Entertainment » Movies

’Keep The Lights On’ Scores With Indie Spirit Awards

by Robert Nesti
EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor
Tuesday Nov 27, 2012

The nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards, which have evolved into the hipster's Oscars, were announced today. Leading the nominations are two features by Indie mainstay directors, David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook") and Wes Anderson ("Moonrise Kingdom"), both films received five nominations, including Best Feature and Best Director.

There was also a strong showing by "Keep The Lights On," Ira Sachs' personal story about a gay relationship in a free-fall, with four nominations: Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Male Lead for Danish actor Thure Lindhardt.

According to the Associated Press, nominees are chosen by panels of film professionals, which gauge contenders on such criteria as uniqueness of vision; original, provocative subject matter; how economically they were produced; and percentage of financing from independent, non-Hollywood sources. Eligible films typically range from tiny-budgeted movies shot for $500,000 or less to productions that cost as much as $20 million.

The awards are much more low-key than the Oscars, given out in a large tent in Santa Monica the day before the Academy Award ceremony. Presented by the cinema group Film Independent, the Spirit Awards will be handed out on Feb. 23, 2012. The Spirit Awards show will air that night on IFC.

In the Best Male Lead category, Lindhardt will be competing against Jack Black ("Bernie"), Bradley Cooper ("Silver Linings Playbook"), John Hawkes ("The Sessions") Matthew McConaughey, ("Killer Joe") and Wendell Pierce, ("Four").

McConaughey also scored a Best Supporting Male nomination for the surprise indie hit (despite its starry cast, it cost $7 million) "Magic Mike" where he played an aging owner of a Tampa strip club. He is up against David Oyelowo, ("Middle of Nowhere"). Michael Péna, ("End of Watch"), Sam Rockwell, ("Seven Psychopaths") and Bruce Willis, "Moonrise Kingdom").

Unlike the nominations for Male Lead, those for Best Female Lead are largely unknown actresses. The only well-known name is Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook"), who crossed the line into stardom earlier this year with "The Hunger Games." She competes against Linda Cardellini, ("Return"), Emayatzy Corinealdi, ("Middle of Nowhere"), Quvenzhané Wallis, ("Beasts of the Southern Wild") and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, ("Smashed").

A similar dynamic occurred with the Best Supporting Female nominations with Helen Hunt receiving an accolade for "The Sessions" where she played a sex surrogate. She is up against Rosemarie DeWitt, ("Your Sister’s Sister"), Ann Dowd, ("Compliance"), Brit Marling, ("Sound of My Voice") and Lorraine Toussaint, ("Middle of Nowhere").

Also worth noting is the nod given "Perks of Being a Wallflower" for Best First Feature, missing, though, was a noms for Ezra Miller as the wise-ass, out high school senior in that film and Logan Lerman as the title-character, a high school sophomore recovering from an emotional breakdown.

Films that showed up on LGBT Film Festival circuits that received nominations include a Best Original Screenplay for Jonathan Lisecki ("Gayby"), the lesbian drama "Mosquita y Mari" for the John Cassavetes Award (given films made for less than $500,000) and David France’s acclaimed documentary about ACT-UP "How To Survive A Plague," given a Best Documentary nomination. Also in that category is out director Kirby Dick’s powerful look at sexual abuse in the military "The Invisible War."

Below is a complete list of nominees:

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

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

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

Best Female Lead
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 Male Lead
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 Supporting Female
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 Supporting Male
Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
David Oyelowo, Middle of Nowhere
Michael Péna, End of Watch
Sam Rockwell, Seven Psychopaths
Bruce Willis, Moonrise Kingdom

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

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

John Cassavetes Award
(for feature made for under $500,000)
Breakfast with Curtis
Middle of Nowhere
Mosquita y Mari
The Color Wheel

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

Best Documentary
How to Survive a Plague
Marina Abramovi?: The Artist Is Present
The Central Park Five
The Invisible War
The Waiting Room

Best International Film
Amour (France)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Turkey)
Rust and Bone (France/Belgium)
Sister (Switzerland)
War Witch (Democratic Republic of Congo)

16th Annual Piaget Producers Award
Nobody Walks
Prince Avalanche
Stones in the Sun

19th Annual Someone to Watch Award
Gimme the Loot
Electrick Children

Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award
The Waiting Room
Only the Young

Robert Altman Award

Robert Nesti can be reached at rnesti@edgemedianetwork.com.


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