The Oscars and the Spirit Awards — handed out within 36 hours of each other — often have a lot of crossover. This has actually been the subject of a bit of complaint with regard to the latter, who seem to consistently pick winners based on whose most likely to win an Oscar the next night.
Last year, they both had the same best actress (Jennifer Lawrence). The year before, they had the same best picture (“The Artist”), actor (Jean Dujardin) and supporting actor (Christopher Plummer). But never have in the 28 years the Spirit Awards have been handed out have they had as much correlation as is likely to come on the weekend of March 1-2, 2014. Unless the Spirits significantly push away from their tradition of going for Oscar favorites, we could be in for the first ever complete matchup, at least in terms of the acting categories — and maybe best picture too. Which frankly would be a bit of a shame given how much those same four people have dominated everything this season. As deserving as most feel they are, having the Spirit Awards given some underdogs a chance to shine might be nice. But it doesn’t look likely:
Best Supporting Actor
Oscar nominees: Barkhad Abdi, Bradley Cooper, Michael Fassbender, Jonah Hill, Jared Leto
Spirit nominees: Michael Fassbender, Will Forte, James Gandolfini, Jared Leto, Keith Stanfield
Why they’ll likely match up: Jared Leto has won basically every supporting actor prize under the moon for “Dallas Buyers Club,” and is the absolute frontrunner to win both of these prizes.
Why they might not: The Spirits — which, unlike the Oscars, didn’t nominate “Dallas Buyers Club” for best picture — might decide to break from the trend and go with Michael Fassbender or James Gandolfini instead. But that’s not very likely.
Best Supporting Actress
Oscar nominees: Sally Hawkins, Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts, June Squibb
Spirit nominees: Melonie Diaz, Sally Hawkins, Lupita Nyong’o, Yolonda Ross, June Squibb
they’ll likely match up: Though she’s not as secure for a win as Jared Leto, it’s pretty safe to say Lupita Nyong’o is the most likely to succeed in both races for her debut performance in “12 Years a Slave”
Why they might not: The Oscars could go with Jennifer Lawrence instead, who won both an Oscar and a Spirit Award last year. Or maybe — and that’s a very slight maybe — June Squibb will pull off a surprise win in either race.
Oscar nominees: Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew McConaughey
Spirit nominees: Bruce Dern, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oscar Isaac, Michael B. Jordan, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Redford
they’ll likely match up: Matthew McConaughey is coming on strong to take these home after Golden Globe, SAG and Critics Choice Award wins. And notably his biggest competition — Bruce Dern and Chiwetel Ejiofor — are nominated in both races too, so there’s lots of ways this could end up matching up.
Why they might not: If any organization is unlikely to hand it to McConaughey, it’s the Spirits. While snubbed by the Oscars last year for “Magic Mike,” he actually won a Spirit Award for it. So he’s not due with them. Which paves the way a bit more for Dern or Ejiofor to take it instead (or Robert Redford — his Oscar snub might create a sentimental vote already present by the fact that it’s the Indie Spirits and Redford is, you know, the man behind Sundance and all). Of the four acting races, this is probably the weakest match up link.
Oscar nominees: Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep
Spirit nominees: Cate Blanchett, Julie Delpy, Gaby Hoffmann, Brie Larson, Shailene Woodley
they’ll likely match up: There’s only one double nominee among these two races and she has been the frontrunner since “Blue Jasmine” opened in the summer. Cate Blanchett’s work in the film is a powerhouse of a performance almost nobody has been able to deny.
Why they might not: The recent controversy surrounding Woody Allen may all of a sudden make voters think twice about voting for a performance from one of his films, no matter how incredible it is. Which opens the door for Amy Adams at the Oscars, and perhaps Brie Larson — who was one of the few to beat Cate Blanchett in a best actress race this season — at the Spirits.
Oscar nominees: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, The Wolf of Wall Street
Spirit nominees: 12 Years a Slave, All Is Lost, Frances Ha, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska
they’ll likely match up: “12 Years a Slave” seems like a pretty sure thing to take the top prize at the Spirits, so it’s up to Oscars voters — who seem likely to be debating between “12 Years,” “Gravity” and “American Hustle.” But “12 Years” is probably the very slight frontrunner among that trio, which means these races are more likely to match up than not.
Why they might not:
“American Hustle or “Gravity” (the latter the more likely) wins at the Oscars. But even if that happens and all the acting winners lineup between the two awards — that’s still a first.
Peter Knegt is Indiewire’s Senior Writer and awards columnist. Follow him on Twitter if you want more of the same.