‘Precious,’ ‘Last Station’ Lead Spirit Award Noms
First Published: December 4, 2009 3:53 PM EST Credit: Lionsgate
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The urban drama “Precious” and the Leo Tolstoy period piece “The Last Station” each earned a leading five nominations Tuesday for the Spirit Awards honoring independent film.
The two acclaimed movies will compete for best feature film with the romance “500 Days of Summer” and the immigrant dramas “Amreeka” and “Sin Nombre.”
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” also earned a best-actress nomination for newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, who plays an illiterate Harlem teen rising above a life of incest and abuse, and a supporting-actress slot for Mo’Nique, who plays her mother. The movie also grabbed honors for director Lee Daniels and screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher.
Helen Mirren had a best-actress nominationfor her role as Tolstoy’s wife in “The Last Station,” while Christopher Plummer earned a supporting-actor honor as the aging Russian author in the drama centered on a struggle over his estate. Filmmaker Michael Hoffman received directing and screenplay nominations for “Last Station.”
The Spirit Awards will be presented March 5, two days before the Academy Awards, in a ceremony airing on the Independent Film Channel.
Though many low-budget films competing for Spirit Awards never gain traction for the Oscars, notable contenders often go on to earn nominations for Hollywood’s top honors. Last year’s acting contenders for the Spirit Awards included eventual best-actor Oscar winner Sean Penn for “Milk,” along with Oscar nominees Mickey Rourke for “The Wrestler,” Anne Hathaway for “Rachel Getting Married” and Melissa Leo for “Frozen River.”
Absent from this year’s Spirit Awards nominations is the acclaimed Iraq War drama “The Hurt Locker,” which was eligible for those prizes last year. Because it was released theatrically this year, it is eligible for the 2009 Oscars, whose nominations come out Feb. 2.
For best actress, Mirren and Sidibe are up against Nisreen Faour for “Amreeka,” Maria Bello for the romantic thriller “Downloading Nancy,” and Gwyneth Paltrow for the dark romance “Two Lovers.”
Nominated for best actor were Jeff Bridges in the country-music tale “Crazy Heart,” Colin Firth in the 1960s gay drama “A Single Man,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “500 Days of Summer,” Souleymane Sy Savane for the buddy drama “Goodbye Solo,” and Adam Scott for the sibling story “The Vicious Kind.”
The war-on-terror drama “The Messenger” ran second with four nominations, including best feature from a first-time director and supporting-acting slots for Samantha Morton and Woody Harrelson. “The Messenger” star Ben Foster was overlooked for a nomination for his acclaimed performance as an Iraq War hero assigned to notify next-of-kin about soldiers’ deaths.
Also nominated for best first feature is the horror sensation “Paranormal Activity,” which was shot for just $15,000 and has taken in more than $100 million at the box office.
Joel and Ethan Coen’s “A Serious Man,” about a Midwest Jewish academic in the 1960s who is beset with career and family troubles, was chosen to receive the Robert Altman Award honoring a film’s director, casting director and ensemble of actors.
The Coens also earned a directing nomination for “A Serious Man.”
Presented by the cinema group Film Independent, the Spirit Awards honor movies that cost less than $20 million to make, with a significant part of their budget originating from outside the Hollywood studio system. Other criteria for nominations include films’ originality and provocative subject matter.
