‘The Limey,’ ‘Election’ Got the Spirit

Steven Soderbergh‘s crime-drama “The Limey” and Alexander Payne‘s high school satire “Election” led the pack of (relatively) low-budget, high-expectation projects as nominations were announced Wednesday for the 15th Annual Independent Spirit Awards, honoring, yes, indie film.

The Limey” and “Election” received a field-best five nominations each. Hollywood blockbusters such as “Toy Story 2” and “The Green Mile” received zippo. (They’re not indies.)

With the studio heavyweights excluded, a variety of films that failed to garner tremendous box office during the 1999 film season found redemption as the Spirit nominations were handed down. David Lynch‘s “The Straight Story“, a simple yet powerful film about an aging man’s trek across country on his lawn mower, earned four nominations. Kimberly Peirce‘s controversial “Boys Don’t Cry” also received four nods — including ones for best lead actress (Hilary Swank) and best supporting female (Chloe Sevigny).

The five films slated to do battle in the main best-picture event are: Payne‘s “Election,” Soderbergh‘s “The Limey,” Lynch‘s “The Straight Story,” Allison Anders and Kurt Voss’ “Sugar Town“, and Robert Altman‘s “Cookie’s Fortune“.

Awards will be handed out in Santa Monica on March 25 — the day before the Oscars. The Spirits are sponsored by the Independent Feature Project/West.

The following is the complete list of nominations for the 15th annual IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards:

BEST FEATURE “Election” “The Straight Story” “The Limey” “Cookie’s Fortune” “Sugar Town

BEST FEMALE LEAD Diane Lane, “Walk on the Moon” Janet McTeer, “Tumbleweeds” Hilary Swank, “Boys Don’t Cry” Susan Traylor, “Valerie FlakeReese Witherspoon, “Election

BEST MALE LEAD John Cusack, “Being John MalkovichRichard Farnsworth, “The Straight Story” Terence Stamp, “The LimeyDavid Strathairn, “LimboNoble Willingham, “The Corndog Man

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE Barbara Barrie, “Judy Berlin” Vanessa Martinez, “LimboSarah Polley, “Go” Chloe Sevigny, “Boys Don’t CryJean Smart, “Guinevere

BEST SUPPORTING MALE Charles S. Dutton, “Cookie’s FortuneLuis Guzman, “The LimeyTerrence Howard, “The Best Man” Clark Gregg, “The Adventures of Sebastian ColeSteve Zahn, “Happy, Texas

BEST DIRECTOR Alexander Payne, “ElectionHarmony Korine, “julien donkey-boySteven Soderbergh, “The LimeyDavid Lynch, “The Straight StoryDoug Liman, “Go”

BEST SCREENPLAY Kevin Smith, “DogmaAlexander Payne and Jim Taylor, “ElectionAudrey Wells, “GuinevereLem Dobbs, “The LimeyJames Merendino, “SLC Punk!

BEST FIRST FEATURE ($500,000-plus budget) “Being John Malkovich” “Three Seasons” “Boys Don’t Cry” “Twin Falls Idaho” “Xiu Xiu the Sent Down Girl”

BEST FIRST FEATURE (less than $500,000 budget) “The Blair Witch Project” “La Ciudad” “Compensation” “Judy Berlin” “Treasure Island”

BEST DEBUT PERFORMANCE Kimberly J. Brown, “Tumbleweeds” Jessica Campbell, “Election” Jade Gordon, “Sugar Town” Toby Smith, “DrylongsoChris Stafford, “Edge of Seventeen

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY Tod Williams, “The Adventures of Sebastian ColeCharlie Kaufman, “Being John MalkovichKimberly Peirce and Andy Bienen, “Boys Don’t Cry” Anne Rapp, “Cookie’s Fortune” John Roach and Mary Sweeney, “The Straight Story

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHER M. David Mullen, “Twin Falls IdahoLisa Rinzler, “Three Seasons” Anthony Dod Mantle, “julien donkey-boy” Jeffrey Seckendorf, “Judy Berlin” