How remiss of me to wait this long before discussing the Independent Spirit Awards! Allow me to give a few opinions, as well as some (misguided) predictions for tomorrow's National Board of Review announcement.
Congratulations, first off, to Adele Romanski, nominated for the Piaget Producers Award for The Myth of the American Sleepover. You may recall my being bowled over by the film, so any support that it gets is tops. IFC picked it up for distribution, so you may get to catch it sometimes next year; I highly suggest you do.
The Please Give ensemble and casting director Jeanne McCarthy received the Robert Altman Award. A fair award, I guess. The movie's fine, and everyone works great together. I didn't fall in love with it, but there's no denying the talent involved. The play between Ann Guilbert, Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet was awfully great, really, and Sarah Steele was just disarmingly solid.
The Actress category boasts six nominees, the only category to not have five. What's more, I've actually seen four of them! Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole) and Natalie Portman (Black Swan) will probably repeat these noms throughout the season, as will Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right) and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone). That'd be kind of thrilling; how often do the Spirits and the Oscars match up like that? It's nice to see Greta Gerwig getting recognition for Greenberg, but the real shocker is not that Michelle Williams was nominated for Blue Valentine...it's that she's the sole representation of that film! If the Indie crowd can't get behind a masterful, beautifully-wrought film like Blue Valentine, who will?
Nominations that made me go whee: Dale Dickey (Winter's Bone) and Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism) for Best Supporting Female; John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Bill Murray (Get Low) and Samuel L. Jackson (for Mother and Child, which I haven't seen, but I adore him) for Best Supporting Male; Adam Kimmel (Never Let Me Go) for Best Cinematography; Winter's Bone leads in nominations with seven, including Feature and Director (Debra Granik). The noms for Dickey and Murray especially sent me something fierce, as I'm a huge fan of both their performances. Full run-down of nominees can be found here.
Now, then, to deal with the National Board of Review! For the past couple of years, they've been content to honor a top ten in addition to their Best Picture, making a kind of Top Eleven. That's one reason why I like them. The other is that they truly march to the beat of their own drum. Who else but the NBR would name Clint Eastwood Best Actor for Gran Torino, or honor The Painted Veil for Adapted Screenplay, or put The Bucket List on a Top Ten list?
Still, it's fun to try and predict things, even if you know you're going to be wildly off the mark. But no guts, no glory, as Sasha Stone likes to say.
The Ghost Writer
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network
PICTURE: The Fighter
DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Scott Silver/Paul Tamasy/Eric Johnson/Keith Dorrington, The Fighter
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Robert Harris/Roman Polanski, The Ghost Writer
ACTOR: Colin Firth, The King's Speech
ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Helena Bonham-Carter, The King's Speech
ENSEMBLE: The Kids Are All Right
DOCUMENTARY: Waiting for "Superman"
FOREIGN FILM: Biutiful
BREAKTHROUGH ACTOR: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
BREAKTHROUGH ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone