Each year, the night before the Academy Awards, the world of independent cinema gathers in New York City to honor the best of the best from outside the studio system. Ranging from no-budget, down and dirty indies to Sundance breakouts to talent-filled productions that wooed the studios enough to find major distribution, the Independent Spirit Awards bestow their honors to an entirely separate list of nominees.
Saturday night, show host Andy Samberg and a slew of famous faces handed out the awards. Here's a full rundown of the nominees and winners (marked in bold as they're announced!):
Best FeatureBeasts of the Southern WildBernieKeep the Lights OnMoonrise KingdomSilver Linings Playbook
Best DirectorBenh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern WildIra Sachs, Keep the Lights OnJulia Loktev, The Loneliest PlanetWes Anderson, Moonrise KingdomDavid O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Best ActorJack Black, BernieBradley Cooper, Silver Linings PlaybookJohn Hawkes, The SessionsThure Lindhardt, Keep the Lights OnMatthew McConaughey, Killer JoeWendell Pierce, Four
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Best ActressLinda Cardellini, ReturnEmayatzy Corinealdi, Middle of NowhereJennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings PlaybookQuvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern WildMary Elizabeth Winstead, Smashed
Best Supporting ActorMatthew McConaughey, Magic MikeDavid Oyelowo, Middle of NowhereMichael Peña, End of Watch Sam Rockwell, Seven PsychopathsBruce Willis, Moonrise Kingdom
Best Supporting ActressRosemarie DeWitt, Your Sister's SisterAnn Dowd, ComplianceHelen Hunt, The SessionsBrit Marling, Sound of My VoiceLorraine Toussaint, Middle of Nowhere
Best ScreenplayIra Sachs, Keep the Lights OnWes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise KingdomZoe Kazan, Ruby SparksMartin McDonagh, Seven PsychopathsDavid O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Best First FeatureFill the VoidGimme the LootThe Perks of Being a WallflowerSafety Not GuaranteedSound of My Voice
Best First ScreenplayRashida Jones and Will McCormack, Celeste and Jesse ForeverRama Burshtein, Fill the VoidJonathan Lisecki, GaybyChristopher Ford, Robot and FrankDerek Connolly, Safety Not Guaranteed
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Best DocumentaryThe Central Park FiveHow to Survive a PlagueThe Invisible WarMarina Abramovic: The Artist is PresentThe Waiting Room
Best Foreign FilmAmourOnce Upon a Time in AnatoliaRust and BoneSisterWar Witch
Best CinematographyBen Richardson, Beasts of the Southern WildRoman Vasyanov, End of WatchLol Crawley, HereRobert Yeoman, Moonrise KingdomYoni Brook, Valley of Saints
John Cassavetes AwardBreakfast With CurtisThe Color WheelMiddle of NowhereMosquita y MariStarlet
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It's award season time, and it isn't an awards season without those little indies that could getting in on the action. Today marked the announcement of the 2013 Independent Spirit Award nominees, and many of the buzzy films from the past year made it into the race.
Topping off the nominations with five apiece are Silver Linings Playbook and Moonrise Kingdom, both of whom garnered nods for Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, among others for the actors. One actor making multiple cut-ins is Matthew McConaughey, whose work in Magic Mike and Killer Joe nabbed him nominations for Best Supporting Male and Best Male Lead, respectively.
It's not all smooth-sailing, though: the announcement of Silver Linings Playbook in the pool caused a bit of controversy, as the film's budget was reportedly over the $20 million cut-off point set by the governing body of the awards, but it seems as though the Weinsteins handled that little issue to keep it as a contender. This year's Spirit Awards are scheduled to air at 10PM on Saturday, February 23, 2013 on IFC—only one day before the Academy Awards. The full list of nominees is below.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Keep the Lights On
Silver Linings Playbook
Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom)
Julia Loktev (The Loneliest Planet)
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On)
Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
BEST FIRST FEATURE
Fill the Void
Gimme the Loot
Safety Not Guaranteed
Sound of My Voice
Perks of Being a Wallflower
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
Breakfast With Curtis (Laura Colella)
Middle of Nowhere (Ava DuVernay)
Mosquita y Mari (Aurora Guerrero)
Starlet (Sean Baker)
The Color Wheel (Alex Ross Perry)
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom)
Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks)
Martin McDonagh (Seven Psychopaths)
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias (Keep the Lights On)
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Rama Burshtein (Fill the Void)
Derek Connolly (Saftey Not Guaranteed)
Nicholas Jarecki (Arbitrage)
Rashida Jones & Will McCormack (Celeste and Jesse Forever)
Jonathan Lisecki (Gayby)
BEST FEMALE LEAD
Linda Cardellini (Return)
Emayatzy Corinealdi (Middle of Nowhere)
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smashed)
BEST MALE LEAD
Jack Black (Bernie)
Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
John Hawkes (The Sessions)
Thure Lindhardt (Keep the Lights On)
Matthew McConaughey (Killer Joe)
Wendell Pierce (Four)
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Rosemarie DeWitt (Your Sister’s Sister)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Brit Marling (Sound of My Voice)
Lorraine Toussaint (Middle of Nowhere)
BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
David Oyelowo (Middle of Nowhere)
Michael Pena (End of Watch)
Sam Rockwell (Seven Psychopaths)
Bruce Willis (Moonrise Kingdom)
Beasts of the Southern Wild
End of Watch
Valley of Saints
The Central Park Five
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present
The Waiting Room
BEST FOREIGN FILM
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Rust and Bone
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
Alicia Van Couvering (Nobody Walks)
Mynette Louie (Stones in the Sun)
Derrick Tseng (Prince Avalanche)
SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
David Fenster (Pincus)
Adam Leon (Gimme the Loot)
Rebecca Thomas (Electrick Children)
TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel)
Only the Young (Jasonyyee Tippet and Elizabeth Mimms)
The Waiting Room (Peter Nicks)
What do you think of the nominees? Surprised by any? Disappointed by this missing? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Joe Scarnici/WireImage]
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Troubled by unfortunate event after unfortunate event The Watch sidesteps faux pas to come out on top as a consistently funny sci-fi comedy that doesn't let its high concept tangle up a bevy of one-liners. The script penned by Jared Stern Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg assumes you've seen a few movies before entering the theater (mainly any sci-fi movie made in the 1980s). "Summer movie logic" is the foundation for The Watch's ridiculous plot which finds four adult nincompoops teaming up to form a Neighborhood Watch trying to solve the murder of a local Costco employee and eventually pursuing a killer extraterrestrial. Instead of making sense of it all The Watch wisely focuses on its four leads: Ben Stiller Vince Vaughn Jonah Hill and The IT Crowd's Richard Ayoade — a quartet whose bro banter goes a long way in spicing up the dust-covered material. There's nothing revelatory to be found in The Watch but the cast's knack for improv a poetry of the profane makes the adventure worth…viewing.
Director Akiva Schaffer (Hot Rod) establishes his two-dimensional characters quickly and bluntly smashing together broad personality types like a Hadron Collider of cinematic comedy. Stiller's Evan is a micromanaging do-gooder who can't find time for his wife; Hill's Franklin is a mildly disturbed weapons enthusiast yearning to join the police; Ayoade is the quaint weirdo who joins the Watch to fill the void left by his divorce; Vince Vaughn is Vince Vaughn: a loud crass gent looking for a bit of male bonding. The ragtag team assembles to fight crime but they spend most of their time drinking beers in a minivan — an affair they dub "stakeouts." A perfect opportunity for banter.
For a movie about enforcing the law and alien invasions there's a surprising lack of action in The Watch. Long stretches of the film see the central players yapping back and forth about everything: Russian nesting dolls peeing in cans or the similar viscosities of alien goo and human excrement. Charisma goes a long way and Vaughn does much of the heavy lifting making up for lost time out of the spotlight (he's been virtually nonexistent since 2005's Wedding Crashers). The man spits out jokes like no other — the rest of the cast barely keeps up. Ayoade balances out Vaughn's bombardment with a tempered timed delivery that's uniquely British and rarely found on the American big screen. Even when nothing's happening in The Watch it's rarely boring.
The Watch is at its best when it goes a step further mixing the group in with outsiders and throwing them off their rhythm. Billy Crudup cuts loose as a creepy neighbor and its delightfully weird while the always-impressive Rosemarie DeWitt as Evan's wife Abby brings unexpected warmth to the couple's relationship. Sadly The Watch mishandles its greatest asset: the aliens. The film never finds a pitch perfect blend of comedy and science fiction (Ghostbusters or Galaxy Quest this is not); a few scenes where the two come together hint at the best possible scenario but more often than not The Watch avoids its sci-fi roots. A moment in which the guys haul a dead alien back to their man cave plays like an E.T.-inspired version of The Hangover credits. It's lewd and ridiculous but the rest of the film struggles to maintain that energy.
Stiller Vaughn Hill and Ayoade have all proved themselves able funnymen capable of taking weak and tired material up a notch which they're forced to do in every moment of The Watch. Schaffer can handle his talent but his direction isn't adding anything to the mix. By the third slow-motion-set-to-gangster-rap scene The Lonely Island member's obsession with non-cool-coolness is officially just an attempt at being cool (which is not all that funny). The Watch has a greater opportunity than most comedy blockbusters to go absolutely bonkers: it's rated R. But instead of taking its twist and running with it the movie plays it safe. In this case safe is non-stop jokes about the many facets of human reproduction.
After garnering widespread praise (and an Oscar nomination for screenwriting) for his 2000 directorial debut You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan was in-demand. In September 2005 the writer/director began production on a follow-up feature: Margaret which touted Anna Paquin Matt Damon Mark Ruffalo Matthew Broderick Allison Janney as well as legendary filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) as producers. The movie wrapped production in a few months time. The buzz was already growing.
Now six years later the movie is finally hitting theaters. So…what took so long?
