Predictions for the Independent Spirit Awards

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Yes, the Academy Awards are on Sunday, but they aren’t the only big award show this weekend. The Independent Spirit Awards are on Saturday, making for a great one-two punch. I’ve always enjoyed the Spirit Awards as much as any precursor, even if their Oscar impact is basically nil. They represent a chance to honor some of the films that won’t be cited anywhere else. Sure, the movies have become more Oscar friendly in recent years, but there’s still some wonderful variety on display. Voters here are far different from Academy members, so it’s a different perspective, to say the least. As such, predicting the Spirit winners is a lot harder, that’s for sure.

Below you’ll see my picks, but quickly I’ll just say this…I really like some of their more diverse choices. True, this is another place where the big categories more or less come down to Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s Birdman vs Richard Linklater’s Boyhood (and once upon a time Ava DuVernay’s Selma), but Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash is strongly represented here as well. The Spirit Awards always throw in some nominees you’ve barely heard of (the film Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter is that one for me this year), but lately they’ve matched up more and more with Oscar. Still, while Academy picks are all around, they also go more for the little guy. That leads to J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year not getting shut out, along with titles like The Immigrant, Obvious Child, and even Under the Skin getting nominations too. Yes, the big prizes are either going to Birdman or Boyhood, but at least one or two of the winners will be artists/films that never would have had a moment in the sun otherwise. That’s one of the biggest things I love about this precursor. They recognize the little guy. It’s something the movie industry should do more of, in general.

Alright, that’s that. Here now are my Spirit Award predictions. Take a gander:

BEST FEATURE

1. Boyhood
2. Birdman
3. Selma
4. Whiplash
5. Love is Strange

BEST DIRECTOR

1. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu – Birdman
2. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
3. Ava DuVernay – Selma
4. Damien Chazelle – Whiplash
5. David Zellner – Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

BEST SCREENPLAY

1. Dan Gilroy – Nightcrawler
2. Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias – Love is Strange
3. J.C. Chandor – A Most Violent Year
4. Jim Jarmusch – Only Lovers Left Alive
5. Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski – Big Eyes

BEST FIRST FEATURE

1. Nightcrawler
2. Dear White People
3. Obvious Child
4. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
5. She’s Lost Control

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

1. Dear White People
2. The One I Love
3. Little Accidents
4. She’s Lost Control
5. Appropriate Behavior

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)

1. Blue Ruin
2. Land Ho!
3. Test
4. It Felt Like Love
5. Man From Reno

BEST FEMALE LEAD

1. Julianne Moore – Still Alice
2. Marion Cotillard – The Immigrant
3. Jenny Slate – Obvious Child
4. Tilda Swinton – Only Lovers Left Alive
5. Rinko Kikuchi – Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

BEST MALE LEAD

1. Michael Keaton – Birdman
2. David Oyelowo – Selma
3. Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
4. John Lithgow – Love is Strange
5. André Benjamin – Jimi: All Is By My Side

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

1. Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
2. Emma Stone – Birdman
3. Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
4. Carmen Ejogo – Selma
5. Andrea Suarez Paz – Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

BEST SUPPORTING MALE

1. J.K. Simmons – Whiplash
2. Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
3. Edward Norton – Birdman
4. Alfred Molina – Love is Strange
5. Riz Ahmed – Nightcrawler

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

1. Emmanuel Lubezki – Birdman
2. Darius Khondji – The Immigrant
3. Bradford Young – Selma
4. Lyle Vincent – A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
5. Sean Porter – It Felt Like Love

BEST EDITING

1. Sandra Adair – Boyhood
2. Tom Cross – Whiplash
3. John Gilroy – Nightcrawler
4. Ron Patane – A Most Violent Year
5. Adam Wingard – The Guest

BEST DOCUMENTARY

1. Citizenfour
2. Stray Dog
3. Virunga
4. The Salt of the Earth
5.20,000 Days on Earth

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM

1. Mommy
2. Under the Skin
3. Ida
4. Leviathan
5. Force Majeure
6. Norte, the End of History

Stay tuned to see who wins on Saturday night when the Spirit Awards give out their prizes!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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