Complete List of Nominees:
BEST FEATURE (award given to the producer)(500) Days of Summer — Producers: Mason Novick, Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters, Steven J. Wolfe Amreeka — Producers: Paul Barkin, Christina Piovesan Precious — Producers: Lee Daniels, Gary Magness, Sarah Siegel-Magness Sin Nombre — Producer: Amy Kaufman The Last Station — Producers: Bonnie Arnold, Chris Curling, Jens Meuer
BEST DIRECTOR Ethan Coen, Joel Coen — A Serious Man Lee Daniels — Precious Cary Joji Fukunaga — Sin Nombre James Gray — Two Lovers Michael Hoffman — The Last Station
BEST SCREENPLAY Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman — The Messenger Michael Hoffman — The Last Station Lee Toland Krieger — The Vicious Kind Greg Mottola — Adventureland Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber — (500) Days Of Summer
BEST FIRST FEATURE (award given to the director and producer)A Single Man — Director: Tom Ford, Producers: Tom Ford, Andrew Miano, Robert Salerno, Chris Weitz Crazy Heart — Director: Scott Cooper, Producers: T Bone Burnett, Judy Cairo, Rob Carliner, Scott Cooper, Robert Duvall Easier With Practice — Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Producer: Cookie Carosella Paranormal Activity — Director: Oren Peli, Producer: Jason Blum, Oren Peli The Messenger — Director: Oren Moverman, Producers: Mark Gordon, Lawrence Inglee, Zach Miller
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY Sophie Barthes — Cold Souls Scott Cooper — Crazy Heart Cherien Dabis — Amreeka Geoffrey Fletcher — Precious Tom Ford, David Scearce — A Single Man
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (given to the best feature made for under $500,000; award given to the writer, director, and producer)Big Fan — Writer/Director: Robert Siegel Producers: Elan Bogarin, Jean Kouremetis Humpday — Writer/Director/Producer: Lynn Shelton The New Year Parade — Writer/Director: Tom Quinn Producers: Steve Beal, Tom Quinn Treeless Mountain — Writer/Director: So Yong Kim Producers: Bradley Rust Gray, Ben Howe, So Yong Kim, Lars Knudsen, Jay Van Hoy Zero Bridge — Writer/Director: Tariq Tapa Producers: Josee Lajoie, Hilal Ahmed Langoo, Tariq Tapa
BEST FEMALE LEAD Maria Bello — Downloading Nancy Nisreen Faour — Amreeka Helen Mirren — The Last Station Gwyneth Paltrow — Two Lovers Gabourey Sidibe — Precious
BEST MALE LEAD Jeff Bridges — Crazy Heart Colin Firth — A Single Man Joseph Gordon-Levitt — (500) Days Of Summer Souleymane Sy Savane — Goodbye Solo Adam Scott — The Vicious Kind
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE Dina Korzun — Cold Souls Mo’Nique — Precious Samantha Morton — The Messenger Natalie Press — Fifty Dead Men Walking Mia Wasikowska — That Evening Sun
BEST SUPPORTING MALE Jemaine Clement — Gentlemen Broncos Woody Harrelson — The Messenger Christian McKay — Me and Orson Welles Raymond McKinnon — That Evening Sun Christopher Plummer — The Last Station
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Roger Deakins — A Serious Man Adriano Goldman — Sin Nombre Anne Misawa — Treeless Mountain Andrij Parekh — Cold Souls Peter Zeitlinger — Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
BEST DOCUMENTARY (award given to the director) Anvil! The Story of Anvil — Director: Sacha Gervasi Food, Inc. — Director: Robert Kenner More Than a Game — Director: Kristopher Belman October Country — Directors: Donal Mosher, Michael Palmieri Which Way Home — Director: Rebecca Cammisa
BEST FOREIGN FILM (award given to the director) A Prophet (France) — Director: Jacques Audiard An Education (U.K./France) — Director: Lone Scherfig Everlasting Moments (Sweden) — Director: Jan Troell Mother (South Korea) — Director: Bong Joon-Ho The Maid (Chile) — Director: Sebastian Silva
ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD (The 16th annual Acura Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Acura.)Kyle Patrick Alvarez — Easier With Practice Asiel Norton — Redland Tariq Tapa — Zero Bridge
TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD (The 15th annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of nonfiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.)Natalia Almada — El General Jessica Oreck — Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo Bill Ross, Turner Ross — 45365
PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD (The 13th annual Piaget Producers Award 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.)Karin Chien — The Exploding Girl, Santa Mesa Larry Fessenden — I Sell the Dead, The House of the Devil Dia Sokol — Beeswax, Nights & Weekends
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD (given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)A Serious ManDirectors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen Casting Directors: Ellen Chenoweth, Rachel Tenner Ensemble Cast: Richard Kind, Sari Lennick, Jessica McManus, Fred Melamed, Michael Stuhlbarg, Aaron Wolff
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.