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Tuesday Awards Wrap-Up: Who Comes Out Ahead?

Tuesday Awards Wrap-Up: Who Comes Out Ahead?

Following Monday night’s Gotham wins, Tuesday morning brought almost simultaneous breaking news on New York Film Critics Circle winners and Indie Spirit nominations. (Ironically, the NYFCC, which was seeking additional attention by moving their awards date up, wound up shooting themselves in the foot by competing with the Spirits. And the movie they delayed an extra day for, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” did not win anything.)

Who came out ahead in the awards race?

Clearly, the Weinstein Co. had a very good day, as they won the NYFCC’s Best Picture (“The Artist”), Director (Michel Hazanavicius) and Best Actress (Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”) prizes. Also getting a leg up in the actress race was Michelle Williams, who earned an Independent Spirit nomination for TWC’s “My Week with Marilyn.” Among other Spirit nominations (listed in full below), “The Artist” led the field with five nominations, along with Sony Pictures Classics’ “Take Shelter.” Fox Searchlight’s “The Descendants” settled for four. Other Spirit feature noms include Summit’s “50/50,” FilmDistrict’s “Drive,” and Focus Features’ “Beginners.”

The NYFCC placed Streep solidly at the front of the Best Actress race for her role as Margaret Thatcher, beating out Viola Davis for “The Help.” It’s Streep’s fifth win as Best Actress from the NYFCC, a record for an actress, reminded tweeter @MarkHarrisNYC. (Jack Nicholson has six.) On the Indie Spirit side, Elizabeth Olsen (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”) and Williams moved forward in the awards race with Best Actress nominations. Kirsten Dunst and Tilda Swinton were not eligible for Indie Spirits, as “Melancholia” and “We Need to Talk About Kevin” were deemed foreign films.

“The Descendants”‘s George Clooney was a significant omission from the NYFCC voting, which surprisingly went for Brad Pitt for “The Tree of Life” and “Moneyball.” This in all likehood moves Pitt into serious Oscar contention for “Moneyball,” as Searchlight is chasing supporting actor for “The Tree of Life.” Clooney was also left out of the Indie Spirits nominations, which instead favored “A Better Life”‘s Mexican star Demian Bichir, “The Artist”‘s French star Jean Dujardin and three American actors: Ryan Gosling (“Drive”), Woody Harrelson (“Rampart”) and Michael Shannon (“Take Shelter”). “The Descendants”‘ Shailene Woodley did keep her supporting actress bid alive with an Indie Spirit nomination. It may be that both groups didn’t think that Clooney needed their support–presumably the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and Oscars will come through for the popular star.

The NYFCC gave support not only to “The Artist” but to “Moneyball” and “Tree of Life,” for Pitt, best screenplay (Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, “Moneyball”), and cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life”).

Best Foreign film from the NYFCC went to Sony Pictures Classics for Iranian Oscar submission “A Separation,” which was also nominated by the Indie Spirits, along with Lars von trier’s “Melancholia” (Magnolia), Steve McQueen’s “Shame” (Fox Searchlight), the Dardennes’ “The Kid with a Bike” (IFC) and Paddy Considine’s “Tyrannosaur” (Strand). (“The Artist,” which was foreign-financed, written and directed by a Frenchman with a cast of French and American actors speaking English on location in Hollywood, was eligible in other categories.)

The New York critics helped to boost “Margin Call” (especially in the Oscar original screenplay category), which won best first feature for writer-director JC Chandor. This $3.5 million movie, with savvy awards strategists Roadside Attractions behind it, is gunning for a real campaign swing. Kevin Spacey is also in their sights for the wide open supporting actor race.

In fact, Roadside had a very good day, as “Margin Call” also won the Indie Spirit’s ensemble Altman Award, as well as nominations for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay, along with “Albert Nobbs”‘s Janet McTeer for Best Supporting Female, and “Circumstance” (The Movie) for the John Cassevetes Award. Left out however, was “A;bert Nobbs”‘ Glenn Close, although again, the Screen Actors Guild, Globes and Oscars will likely come through.

