Crank Up The Awards Machine

I go back and forth on whether or not I care about annual film awards. I used to get stupidly excited about them, then I went through a period of thinking they were total bullshit (but still watching them on TV, of course) and now I would say that I’m mildly interested in the outcomes again. This morning the nominees for the Independent Spirit Awards were announced. This is the very first indication of what’s to come from bigger awards – seeing what gets noticed here and what gets snubbed. The criteria to be nominated is (according to Spirit Award’s website):

• All submitted films must be at least 70 minutes long.
• Eligible films must have either played one week in a commercial theater or have been shown at one of the following six film festivals: the Los Angeles Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, New York, Sundance, Telluride, or Toronto.
• Eligible films must be made for no more than $20 million, including post.

If you have a film that meets all these points, you can submit it for consideration. Now, I know someone that rants weekly about the fact that there’s no way a movie like The Kids Are All Right could have been made for $20 million, all in, but let’s just assume, out of the goodness of our hearts, that all the films nominated met this criteria. I personally think that $20 million is waaaay out of truly indie territory but that’s a debate one could read on any of the snobby film blogs out there.


Best Feature
127 Hours (haven’t seen, deciding if I have the gumption to watch an arm be sawed off)
Black Swan (eagerly awaiting! Looks dark, dark, dark)
Greenberg (Honestly, my reaction is, “What?” That’s without Googling it. I’m going to assume not widely released yet?)
The Kids Are All Right ( Loved it)
Winter’s Bone (I admit I saw this movie mainly because I knew there would be a lot of buzz about it. Great story, truly low budget, but grim)

Depending upon what I think of Black Swan, which hasn’t been released in Mpls yet, I vote for The Kids Are All Right.

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky — Black Swan
Danny Boyle — 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko — The Kids Are All Right
Debra Granik — Winter’s Bone
John Cameron Mitchell — Rabbit Hole

I think if we’re voting truly DIY, indie spirit on this thing, I vote for Debra Granik for pulling this story off without slipping into sap and not flinching.

Best Screenplay
Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko — The Kids Are All Right
Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini — Winter’s Bone
Nicole Holofcener — Please Give
David Lindsay-Abaire — Rabbit Hole
Todd Solondz — Life During Wartime

Honestly, I’m fine with anyone winning this one EXCEPT Todd Solondz. I sat through this horrible, horrible movie and actually felt sweaty and delirious over its badness. The emperor has no clothes, people! If he wins, a part of me dies.

Best First Feature
Everything Strange and New
Get Low
Night Catches Us
The Last Exorcism
Tiny Furniture

I guess what’s sad here is that I’ve heard of few of these and have had the opportunity to see only two that I know of. I’ve been waiting and watching for Tiny Furniture for weeks. I’ve read all the reviews and all the interviews with Lena Dunham and I’m like, “OK, give it to me. I’m ready to buy a ticket.” Yet to no avail in the Twin Cities. I’m sure I could have seen The Last Exorcism but failed to do so because it doesn’t interest me. Night Catches Us, Everything Strange & New… have not heard of them. Must Google.

Best First Screenplay
Diane Bell — Obselidia
Lena Dunham — Tiny Furniture
Nik Fackler — Lovely, Still
Bob Glaudini — Jack Goes Boating
Dana Adam Shapiro, Evan M. Wiener — Monogamy

Same as above, really. I reserve any judgment here until I Google and figure out how to see some of these films. I’ve heard terrible things about Jack Goes Boating, which seems to have died pretty quickly, mostly because it was a play made into a film and that’s kinda tough to do well.

John Cassavetes Award — Best feature made for under $500,000
Daddy Longlegs
Lovers of Hate
The Exploding Girl

I’ve seen none of these! Heard of Daddy Longlegs and want to see it! I’ll get back on this one.

Best Female Lead
Annette Bening — Kids Are All Right
Greta Gerwig — Greenberg
Nicole Kidman — Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence — Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman — Black Swan
Michelle Williams — Blue Valentine

Wow, it’s the Ladies Indie Powerhouse Dance Team! I give it to… Jennifer Lawrence of Winter’s Bone. Very close second choice Annette Bening but there’s still that Black Swan wild card out there.

Best Male Lead
Ronald Bronstein — Daddy Longlegs
Aaron Eckhart — Rabbit Hole
James Franco — 127 Hours
John C. Reilly — Cyrus
Ben Stiller — Greenberg

Who are we all kidding? James Franco. Mr. Renaissance Man For The New Millennium. Plus I’m sure his short stories couldn’t possibly suck as much as Ethan Hawke’s did.

Best Supporting Female
Ashley Bell — The Last Exorcism
Dale Dickey — Winter’s Bone
Allison Janney — Life During Wartime
Daphne Rubin-Vega — Jack Goes Boating
Naomi Watts — Mother and Child

Ashley Bell. Why not?

Best Supporting Male
John Hawkes — Winter’s Bone
Samuel L. Jackson — Mother and Child
Bill Murray — Get Low
John Ortiz — Jack Goes Boating
Mark Ruffalo — The Kids Are All Right

Bill Murray. Always have to vote for Bill Murray. He’s got a lifetime pass.

Best Cinematography
Black Swan
Never Let Me Go
Tiny Furniture
Winter’s Bone

Winter’s Bone. Bleak done right.

Best Documentary
Exit Through the Gift Shop

Um… Was Inside Job over $20 million? Cuz all of these are important and great, I’m sure, but do they address the biggest U.S. crisis in decades?

Best Foreign Film
Kisses (Ireland)
Mademoiselle Chambon (France)
Of Gods and Men (Morocco)
The King’s Speech (UK)
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Thailand)

The King’s Speech! Haven’t seen it but can’t wait to! This is the All Buzz No Facts vote.

2 thoughts on “Crank Up The Awards Machine

  1. All I know about Greenberg is that Marc Maron brought it up about 1,000 times on the Ben Stiller episode, and Stiller seemed really proud of it.

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