The Exploding Girl” (17%) and “Lovers of Hate” (11%).

Who Should Win: “Daddy Longlegs” again, but by a less wider margin. 40% voted for the Safdies, while “The Exploding Girl” (27%), “Lovers of Hate” (13%) and “LBS” (13%) all got votes as well.

Best First Screenplay
Who Will Win: One of the safest bests of Spirits’ afternoon seems like “Tiny Furniture” taking this. 100% of voters said it would.

Who Should Win: Half the voters thought “Tiny Furniture” should, with “Jack Goes Boating” (21%), “Lovely Still” (14%), “Monogamy” (7%) and “Obselidia” (7%) all getting votes.

Best Documentary
Who Will Win: Banksy has it in the bag. 100% said “Exit Through the Gift Shop”

Who Should Win: “Exit Through the Gift Shop” was also our poll’s favorite, taking 48% of the vote, while “Sweetgrass” (24%) and “Marwencol” (19%) found considerable support as well.

Best Foreign Film
Who Will Win: Boring: “The King’s Speech” looks like a winner here, with 65% saying so over the 30% that said the Spirits would be considerably more edgy and opt for “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”.

Who Should Win: “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” would make our voters much happier, as 58% wished it well… “Of Gods and Men” took 21%, while “The King’s Speech” and “Mademoiselle Chambon” took 11% each.

Best Cinematography
Who Will Win: Matthew Libatique might not win the Oscar, but 95% of our voters say he’ll win the Spirit Award for “Black Swan”.

Who Should Win: “Black Swan” again, with 71% of the support. “Winter’s Bone” took 14%, while “Tiny Furniture,” “Never Let Me Go” and “Greenberg” each had a sole vote.

Check out all of the individual ballots below, which also include their picks for the Academy Awards:

Dwight Brown
Matt Brunson
Christopher Campbell
Daryl Chin
Edward Copeland
Aaron Dobbs
Edward Douglas
Ed Gonzalez
Stephen Farber
Cynthia Fuchs
Brandon Harris
Eugene Hernandez
Robert Horton
Peter Howell
Peter Knegt
Eric Kohn
Gary Kramer
Eric Lavallee
Jonathan Poritsky
Katey Rich
Tim Robey
James Rocchi
Joshua Rothkopf
Nigel M. Smith
Anne Thompson
Scott Weinberg
Matthew Wilder
Christopher Wisniewski

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