Indie it-girl Jessica Chastain got a push from the NYFCC, which cited three of her 2011 features, “Take Shelter, The Help” and “The Tree of Life” (not “The Debt” or “Coriolanus”), which won’t help other awards voters narrow down her many performances. She was nominated for an Indie Spirit for “Take Shelter.” I suspect her Oscar nomination could be for the more widely seen “The Tree of Life,” which Searchlight is chasing aggressively.

Albert Brooks is now a viable supporting actor candidate for FilmDistrict’s “Drive,” with both a win from the NYFCC and an Indie Spirit nomination. “Drive” also earned a coveted best feature nom from the Indie Spirits. Also looking good in supporting is Christopher Plummer, who was nominated by the Indie Spirits for “Beginners.”

Werner Herzog got his due from the NY critics for 2011 release “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” which IFC qualified for the Oscars last year, unfortunately; the recent Oscar short list of 15 did not include his latest film “Into the Abyss.” In the doc category, the Spirits nominated the surprise omission from the Oscar short list, Steve James’ “The Interrupters,” as well as “An African Election,” “The Redemption Of General Butt Naked” and Oscar shortlist docs “Bill Cunningham: New York” and “We Were Here.”

Among the films that were overlooked at the NYFCC were Paramount’s “Like Crazy” and two Fox Searchlight films, “The Descendants” and “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” which along with “Like Crazy” also failed to land an Indie Spirit best feature nomination, settling instead for lead actress (Elizabeth Olsen) and “best first feature,” for which “Like Crazy” was ineligible. “Like Crazy” star Felicity Jones will have to hang onto her Gotham high.

The winners of the Spirit Awards will be announced on February 25 on IFC.

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer, Executive Producers are not listed)
50/50 Producers: Evan Goldberg, Ben Karlin, Seth Rogen
Beginners Producers: Miranda de Pencier, Lars Knudsen, Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech, Jay Van Hoy
Drive Producers: Michel Litvak, John Palermo, Marc Platt, Gigi Pritzker, Adam Siegel
Take Shelter Producers: Tyler Davidson, Sophia Lin
The Artist Producer: Thomas Langmann
The Descendants Producers: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

Michel Hazanavicius The Artist
Mike Mills Beginners
Jeff Nichols Take Shelter
Alexander Payne The Descendants
Nicolas Winding Refn Drive
Joseph Cedar Footnote
Michel Hazanavicius The Artist
Tom McCarthy Win Win
Mike Mills Beginners
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash The Descendants
BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
Another Earth Director: Mike Cahill Producers: Mike Cahill, Hunter Gray, Brit Marling, Nicholas Shumaker

In the Family Director: Patrick Wang Producers: Robert Tonino, Andrew van den Houten, Patrick Wang
Margin Call Director: J.C. Chandor
 Producers: Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Neal Dodson, Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Zachary Quinto
Martha Marcy May Marlene Director: Sean Durkin
 Producers: Antonio Campos, Patrick Cunningham, Chris Maybach, Josh Mond
Natural Selection Director: Robbie Pickering Producers: Brion Hambel, Paul Jensen
Mike Cahill, Brit Marling Another Earth
J.C. Chandor Margin Call
Patrick deWitt Terri
Phil Johnston Cedar Rapids
Will Reiser 50/50
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000.  Award given to the writer, director, and producer.  Executive Producers are not listed
Bellflower Writer/Director: Evan Glodell Producers: Evan Glodell, Vincent Grashaw
Circumstance Writer/Director: Maryam Keshavarz Producers: Karin Chien, Maryam Keshavarz, Melissa M. Lee

