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]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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The best way to go into Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is to think of it as the first film in a brand new franchise; a franchise in which mermaids love men zombies won’t eat you and a Fountain of Youth exists but all laws of logic reasoning and competent storytelling don’t. Although screenwriters Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio were smart enough to sever the narrative ties to the first two sequels in their franchise’s fourth outing the latest swashbuckling adventure in the series shares most of the same faults its predecessors faced.
Director Rob Marshall (Chicago) steps in for Gore Verbinski in On Stranger Tides but you’ll be hard-pressed to find his contributions to the already-flashy film that finds our hero Capt. Jack Sparrow (the inimitable Johnny Depp) on the hunt for the fore mentioned fountain. Of course he’s not the only one looking for eternal life: also in tow are nameless stereotypical Spaniards the English crown headed by a reformed Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Blackbeard a ruthless pirate who looks and sounds a lot like Ian McShane. Their paths cross on numerous occasions as the story scrambles across the map culminating in a splashy battle in a magical meadow where Ponce de Leon’s greatest discovery lies.
Less a cohesive story and more a collection of individual set pieces linked together by nonsensical dialogue and supernatural occurrences the film isn’t all that hard to follow if you don’t strain yourself doing so. The sequence of events collide so conveniently for the characters you can’t help but call the screenplay anything but the result of complacency while the film itself sails so swiftly from point to point it’s actually a waste of time to dwell on plot holes and motives. Disrupting its momentum (which is one of the few things the film has going for it) is an unwatchable romance between Sam Claflin’s missionary Philip and Syrena (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) one of a handful of murderous mermaids who do battle with Blackbeard’s crew. Their bland courtship will have you begging for Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley to return to the high seas and that’s saying something.
The all-female fish people are one of a few additions to the Pirates world but their effect on the film is negligible outside of being the impetus for the coolest action sequence in the picture and perhaps the most unnerving of the series. The others include Penelope Cruz as Blackbeard’s busty daughter Angelica and Stephen Graham as shipmate Scrum. The former feels out of place among the cartoony happenings but provides much needed sass while the latter fills in for Kevin McNally’s Gibbs for much of the film and is a pleasure to watch for some hammy comedic moments.
As always however this is Depp’s show and he continues to put a smile on my face with his charisma and theatrical presence. Even though he’s operating on autopilot throughout you can’t help but marvel at his energy and enthusiastic output as he literally fuels the fun in the film. The same can be said of Rush who’s given a meatier and more significant arc this time around. He trades quips with Depp as if they were a golden-age comedy duo and they remain the most appealing attraction in the franchise. Though he brings an undeniable sense of danger to the picture I was sadly underwhelmed by McShane’s Blackbeard a character with such a domineering reputation and imposing look he should’ve been stealing scenes left and right. Instead I felt he phoned his performance in though that could’ve been the result of Marshall’s indirection.
No better than the genre-bending original but a slight improvement over Dead Man’s Chest and At Worlds End On Stranger Tides suffers centrally from lack of a commanding captain. Marshall’s role is relegated to merely on-set facilitator or perhaps liaison between legions of talented craftspeople that make the movie look so good. Whatever vision he had for this venture if he had a unique take at all is chewed up and spit out by the engines of the Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster factory rendering the film as mechanical as the ride from which it is based.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT?
Two childhood buddies are forever changed by their first encounter with Playboy magazine. The story picks up 10 years later focusing on Tucker Cleigh a sex-obsessed moron who beds every girl he meets plus his conservative friend Eugene Bell who practices abstinence with his uptight girlfriend Cindi and joins her in teaching its virtues to younger students. But when Cindi decides she's ready to "do it" on prom night Eugene nervously complies but gets drunk falls down a flight of stairs and lands in a four-year coma. When he awakens he discovers Cindi has become a nude Playboy centerfold and joins Tucker on a chaotic cross-country trip to get to the Playboy mansion where he hopes to find Cindi — and Tucker gets to live out his wildest playmate fantasies.
WHO'S IN IT?
Miss March exists as a comic vehicle for its "stars " Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore members of a Brooklyn comedy group whose TV show The Whitest Kids U Know ran for several seasons on IFC. The team also co-directs and writes this witless hodgepodge of gross-out gags attempting to find humor in tasteless — not to mention sexist — setups. It makes last summer's The House Bunny look like Citizen Kane by comparison. Moore seems to be channeling early Jim Carrey as he plays a sex-crazed idiot who spends most of the movie trying to help his best friend (played by Cregger) lose his virginity despite an endless array of inanely conceived psychological and medical obstacles. With no one to rein them in these writer/director/stars overplay to the extreme and go for the cheapest laughs imaginable. Trying to mine physical humor out of situations dealing from epileptic sex to uncontrolled bowels this team throws it all at the wall but not much sticks. The rest of the cast including Raquel Alessi Molly Stanton 2007 Playmate of the Year Sara Jean Underwood and Craig Robinson — as an expletive-hurtling rapper named Horsedick.MPEG (in a gag repeated at least ten times) — are left twisting in the wind. Robinson however does get mileage out of a triple-X hardcore rap parody.
A scene where Eugene and Cindi try to teach sexual abstinence to a sparse audience of inattentive undergrads is amusing and well played. Unfortunately it occurs in the first 10 minutes. After that you're on your own.
Just about everything else including a dopey subplot involving a group of revenge-seeking firemen desperate stunt-laden gags egregiously over-the-top product placement for Playboy and one embarrassing scene after another designed to get the hardest R-rating possible.
MOST MEMORABLE LINE
Eighty-two-year-old Playboy founder Hugh Hefner gets to offer this bon mot in his one-scene cameo: "There's a bunny deep down inside every woman and if you see that bunny you're on to something."
GO OUT AND GET POPCORN WHEN …
The opening credits start. Then sneak into a better movie instead.