'Silver Linings Playbook,' 'Moonrise Kingdom' lead Indie Spirit noms

Posted by · 9:42 am · November 27th, 2012

The season’s first major precursor nominations (sorry, Gotham Awards) have landed and, as usual, the Independent Spirit Awards have given the biggest boost to the biggest indies, amplifying the Oscar buzz they already had. It’s no surprise, then, to see the Weinsteins’ “Silver Linings Playbook” and Focus Features’ “Moonrise Kingdom” leading the field with five nods apiece.

However, while the former’s Best Picture Oscar nod was already a sure thing, the haul for “Moonrise,” coming on the heels of its Gotham triumph last night, raises the question of whether Wes Anderson’s nostalgic bauble, earmarked by most pundits chiefly as a screenplay contender, can crack the Academy’s top field.

Fox Searchlight’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is close behind with four nods including Best Feature, keeping its Best Picture campaign nicely on track. Also landing a top nod was Richard Linklater’s well-liked “Bernie” — that won’t do much for its Academy profile, but it’s a popular choice. The biggest surprise, and a welcome one at that, is seeing Ira Sachs’ delicate gay romantic drama “Keep the Lights On” in the Best Feature category, with three other major nominations to boot.

The Best Director field mirrors the Best Feature field — with the exception of Linklater, who sits out for “The Loneliest Planet” helmer Julia Loktev, in another small victory for lower-profile independent cinema. I’d expected to see a different female director, “Middle of Nowhere” helmer Ava DuVernay, in her place, though DuVernay did feature on the John Cassavetes Award shortlist for outstanding low-budget productions, while “Nowhere” nabbed an impressive trio of acting nods.

Elsewhere in the acting categories, Oscar hopefuls Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Quvenzhane Wallis, John Hawkes and Helen Hunt are all present and correct. Given the overall love for “Silver Linings,” some will be surprised to see Robert De Niro missing from the Best Supporting Actor race, though the Spirits routinely omit at least one surefire Oscar contender to little after-effect. 

One A-list star who certainly wasn’t forgotten, however, is Matthew McConaughey, who managed a pair of nominations: Best Actor for “Killer Joe” and Best Supporting Actor for “Magic Mike.” He’s the only mention for either film, while some will question the latter’s independent status, so the Spirit voters are clearly high on the actor’s recent career revival. This keeps hope alive for what would be a most deserving Oscar nod for “Magic Mike” — fingers crossed.

Finally, in a high-quality Best Actress field that puts to shame all those pundits talking about the “weakness” of the category, it’s thrilling to see Linda Cardellini score a nod for her remarkable work in the microbudget February release “Return.” I recently wrote about her self-financed Oscar campaign for her work — it’s nice to see this grassroots effort taking hold.

Others will chime in with more analysis soon. For now, however, here’s the full list of nominations:

Best Feature
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“Keep the Lights On”
“Moonrise Kingdom”
“Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Director
Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Ira Sachs, “Keep the Lights On”
Julia Loktev, “The Loneliest Planet”
Wes Anderson, “Moonrise Kingdom”
David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Actor
Jack Black, “Bernie”
Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
John Hawkes, “The Sessions”
Thure Lindhardt, “Keep the Lights On”
Matthew McConaughey, “Killer Joe”
Wendell Pierce, “Four”

Best Actress
Linda Cardellini, “Return”
Emayatzy Corinealdi, “Middle of Nowhere”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Quvenzhané Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, “Smashed”

Best Supporting Actor
Matthew McConaughey, “Magic Mike”
David Oyelowo, “Middle of Nowhere”
Michael Peña, “End of Watch” 
Sam Rockwell, “Seven Psychopaths”
Bruce Willis, “Moonrise Kingdom”

Best Supporting Actress
Rosemarie DeWitt, “Your Sister’s Sister”
Ann Dowd, “Compliance”
Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”
Brit Marling, “Sound of My Voice”
Lorraine Toussaint, “Middle of Nowhere”

Best Screenplay
Ira Sachs, “Keep the Lights On”
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, “Moonrise Kingdom”
Zoe Kazan, “Ruby Sparks”
Martin McDonagh, “Seven Psychopaths”
David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best First Feature
“Fill the Void”
“Gimme the Loot”
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
“Safety Not Guaranteed”
“Sound of My Voice”

Best First Screenplay
Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, “Celeste and Jesse Forever”
Rama Burshtein, “Fill the Void”
Jonathan Lisecki, “Gayby”
Christopher Ford, “Robot and Frank”
Derek Connolly, “Safety Not Guaranteed”

Best Documentary
“The Central Park Five”
“How to Survive a Plague”
“The Invisible War”
“Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present”
“The Waiting Room”

Best Foreign Film
“Once Upon a Time in Anatolia”
“Rust and Bone”
“War Witch”

Best Cinematography
Ben Richardson, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Roman Vasyanov, “End of Watch”
Lol Crawley, “Here”
Robert Yeoman, “Moonrise Kingdom”
Yoni Brook, “Valley of Saints”

Best International Film
“Once Upon a Time in Anatolia”
“Rust and Bone”
“War Witch”

John Cassavetes Award
“Breakfast With Curtis”
“The Color Wheel”
“Middle of Nowhere”
“Mosquita y Mari”

Robert Altman Award

Truer Than Fiction Award
“Only the Young”
“The Waiting Room”

Someone to Watch Award
Rebecca Thomas, “Electrick Children”
Adam Leon, “Gimme the Loot”
David Finker, “Pincus”

Producers’ Award
“Nobody Walks”
“Prince Avalanche”
“Stones in the Sun”

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