The Oscars and the Film Independent Spirit Awards — handed out within 36 hours of each
other — have had a lot of crossover in previous years. Many have been
finding this problematic with regard to the latter, as the Spirits seem
to consistently pick winners based on who is most likely to win an Oscar
the following night.
This crossover peaked last year, when the Oscars and Spirits were basically identical. Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o won acting trophies at both, while “12 Years a Slave” won both ceremonies’ top prizes. It was the first time ever that all five of those categories matched up perfectly.
Unless the Spirits significantly push away from their tradition of going for Oscar favorites, we could be in for a second annual complete matchup. 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 give some underdogs a chance to shine might be nice. But it doesn’t look likely:
Best Supporting Actor
Oscar nominees: Robert Duvall, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo, JK Simmons.
Spirit nominees: Riz Ahmed, Ethan Hawke, Alfred Molina, Edward Norton, JK Simmons.
Why they’ll likely match up: JK Simmons has basically won every single Best Supporting Actor trophy out there, and there’s no reason to think he won’t add two more come Spirits/Oscar weekend.
Why they might not: Maybe the Spirits will go “Boyhood” crazy and give this to Ethan Hawke? Highly unlikely, though.
Best Supporting Actress
Oscar nominees: Patricia Arquette, Laura Dern, Keira Knightley, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep.
Spirit nominees: Patricia Arquette, Jessica Chastain, Carmen Ejogo, Emma Stone, Andrea Suarez Paz.
they’ll likely match up: Like Simmons, Patricia Arquette is looking for a clean sweep in this category and her odds are pretty much just as good as his to do so.
Why they might not: Someone could pull a shocker, but definitely do not bet on it.
Oscar nominees: Steve Carell, Bradley Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton, Eddie Redmayne.
Spirit nominees: Andre 3000, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Keaton, John Lithgow, David Oyelowo.
they’ll likely match up: There’s only one person on both these lists his name is Michael Keaton. He’s the definitely favorite to win the Spirit Award, and a reasonable bet to win the Oscar.
Why they might not: Eddie Redmayne or even Bradley Cooper could definitely beat Keaton at the Oscars, and it’s also somewhat possible the Spirits decide to get sympathetic and give deserved consolation prizes to either Jake Gyllenhaal or David Oyelowo. This is the only acting race with considerable potential for no Oscars/Spirits crossover.
Oscar nominees: Marion Cotillard, Felicity Jones, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike, Reese Witherspoon.
Spirit nominees: Marion Cotillard, Rinko Kikuchi, Julianne Moore, Jenny Slate, Tilda Swinton.
they’ll likely match up: Julianne Moore is the definite frontrunner in both races for “Still Alice.”
Why they might not: While Moore is overdue for an Oscar win, she’s already won a Spirit (for “Far From Heaven”) so it’s possible they’ll opt for someone else. Possible… but not likely. Moore seems pretty poised to become the first woman to win two Best Lead Actress Spirit Awards, and only the fourth actress to win two trophies in either of the acting categories (the others are Frances McDormand, Anjelica Huston and Cate Blanchett — not bad company at all).
Oscar nominees: “American Sniper,” “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game,” “Selma,” “The Theory of Everything,” “Whiplash.”
Spirit nominees: “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “Love is Strange,” “Selma,” “Whiplash.”
they’ll likely match up: “Boyhood” and “Birdman” are in one of the tightest battles for the Best Picture Oscar that we’ve seen in a good decade. The race seems a little less tight with the Spirit Awards, where “Boyhood” seems a little more set. So while it winning both seems like the most likely scenario where they match up, “Birdman” shouldn’t be ruled out to double up either.
Why they might not: One of the groups goes for “Boyhood” and the other goes for “Birdman.” Though it’s also within reason that Spirit voters decide to make a statement against “Selma”‘s lack of Oscar love and give it a big night (which we’d definitely be fine with).
Check back with Indiewire next week for final predictions for both ceremonies across all categories.
Peter Knegt is Indiewire’s Contributing Editor and awards columnist. Follow him on Twitter.