As always, surprises abounded in this year’s nominations announced on November 25. Who came out ahead and behind?
This year the jury supplied some zingers, including scruffy indies “Jimi: All is By My Side” and “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter.” That’s their job.
Besides Spirit frontrunners “Birdman” (six nominations including Alejandro González Iñárritu, Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Edward Norton) and “Boyhood” (five, including Richard Linklater, Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke), films catching an Oscar wave from the Spirits include “Selma,” which was deemed eligible even though it was released by Paramount, earning five nominations (feature, director, male lead and supporting female), “A Most Violent Year” (editing, screenplay and supporting female Jessica Chastain), “Nightcrawler” (five, first feature, screenplay, male lead, supporting male) and “Whiplash” (four including feature, director, editing, supporting actor J.K. Simmons).
Ava DuVernay is an Indie Spirit favorite so it is not surprising that the group favored “Selma”‘s creator, spirit and low budget over its studio roots (technically, it was indie-financed). And SPC’s “Love Is Strange” gets a nice boost for actors John Lithgow and Alfred Molina.
Julianne Moore, who won the Best Lead Female Spirit Award back in 2002 for “Far From Heaven,” should win both a Spirit Award and the Oscar for “Still Alice.” Her supposed rival Reese Witherspoon (who was last nominated for “Election”), did not land nomination for “Wild.” Due to its budget, Sony Pictures Classics’ “Foxcatcher” was deemed ineligible, but confusingly was given the “Special Distinction” award. “Foxcatcher” could have used the Indie Spirits boost, but Sony will have to bask in getting 15 nominations to Weinstein Co.’s three.
Snubbed: “A Most Violent Year,” “The Skeleton Twins,” “Wild”
Snubs: Oscar Isaac (“A Most Violent Year”), Ellar Coltrane (“Boyhood”), Bill Hader (“The Skeleton Twins”), Bill Murray (“St. Vincent”), Miles Teller (“Whiplash”).
Expected: Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”), Jessica Chastain (“A Most Violent Year”), Emma Stone (“Birdman”)
Snubs: Laura Dern (“Wild”), Kristen Stewart (“Still Alice”), Marisa Tomei (“Love is Strange”), Tessa Thompson (“Dear White People”)
Expected: Riz Ahmed (“Nightcrawler”), Ethan Hawke (“Boyhood”), Alfred Molina (“Love is Strange”), Edward Norton (“Birdman”), JK Simmons (“Whiplash”)
Snubs: JC Chandor (“A Most Violent Year”), Craig Johnson (“The Skeleton Twins”), Alex Ross Perry (“Listen Up Phillip”), Ira Sachs (“Love is Strange”), Jeremy Saulnier (“Blue Ruin”)
Best First Feature
Snubs: “Appropriate Behavior” (Desiree Akhavan), “Coherence” (James Ward Byrkit), “Infinitely Polar Bear” (Maya Forbes), “Rosewater” (Jon Stewart), “St. Vincent” (Theodore Melfi)
Snubs: “The Imitation Game,” “Mr. Turner,” “The Theory of Everything,” “Two Days, One Night,” “Winter Sleep”
Snubs: “The Case Against 8,” “E-Team,” “Finding Vivian Maier,” “Keep On Keepin On,” “Life Itself,” “Last Days in Vietnam,” “The Overnighters,” “Point and Shoot,” “Rich Hill,” “Tales of the Grim Sleeper”
Expected: Dan Gilroy “Nightcrawler,” JC Chandor “Most Violent Year”
Surprises: Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (“Big Eyes”), Jim Jarmusch (“Only Lovers Left Alive”), Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias (“Love is Strange”)
More after the jump.
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 awarded.
Producer: Chris Martin
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – (Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)
Ensemble Cast: Josh Brolin, Martin Donovan, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Joaquin Phoenix, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio Del Toro, Katherine Waterston, Michael Kenneth Williams, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon
18th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 18th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, 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.
21st ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 21st annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.
Director: Chris Eska
20th ANNUAL LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 20th annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters 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 funded by LensCrafters.