’12 Years a Slave’ Leads Spirit Nominations with 7; ‘Nebraska’ Takes 6

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High-profile studios pics mingled with small-scale indies as Fox Searchlight’s “12 Years a Slave” led nominations for the 29th Independent Spirit Awards with seven followed by Paramount Vantage’s “Nebraska” with six.

In a year chock full of worth films, Film Indpendent voters spread the wealth among titles that are serious Oscar contenders as well as true indies with minimal budgets and a lack of marquee names.

“12 Years” was tapped for best feature, director for Steve McQueen, best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofer, supporting actress for Lupita Nyong’o, supporting actor for Michael Fassbender, cinematography for Sean Bobbit and screenplay by John Ridley. Nominated “12 Years” producers are Dede Gardner, Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Brad Pitt and Bill Pohlad.

“12 Years” has grossed $29 million in the U.S. since its launch on Oct. 18.

“Nebraska” received noms for best feature, director Alexander Payne, best actor for Bruce Dern, supporting actress for June Squibb, supporting actor for Will Forte and best first screenplay for Bob Nelson. Producers are Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa. Dern won the Best Actor award at Cannes for his work in the dark comedy.

Besides “12 Years” and “Nebraska,” the best feature nominations went to Lionsgate’s “All Is Lost,” IFC’s “Frances Ha” and CBS Films’ “Inside Llewyn Davis.” That meant two nominations for Scott Rudin, a producer on “Frances Ha” with Noah Baumbach, Rodrigo Texeira and Lila Yacoub and a producer with Joel and Ethan Coen on “Llewyn Davis.” “All Is Lost” is produced by Neal Dodson and Anna Gerb.

“All Is Lost” was also nominated for best director for J.C. Chandor, best actor for Robert Redford and best cinematography for Frank DeMarco for a total of four noms. “Blue Jasmine,” “Fruitvale Station,” “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Short Term 12” each garnered three nominations.

PHOTOS: 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations

Octavia Spencer and Paula Patton announced the nominations Tuesday morning at the W Hotel. The awards ceremonies will take place March 1 – the day before the Oscars – at the usual location in a massive white tent on Santa Monica beach.

Spencer, who starred in “Fruitvale Station,” teared up for all three of its noms — best first feature for Ryan Coogler, best actor for Michael B. Jordan and Melonie Diaz for supporting actress. “Fruitvale Station” won the Sundance grand jury prize.

Only films with budgets of $20 million or less are eligible for the Spirits. Focus Features’ “Dallas Buyers Club” took two noms for Matthew McConaughey for best actor and Jared Leto for supporting actor.  McConaughey won the Spirit’s supporting actor trophy in February for “Magic Mike.”

McConaughey was overlooked for his lead role in “Mud,” which snagged a nod for director Jeff Nichols. The drama also won the Robert Altman award — bestowed upon a director, cast and casting director.

Other films with two noms included”Before Midnight,” “Computer Chess,” “Crystal Fairy,” “Enough Said,” “Frances Ha,” “The Spectacular Now,” “Una Noche” and “Upstream Color.”

The late James Gandolfini was nominated for a supporting performance in “Enough Said.” Joseph Gordon-Levitt was tapped as a nominee in the first screenplay category for “Don Jon” as was Lake Bell for her script for “In a World.”

David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” dominated the awards last February with trophies for best feature, actress for Jennifer Lawrence and director and screenplay for Russell.

2014 Film Independent Spirit Award Nominations:

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer, Executive Producers are not awarded)
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
Frances Ha
PRODUCERS: Noah Baumbach, Scott Rudin, Rodrigo Teixeira, Lila Yacoub
Inside Llewyn Davis
PRODUCERS: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin
Nebraska
PRODUCERS: Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa

BEST DIRECTOR
Shane Carruth
Upstream Color
J.C. Chandor
All Is Lost
Steve McQueen
12 Years a Slave
Jeff Nichols
Mud
Alexander Payne
Nebraska

BEST SCREENPLAY
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 FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
Blue Caprice
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Alexandre Moors
PRODUCERS: Kim Jackson, Brian O’Carroll, Isen Robbins, Will Rowbotham, Ron Simons, Aimee Schoof, Stephen Tedeschi
Concussion
DIRECTOR: Stacie Passon
PRODUCER: Rose Troche
Fruitvale Station
DIRECTOR: Ryan Coogler
PRODUCERS: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker
Una Noche
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Lucy Mulloy
PRODUCERS: Sandy Pérez Aguila, Maite Artieda, Daniel Mulloy, Yunior Santiago
Wadjda
DIRECTOR: Haifaa Al Mansour
PRODUCERS: Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul

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

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000.  Award given to the writer, director, and producer.  Executive Producers are not awarded.
Computer Chess
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Andrew Bujalski
PRODUCERS: Houston King & Alex Lipschultz
Crystal Fairy
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Sebastiàn Silva
PRODUCERS: Juan de Dios Larraín & Pablo Larraín
Museum Hours
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Jem Cohen
PRODUCERS: Paolo Calamita & Gabriele Kranzelbinder
Pit Stop
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

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 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 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 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 CINEMATOGRAPHY
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

BEST EDITING
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 DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)
20 Feet From Stardom
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Morgan Neville
PRODUCERS: Gil Friesen & Caitrin Rogers
After Tiller
DIRECTORS/PRODUCERS: Martha Shane & Lana Wilson
Gideon’s Army
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
The Square
DIRECTOR: Jehane Noujaim
PRODUCER: Karim Amer

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
A Touch of Sin
(China)
DIRECTOR: Jia Zhang-Ke

Blue is the Warmest Color
(France)
DIRECTOR: Abdellatif Kechiche

Gloria
(Chile)
DIRECTOR: Sebastián Lelio

The Great Beauty
(Italy)
DIRECTOR: Paolo Sorrentino

The Hunt
(Denmark)
DIRECTOR: Thomas Vinterberg

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – (Given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)
Mud
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
Jacob Jaffke
Andrea Roa
Frederick Thornton

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.
My Sister’s Quinceañera

DIRECTOR: Aaron Douglas Johnston

Newlyweeds

DIRECTOR: Shaka King

The Foxy Merkins
DIRECTOR: Madeline Olnek

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

A River Changes Course

Jason Osder

Let the Fire Burn

Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez
Manakamana

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