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The Reeler Blog

Check the Math: Independent Spirit Nods Actually Independent?

Jesus -- I step out for an afternoon and all these little films get uppity and popular and entitled and the next thing you know they're nominated for awards? This absolutely cannot be right. In a kind of stunning about face from last year, the 2007 Independent Spirit Award nominees are actually -- *gasp* -- independent films?

Well, not quite all of them, but check out this sampling:

Best Picture: American Gun, The Dead Girl, Half Nelson, Little Miss Sunshine, Pan’s Labyrinth (the latter of which, being the most expensive, still came in at only about half of Film Independent's $20 million budget cap; compare that to $90 million for The Departed, an IFP Gotham Award nominee for best feature)

Best First Feature: Day Night Day Night (Director: Julia Loktev), Man Push Cart (Ramin Bahrani), The Motel (Michael Kang), Sweet Land (Ali Selim), Wristcutters: A Love Story (Goran Dukic)

Best Documentary: A Lion in the House (Directors: Steven Bognar & Julia Reichert), My Country, My Country (Laura Poitras), The Road to Guantanamo (Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross), The Trials of Darryl Hunt (Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern), You’re Gonna Miss Me (Keven McAlester)

Also look for a ton of other New York-linked indie nominations, from directing and acting nods for Half Nelson to acting nods for Man Push Cart, Stephanie Daley and A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. The DIY upstarts behind Four Eyed Monsters received looks for the John Cassavetes Award and best cinematography, and those Sweet Land nominations are amazing coups for one of the most underappreciated films of the year; a tip of the cap to director Selim and actress Elizabeth Reaser for her Best Female Lead recognition. Moroever, In Between Days director So Yong Kim is up for a $50,000 grant, as are Shortbus producers Howard Gertler and Tim Perell and Half Nelson producers Alex Orlovsky and Jamie Patricof.

Over at Risky Biz, Anne Thompson bottom lines the most essential, clear-eyed analysis you can make of these nominations:

The Indie Spirit Awards accomplish several important things: besides putting the spotlight on deserving low-budget movies that may not have gotten the attention they deserved during the year, they also help to clue film critics around the country to movies that they may have missed, which in turn means that they may now turn up in their year-end ten-best lists and critics' groups awards.

I know what you're thinking: "But... where is Marie Antoinette? Where is Babel?" Never mind that; they have their own glitz-drenched awards show. But enough about the Gothams; this is a time to ask another, more pressing question: What does In Between Days have to do to get a goddamned distributor around here? Is it time? Finally?

ADDED NOTE: Filmmakers can still submit their work to the Spirit Awards' Short Film Contest at Film Independent's Web site.

Posted at November 28, 2006 5:08 PM

Comments (1)

More importantly, where is Sherrybaby and Maggie Gyllenhaal? Ridiculous that the movie was completely ignored.

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