Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years a Slave and Alexander Payne‘s Nebraska dominated the Film Independent Spirit Award nominations, announced this morning. Slave scored seven noms, including best feature and director and best male lead for Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays a free man kidnapped and sold into slavery. And Nebraska claimed six noms, including feature, director and best male lead for Bruce Dern, who stars as an old man on a final, befuddled quest.
The two films will compete for best feature honors with the sea-going survival tale All Is Lost, the New York-set romantic comedy Frances Ha and Inside Llewyn Davis, a look at the Greenwich Village folk scene in the early ’60s.
Besides Ejiofor and Dern, the best actor field – which includes six, rather than five, nominees – also found room for Davis‘ Oscar Isaac, Fruitvale Station‘s Michael B. Jordan, Dallas Buyers Club‘s Matthew McConaughey, and, receiving his first Spirit nomination in any category, Lost‘s Robert Redford.
Cate Blanchett led the best female list alphabetically for her performance as a suddenly destitute trophy wife in Blue Jasmine. The category also includes Julie Delpy for Before Midnight (for which she also received a screenplay nomination), Gaby Hoffmann for Crystal Fairy, Brie Larson for Short Term 12 and Shailene Woodley for The Spectacular Now.
James Gandolfini received a posthumous nomination as supporting male for his performance as a divorced man getting a second chance at love in Enough Said. The other nominees in that category are Michael Fassbender for Slave, Will Forte for Nebraska, Jared Leto for Dallas and Keith Stanfield for Short.
For best supporting female, the nominees are Melonie Diaz for Fruitvale, Sally Hawkins for Jasmine, Lupita Nyong’o for Slave, Yolonda Ross for Go for Sisters and June Squibb for Nebraska.
When it came to citing five directors, the nominations mixed it up. Noms were granted to Slave‘s McQueen, Nebraska‘s Payne and Lost‘s J.C. Chandor. But instead of also including Ha‘s Noah Baumbach and Davis‘ Joel and Ethan Cohen, the remaining two slots were allotted to Shane Carruth for Upstream Color and Jeff Nichols for Mud.
Mud, a Southern Gothic drama about two boys who encounter a fugitive, played by McConaughey, was also selected to receive the organization’s Robert Altman Award, given to a film’s director (Nichols), its casting director (Francine Maisler) and its ensemble cast.
Woody Allen, who won the Spirit screenplay award in 2009 for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, was nominated this year for Jasmine. The other nominated screenwriters are Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater for Before Midnight, Nicole Holofcener for Said, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber for Spectacular, and John Ridley for Slave.
For best international film, the nominees are China’s A Touch of Sin, France’s Blue Is the Warmest Color, Chile’s Gloria, Italy’s The Great Beauty and Denmark’s The Hunt. Of the five, Gloria, Beauty and Hunt also have been submitted for the foreign language film Academy Award by their respective countries.
The documentary feature nominees include 20 Feet From Stardom, After Tiller, Gideon’s Army, The Act of Killing and The Square.
While two of the five best feature nominees — Nebraska and Frances Ha — are in black-and-white, neither of them found their way into the list of cinematography nominees. However, one nominee in that group, Computer Chess, shot by Matthias Grunsky, is in both color and black-and-white. The other nominees are Sean Bobbitt for Slave, Benoit Debie for Spring Breakers, Bruno Delbonnel for Davis and Frank G. DeMarco for Lost.
This year, the awards will also include a best editing trophy for the first time. The inaugural nominees are Carruth and David Lowery for Upstream, Jem Cohen and Marc Vives for Museum Hours, Jennifer Lame for Ha, Cindy Lee for Una Noche and Nat Sanders for Short Term.
The awards recognized newer talent in several categories. Nominated for best first feature are the producers and directors behind Blue Caprice, Concussion, Fruitvale, Noche and Wadjda. For best first screenplay, the nominees are Lake Bell for In a World, Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Don Jon, Bob Nelson for Nebraska, Jill Soloway for Afternoon Delight and Michael Starrbury for The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete.
With nominations spread across 45 different films, there was plenty of love to go around. However, a number of this season’s indies — among them Lee Daniels’ The Butler, August: Osage County, Out of the Furnace and Lone Survivor — did not figure in the voting since their budgets exceeded the $21 million cutoff. Sarah Polley‘s documentary Stories We Tell was also out of the running as it is a Canadian production.
Other hopefuls came up short. Despite support for their films, neither Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Enough Said or Greta Gerwig of Francis Ha made it into the best actress race. While Davis got a best feature nom, the Coen brothers didn’t crack either the directing or the screenplay list. And Octavia Spencer didn’t secure a nom in supporting actress for Fruitvale.
Among distributors, Fox Searchlight had the best showing, thanks to its seven noms for Slave and two for Said. IFC Films collected eight noms, while Sony Pictures Classics and Paramount had six each.
Spencer and Paula Patton revealed the list of nominees at The W Hollywood.
The Spirit Awards, handed out annually by Film Independent, will be announced March 1 at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards on the beach in Santa Monica and telecast at 10 p.m. PT/ET that night on IFC. Patton Oswalt is set to host the ceremony.
A complete list of nominees follows.
(Award given to the producer) * Executive Producers are not listed.
12 YEARS A SLAVE
PRODUCERS: Dede Gardner, Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Brad Pitt, Bill Pohlad
ALL IS LOST
PRODUCERS: Neal Dodson, Anna Gerb
PRODUCERS: Noah Baumbach, Scott Rudin, Rodrigo Teixeira, Lila Yacoub
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
PRODUCERS: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin
PRODUCERS: Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa
BEST FIRST FEATURE
(Award given to the director and producer)
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Alexandre Moors
PRODUCERS: Kim Jackson, Brian O’Carroll, Isen Robbins, Will Rowbotham, Ron Simons, Aimee Schoof, Stephen Tedeschi
DIRECTOR: Stacie Passon
PRODUCER: Rose Troche
DIRECTOR: Ryan Coogler
PRODUCERS: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Lucy Mulloy
PRODUCERS: Sandy Pérez Aguila, Maite Artieda, Daniel Mulloy, Yunior Santiago
DIRECTOR: Haifaa Al Mansour
PRODUCERS: Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
(Award given to the best feature made for under $500,000; award given to the writer, director, and producer)
* Executive Producers are not listed.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Andrew Bujalski
PRODUCERS: Houston King, Alex Lipschultz
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Sebastián Silva
PRODUCERS: Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín
WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Jem Cohen
PRODUCERS: Paolo Calamita, Gabriele Kranzelbinder
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Yen Tan
WRITER: David Lowery
PRODUCERS: Jonathan Duffy, James M. Johnston, Eric Steele, Kelly Williams
THIS IS MARTIN BONNER
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Chad Hartigan
PRODUCER: Cherie Saulter
SHANE CARRUTH – Upstream Color
J.C. CHANDOR – All Is Lost
STEVE McQUEEN -12 Years A Slave
JEFF NICHOLS – Mud
ALEXANDER PAYNE – Nebraska
WOODY ALLEN – Blue Jasmine
JULIE DELPY, ETHAN HAWKE, RICHARD LINKLATER – Before Midnight
NICOLE HOLOFCENER –Enough Said
SCOTT NEUSTADTER & MICHAEL H. WEBER – The Spectacular Now
JOHN RIDLEY – 12 Years A Slave
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
LAKE BELL – In A World
JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT – Don Jon
BOB NELSON – Nebraska
JILL SOLOWAY – Afternoon Delight
MICHAEL STARRBURY – The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete
SEAN BOBBITT – 12 Years A Slave
BENOIT DEBIE – Spring Breakers
BRUNO DELBONNEL – Inside Llewyn Davis
FRANK G. DEMARCO – All Is Lost
MATTHIAS GRUNSKY – Computer Chess
SHANE CARRUTH, DAVID LOWERY -Upstream Color
JEM COHEN, MARC VIVES – Museum Hours
JENNIFER LAME – Frances Ha
CINDY LEE – Una Noche
NAT SANDERS – Short Term 12
BEST MALE LEAD
BRUCE DERN -Nebraska
CHIWETEL EJIOFOR – 12 Years A Slave
OSCAR ISAAC – Inside Llewyn Davis
MICHAEL B. JORDAN –Fruitvale Station
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY – Dallas Buyers Club
ROBERT REDFORD – All Is Lost
BEST FEMALE LEAD
CATE BLANCHETT – Blue Jasmine
JULIE DELPY – Before Midnight
GABY HOFFMANN –Crystal Fairy
BRIE LARSON – Short Term 12
SHAILENE WOODLEY – The Spectacular Now
BEST SUPPORTING MALE
MICHAEL FASSBENDER – 12 Years A Slave
WILL FORTE –Nebraska
JAMES GANDOLFINI – Enough Said
JARED LETO – Dallas Buyers Club
KEITH STANFIELD – Short Term 12
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
MELONIE DIAZ – Fruitvale Station
SALLY HAWKINS – Blue Jasmine
LUPITA NYONG’O –12 Years A Slave
YOLONDA ROSS – Go For Sisters
JUNE SQUIBB – Nebraska
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
A TOUCH OF SIN (China)
DIRECTOR: Jia Zhang-Ke
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (France)
DIRECTOR: Abdellatif Kechiche
DIRECTOR: Sebastián Lelio
THE GREAT BEAUTY (Italy)
DIRECTOR: Paola Sorrentino
THE HUNT (Denmark)
DIRECTOR: Thomas Vinterberg
(Award given to the director and producer)
20 FEET FROM STARDOM
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Morgan Neville
PRODUCERS: Gil Friesen, Caitrin Rogers
DIRECTORS/PRODUCERS: Martha Shane and Lana Wilson
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Dawn Porter
PRODUCER: Julie Goldman
THE ACT OF KILLING
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Joshua Oppenheimer
PRODUCERS: Joram Ten Brink, Christine Cynn, Anne Köhncke, Signe Byrge Sørensen, Michael Uwemedimo
DIRECTOR: Jehane Noujaim
PRODUCER: Karim Amer
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
(Award given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)
DIRECTOR: Jeff Nichols
CASTING DIRECTOR: Francine Maisler
ENSEMBLE CAST: Joe Don Baker, Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Tye Sheridan, Paul Sparks, Bonnie Sturdivant, Reese Witherspoon
17th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
The 17th 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.
TOBY HALBROOKS & JAMES M. JOHNSTON
20th ANNUAL SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
The 20th annual Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.
AARON DOUGLAS JOHNSTON, director of MY SISTER’S QUINCEAÑERA
SHAKA KING, director of NEWLYWEEDS
MADELINE OLNEK, director of THE FOXY MERKINS?
19th ANNUAL STELLA ARTOIS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
The 19th annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by Stella Artois, 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.
KALYANEE MAM, director of A RIVER CHANGES COURSE
JASON OSDER, director of LET THE FIRE BURN
STEPHANIE SPRAY & PACHO VALEZ, directors of MANAKAMANA