Hello Lonesome Writer/Director/Producer: Adam Reid
Pariah Writer/Director: Dee Rees Producer: Nekisa Cooper
The Dynamiter Writer: Brad Inglesby Director: Matthew Gordon Producers: Kevin Abrams, Matthew Gordon, Merilee Holt, Art Jones, Mike Jones, Nate Tuck, Amile Wilson
Lauren Ambrose Think of Me
Rachael Harris Natural Selection
Adepero Oduye Pariah
Elizabeth Olsen Martha Marcy May Marlene
Michelle Williams My Week with Marilyn
Demián Bichir A Better Life
Jean Dujardin The Artist
Ryan Gosling Drive
Woody Harrelson Rampart
Michael Shannon Take Shelter
Jessica Chastain Take Shelter
Anjelica Huston 50/50
Janet McTeer Albert Nobbs
Harmony Santana Gun Hill Road
Shailene Woodley The Descendants

Albert Brooks Drive
John Hawkes Martha Marcy May Marlene
Christopher Plummer Beginners
John C. Reilly Cedar Rapids
Corey Stoll Midnight in Paris

Joel Hodge Bellflower
Benjamin Kasulke The Off Hours
Darius Khondji Midnight in Paris
Guillaume Schiffman The Artist
Jeffrey Waldron The Dynamiter
BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)
An African Election Director/Producer: Jarreth Merz
Bill Cunningham New York Director: Richard Press
Producer: Philip Gefter

The Interrupters Director/Producer: Steve James Producer: Alex Kotlowitz
The Redemption of General Butt Naked Director/Producers: Eric Strauss, Daniele Anastasion
We Were Here Director/Producer: David Weissman
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
A Separation (Iran) Director: Asghar Farhadi
Melancholia (Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany) Director: Lars von Trier
Shame (UK) Director: Steve McQueen
The Kid With a Bike (Belgium/France/Italy) Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Tyrannosaur (UK) Director: Paddy Considine
PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 15th annual Piaget Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films.  The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.
Chad Burris Mosquita y Mari
Sophia Lin Take Shelter
Josh Mond Martha Marcy May Marlene
SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 18th annual Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.  The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.
Simon Arthur Silver Tongues
Mark Jackson Without
Nicholas Ozeki Mamitas
TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 17th annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition.  The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.
Heather Courtney Where Soldiers Come From
Danfung Dennis Hell and Back Again
Alma Har’el Bombay Beach
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – (Given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)
Margin Call Director: J.C. Chandor Casting Director: Tiffany Little Canfield, Bernard Telsey
Ensemble Cast: Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto, Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci
Fox Searchlight Another Earth, Cedar Rapids, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Shame, The Descendants, Win Win 14
Sony Pictures Classics A Separation, Footnote, Midnight in Paris, Take Shelter 9
Focus Features Beginners, Pariah 6
The Weinstein Company My Week with Marilyn, The Artist 6
FilmDistrict Drive 4
Roadside Attractions Albert Nobbs, Circumstance, Margin Call 4
Summit Entertainment 50/50, A Better Life 4
The Cinema Guild Natural Selection, The Interrupters 3
Oscilloscope Laboratories Bellflower 2
No Distributor The Dynamiter 2
ATO Pictures Terri 1
Bodega Studios Hello Lonesome 1
Focus World Bombay Beach 1
International Film Circuit Where Soldiers Come From 1
Magnolia Pictures Melancholia 1
Millenium Entertainment Rampart 1
Motion Film Group Gun Hill Road 1
New Video Hell and Back Again 1
Red Flag Releasing We Were Here 1
Strand Releasing Tyrannosaur 1
Sundance Selects
The Kid With a Bike 1
Zeitgeist Films Bill Cunningham New York 1
No Distributor An African Election 1
No Distributor In the Family 1
No Distributor Mamitas 1
No Distributor Mosquito y Mari 1
No Distributor The Off Hours 1
No Distributor The Redemption of General Butt Naked 1
No Distributor Silver Tongues 1
No Distributor Think of Me 1


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