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Award Watch :: ’Artist,’ ’Take Shelter’ lead in Spirit Awards

by David Germain
Tuesday Nov 29, 2011
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The silent movie "The Artist" and the doomsday drama "Take Shelter" led the Spirit Awards honoring independent film on Tuesday with five nominations each, including best picture.

Also in the running for best picture were the cancer tale "50/50"; the action thriller "Drive"; and the family dramas "Beginners" and "The Descendants."

A black-and-white throwback to early Hollywood, "The Artist" also earned a lead-actor nomination for Jean Dujardin as a silent film star whose career crumbles as the sound era takes over in the late 1920s. The film grabbed directing and screenplay nominations for Michel Hazanavicius, along with a cinematography slot for Guillaume Schiffman.


"Take Shelter" leads the way

"Take Shelter" star Michael Shannon earned a lead-actor nomination as a family man who comes unhinged amid visions of a coming apocalyptic storm. Co-star Jessica Chastain was nominated for supporting actress, while "Take Shelter" also received nominations for director Jeff Nichols and a prize for emerging producers for Sophia Lin.

Other lead-actor contenders were Ryan Gosling for "Drive," Demian Bichir for the immigrant drama "A Better Life" and Woody Harrelson for the police story "Rampart."

The lead-actress field included Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn." Also nominated were Lauren Ambrose for the single-mom story "Think of Me," Rachael Harris for the road-trip comedy "Natural Selection," Adepero Oduye for the teen drama "Pariah" and Elizabeth Olsen as an escapee from a cult in "Martha Marcy May Marlene."

Presented by the cinema group Film Independent, the Spirit Awards will be handed out the day before the Academy Awards, at an afternoon ceremony on Feb. 25. The show will air later that night on IFC.

The Spirit Awards nominations are one of the first key honors on the long road to the Oscars, which often are dominated by big Hollywood films but generally include many nominees from the independent film world.

Last season’s top winner at the Spirit Awards, "Black Swan," also was a hit with Academy voters, earning a best-picture nomination there and winning the best-actress Oscar for Natalie Portman.


No Clooney

Notably absent from the Spirit Awards lineup was Academy Award winner George Clooney, considered a strong prospect for a best-actor nomination at the Oscars for "The Descendants."

"Like Crazy," the top winner at last January’s Sundance Film Festival, was completely overlooked, receiving no nominations.

The stars of Woody Allen’s romantic fantasy "Midnight in Paris" - among them Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Oscar winners Marion Cotillard and Kathy Bates - missed out, too. But their relatively unknown co-star, Corey Stoll, picked up a supporting-actor nomination for his scene-stealing role as Ernest Hemingway.

Clooney’s young co-star Shailene Woodley, who plays his daughter in "The Descendants," earned a supporting-actress slot.

Nominees in the supporting categories included Christopher Plummer for "Beginners," Oscar winner Anjelica Huston for "50/50," Albert Brooks for "Drive" and John Hawkes for "Martha Marcy May Marlene," who won the supporting-actor prize at last season’s Spirit Awards for "Winter’s Bone."

Along with Hazanavicius and Nichols, directing nominees were Mike Mills for "Beginners," Alexander Payne for "The Descendants" and Nicolas Winding Refn for "Drive."

Spirit Awards nominees were chosen by panels of film professionals. Members of Film Independent, who include filmmakers and movie fans, are eligible to vote on the winners.

Eligible films must have production budgets of no more than $20 million and meet independent-cinema criteria that include uniqueness of vision and original, provocative subject matter.


The Complete List of Spirit Nominees

The 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards are set to take place in Santa Monica on Feb. 25. Below is the complete list of nominees:

BEST FEATURE
50/50
Beginners
Drive
Take Shelter
The Artist
The Descendants

BEST DIRECTOR
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Mike Mills, Beginners
Jeff Nichols, Take Shelter
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Lauren Ambrose, Think of Me
Rachael Harris, Natural Selection
Adepero Oduye, Pariah
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

BEST MALE LEAD
Demián Bichir, A Better Life
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Ryan Gosling, Drive
Woody Harrelson, Rampart
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter
Anjelica Huston, 50/50
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Harmony Santana, Gun Hill Road
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Albert Brooks, Drive
John Hawkes, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris

BEST SCREENPLAY
Joseph Cedar, Footnote
Michel Hazanacivius, The Artist
Tom McCarthy, Win Win
Mike Mills, Beginners
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, The Descendants

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Another Earth
In the Family
Margin Call
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Natural Selection

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
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
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: Matthew Gordon, Merilee Holt, Art Jones, Mike Jones, Nate Tuck, Amile Wilson

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Joel Hodge, Bellflower
Benjamin Kasulke, The Off Hours
Darius Khonji, Midnight in Paris
Guillaume Shiffman, The Artist
Jeffrey Waldron, The Dynamiter

BEST DOCUMENTARY
An African Election
Bill Cunningham New York
The Interrupters
The Redemption of General Butt Naked
We Were Here

BEST FOREIGN FILM
A Separation (Iran), Director: Ashghar Farhadi
Melancholia (Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany), Director: Lars von Trier
Shame, (U.K.) Director: Steve McQueen
The Kid With a Bike (Belgium/France/Italy), Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Tyrannosaur, (U.K.) Director: Paddy Considine

ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Simon Arthur, Silver Tongues
Mark Jackson, Without
Nicholas Ozeki, Mamitas

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
Chad Burris, Mosquita y Mari
Sophia Lin, Take Shelter
Josh Mondi, Martha Marcy May Marlene

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Heather Courtney, Where Soldiers Come From
Danfung Dennis, Hell and Back Again
Alma Har-el, Bombay Beach

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
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


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This article is part of our "Award Watch 2012" series. Want to read more? Here's the full list»

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