The journey to this point hasn't been an easy one and it shows. If a film's shot footage is a block of granite and the editing process is the careful carving that turns it into a statuesque work of art Margaret feels like it was attacked by a blind man with a jackhammer. The film is a cinematic disaster a mishmash of shallow characters overwrought politics and sporadic tones. The story follows Lisa Coen (Paquin) a New York teenager who finds herself drowning in chaos after distracting a bus driver (Ruffalo) causing him to hit and kill a pedestrian (Janney). Initially Lisa tells the police it was all an accident but as time passes regret takes hold and the girl embarks on a mission to take down the man she now regards as a culprit. That's just the tip of the iceberg–along the way Lisa deals with everyday teen stuff: falling for her geometry teacher (Damon) combating her anxiety-ridden actress mother losing her virginity dabbling in drugs debating 9/11 and the Iraq War cultivating a relationship with her father in LA and more. There are about eight seasons of television stuffed into Margaret but even a two and a half hour run time can't make it all click.
For more on Margaret check out Indie Seen: Margaret the Long Lost Anna Paquin/Matt Damon Movie
Richard Riddick (Vin Diesel) has a really bad rep and with good reason: Five years ago convicted killer Riddick escaped the galaxy's law enforcement during a botched interplanetary prison transfer and has been on the lam ever since. As The Chronicles of Riddick picks up our antagonist finds his relative freedom has been compromised when mercenaries out for the $1 million bounty on his head discover his location and hunt him down. Riddick escapes their clutches steals their ship and sets off for Planet Helion to find Imam (Keith David) the Muslim cleric he rescued in Pitch Black and the only person who could have squealed his location to authorities. But while Riddick's hunch about Imam are correct the cleric has a reason for luring the mammoth murderer out of hiding: Helion is falling to unholy armies of Necromongers--warriors who conquer by force in the vein of Star Trek's Borg. Of course Riddick doesn't give a damn about the Helions or their plight--until he gets wind that the Necromogers want to kill him because of an old prophecy that foresees their end at Riddick's hands. Like it or not Riddick is left with no other choice but to battle the Necromongers.
The character of Riddick is unquestionably what made Pitch Black one of the most sequel-worthy sci-fi films in years. And Riddick would not have been one of sci-fi's most intoxicating characters if it weren't for Diesel. Like his Dominic Toretto in the 2001 actioner The Fast and the Furious Riddick is a villain of few words but when he speaks his carefully chosen words have impact--even if the dialogue is at times overly theatrical. Riddick is the perfect antihero; a cold-blooded and indifferent being who somehow evokes more compassion than the film's so-called good guys. Joining Riddick are some recurring characters including David as Imam but Riddick benefits the most from the addition of some new characters particularly Colm Feore as Lord Marshal the Necromonger leader whose goal is to rid the universe of all human life. Feore channeling nuggets of Julius Caesar into his role makes for one of Riddick's most thrilling foes. Another prominent addition to the cast is Judi Dench who has a surprisingly small role as Aereon an Elemental captured by the Necromongers and used for her special powers including ESP.
Writer/director David Twohy took his horror pic Pitch Black which gained a cult following since it was released four years ago and managed to successfully turn it into an sci-fi actioner of epic proportions. Everything is grander here which is almost a given considering Twohy shot Pitch Black on a dime in Australia using colored filters. In Riddick the director distinguishes the film's different environments--the Necros' mothership Crematoria's cavernous prison and Helion--using warm to cool tones that are dazzling yet more subtle than its predecessor. The CGI effects get a little gamey at times but production designer Holger Gross' gargantuan sets are impressive and help craft Twohy's otherworldly vision into a plausible one. And although Twohy jumps genres from Pitch Black to its sequel his storyline evolves logically from the original premise. But while moviegoers unfamiliar with Pitch Black will be able to follow the story easily enough they may have a difficult time grasping what makes Riddick such a big deal; the film explains the legend but never fully captures its quintessence. This could hurt Riddick's chances to broaden its Pitch Black fan base.
Chris Remi is a responsible mostly serious accountant with the nickname Goat of Fire. Tony is his younger brother a struggling actor who's popular with the ladies and goes by the nickname Smiling Fish. When their parents die the two must learn to adjust to life without Mom and Dad. Meanwhile Chris attempts to reconcile with his estranged wife before meeting an Italian beauty while Tony must decide what he wants when he meets his perfect match.
Chris and Tony played by real-life brothers Derick and Steven Martini respectively are relatively newcomers to the big screen and their acting doesn’t necessarily leave a lasting memory. They’re brothers playing brothers no real stretch there. The best performance by far is provided by Bill Henderson who plays Clive Winters -- a retired soundman from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Clive warms up to Chris taking him under his wing to teach him a thing or two about the wonders of love and weaving the films various subplots into a sweet package.
Director Kevin Jordan also wrote this film with the Martini brothers and produced it on a shoestring budget of $40 000. Clearly then it's all about the story. Shot in Los Angeles over 12 days Jordan draws you in with the appealing story line wins you over with some comic relief and keeps you hoping that each brother will get his girl.