"What They Had" finds welcome humor in a tragic setting                Glenn Close, Hugh Jackman and Director Damien Chazelle to Receive Hollywood Film Awards                Ben Foster continues a hot streak with “Galveston”                Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan have captured brilliance with "Wildlife"                Amandla Stenberg, John David Washington, Yalitza Aparicio, Felix Van Groeningen & Crazy Rich Asians To Receive Hollywood Film Awards                David Gordon Green puts his stamp on "Halloween" and crafts a terrific sequel                "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" deliciously pairs Richard E. Grant with Melissa McCarthy                "22 July" sees Paul Greengrass effectively depict another tragic historical event                Timothée Chalamet and Rachel Weisz to be Honored at Hollywood Film Awards                Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet are gunning for awards with "Beautiful Boy"                "Bad Times At The El Royale" is overstuffed yet pulpy fun from Drew Goddard                87 films will contend for Best Foreign Language Feature this year                "First Man" is another stunning achievement for Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling                Updated Academy Award predictions for early October                Bradley Cooper makes a stunning directorial debut with the Oscar frontrunner "A Star Is Born"        

“Birdman”, “Boyhood”, “Nightcrawler”, and “Selma” lead the 30th Spirit Awards nominations

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Just a few moments ago, the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards announced their nominations for their 30th annual ceremony, once again providing a mix of future Academy Award nominees and smaller contenders getting their moment in the sun. In terms of the former, Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) lead the nominations with a half dozen citations, followed by Boyhood and Selma with five each. Nightcrawler also scored a total of five, with Whiplash not far behind at four. They mixed with more fringe contenders like Love is Strange (also at four) and the aforementioned smaller players that won’t even sniff Oscar love, such as A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (three nominations). Overall, it was an eclectic mix, to say the least.

I won’t speculate about potential winners just yet, but I will do a quick bit of analysis. Obviously, Birdman, Boyhood, and Selma solidified their causes as top tier Academy Award players, while Nightcrawler and to a lesser degree Whiplash strengthened theirs. There isn’t really a film, filmmaker, or performance that really announced itself as an Oscar contender here, but if you want to stretch, you could say that Big Eyes popping up in Screenplay keeps that potential player afloat.

As always, there were plenty of snubs, particularly in the acting categories, where Oscar Isaac is a notable one, missing for A Most Violent Year. Also, a shutout for The Skeleton Twins boggles my mind. That being said, for the most part bigger names tend to miss for smaller contenders, so it’s hard to get too upset about that sort of thing. As such, I won’t go into who missed out today, though perhaps later in the week I’ll come back to that…

Here now are the full nominations for the Spirit Awards:

2015 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD NOMINATIONS

BEST FEATURE
(Award given to the Producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole

Boyhood
Producers: Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland

Love is Strange
Producers: Lucas Joaquin, Lars Knudsen, Ira Sachs, Jayne Baron Sherman, Jay Van Hoy

Selma
Producers: Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey

Whiplash
Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michael Litvak

BEST DIRECTOR

Damien Chazelle
Whiplash

Ava DuVernay
Selma

Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Richard Linklater
Boyhood

David Zellner
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

BEST SCREENPLAY

Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
Big Eyes

J.C. Chandor
A Most Violent Year

Dan Gilroy
Nightcrawler

Jim Jarmusch
Only Lovers Left Alive

Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias
Love is Strange

BEST FIRST FEATURE
(Award given to the director and producer)

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Producers: Justin Begnaud, Sina Sayyah

Dear White People
Director/Producer: Justin Simien
Producers: Effie T. Brown, Ann Le, Julia Lebedev, Angel Lopez, Lena Waithe

Nightcrawler
Director: Dan Gilroy
Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak

Obvious Child
Director: Gillian Robespierre
Producer: Elisabeth Holm

She’s Lost Control
Director/Producer: Anja Marquardt
Producers: Mollye Asher, Kiara C. Jones

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

Desiree Akhavan
Appropriate Behavior

Sara Colangelo
Little Accidents

Justin Lader
The One I Love

Anja Marquardt
She’s Lost Control

Justin Simien
Dear White People

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.

Blue Ruin
Writer/Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Producers: Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani

It Felt Like Love
Writer/Director/Producer: Eliza Hittman
Producers: Shrihari Sathe, Laura Wagner

Land Ho!
Writers/Directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens
Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy

Man From Reno
Writer/Director: Dave Boyle
Writers: Joel Clark, Michael Lerman
Producer: Ko Mori

Test
Writer/Director/Producer: Chris Mason Johnson
Producer: Chris Martin

BEST FEMALE LEAD

Marion Cotillard
The Immigrant

Rinko Kikuchi
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

Julianne Moore
Still Alice

Jenny Slate
Obvious Child

Tilda Swinton
Only Lovers Left Alive

BEST MALE LEAD

André Benjamin
Jimi: All Is By My Side

Jake Gyllenhaal
Nightcrawler

Michael Keaton
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

John Lithgow
Love is Strange

David Oyelowo
Selma

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

Patricia Arquette
Boyhood

Jessica Chastain
A Most Violent Year

Carmen Ejogo
Selma

Andrea Suarez Paz
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

Emma Stone
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

BEST SUPPORTING MALE

Riz Ahmed
Nightcrawler

Ethan Hawke
Boyhood

Alfred Molina
Love is Strange

Edward Norton
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

J.K. Simmons
Whiplash

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Darius Khondji
The Immigrant

Emmanuel Lubezki
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Sean Porter
It Felt Like Love

Lyle Vincent
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Bradford Young
Selma

BEST EDITING

Sandra Adair
Boyhood

Tom Cross
Whiplash

John Gilroy
Nightcrawler

Ron Patane
A Most Violent Year

Adam Wingard
The Guest

BEST DOCUMENTARY
(Award given to the director and producer)

20,000 Days on Earth
Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
Producers: Dan Bowen, James Wilson

CITIZENFOUR
Director/Producer: Laura Poitras
Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky

Stray Dog
Director: Debra Granik
Producer: Anne Rosellini

The Salt of the Earth
Directors: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders
Producer: David Rosier

Virunga
Director/Producer: Orlando von Einsiedel
Producer: Joanna Natasegara

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
(Award given to the director)

Force Majeure
(Sweden)
Director: Ruben Östlund

Ida
(Poland)
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski

Leviathan
(Russia)
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Mommy
(Canada)
Director: Xavier Dolan

Norte, the End of History
(Philippines)
Director: Lav Diaz

Under the Skin
(United Kingdom)
Director: Jonathan Glazer

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
(Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)

Inherent Vice
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Casting Director: Cassandra Kulukundis
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

SPECIAL DISTINCTION AWARD

Foxcatcher
Director/Producer: Bennett Miller
Producers: Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik
Writers: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Actors: Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum

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.

Chad Burris
Elisabeth Holm
Chris Ohlson

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.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
H.
Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia

The Retrieval
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.

Approaching the Elephant
Director: Amanda Rose Wilder

Evolution of a Criminal
Director: Darius Clark Monroe

The Kill Team
Director: Dan Krauss

The Last Season
Director: Sara Dosa

Stay tuned to see who comes out victorious in February!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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