Independent Spirit Awards – The most valuable part of the Film Independent Spirit Award nominations is that it helps crystallize what “indie” films “everybody” loves.
The nods serve the useful purpose of highlighting the five or six indie films that have the best chance of making a concerted push deep into Academy Award season. Of today’s top nominees, “Take Shelter” and “The Artist,” that’s helpful in very different ways. For “Take Shelter,” it helps build a little momentum for a small, great film that had seemingly been forgotten.
As for “The Artist,” it’s just more ammo for a campaign that’s seemingly firing on all cylinders.The two movies each collected five nominations, including Best Feature. They will be squaring off against “Beginners,” “The Descendants,” “Drive” and “50/50.” Other than “50/50,” all those films have been part of the Oscar conversation, although not all of them are seen to be Best Picture possibilities.
The biggest absence in the Best Feature category would appear to be “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” but because it’s director Sean Durkin’s first feature, it’s relegated to the Best First Feature category, where it’ll be taking on “Another Earth,” “In the Family,” “Margin Call” and “Natural Selection.” Still, the dark drama managed to snag four Spirit Award nods, including Best Female Lead (for Elizabeth Olsen) and Best Supporting Male (for John Hawkes).
The other movies to grab four nominations were “Beginners,” “Drive,” and “The Descendants.” If you saw only a few indie films this year, there’s a very good chance you saw these movies: They’re the most popular and well-liked indies of the year. Most obvious indie missing entirely from the Spirit Award nominations: “The Tree of Life.”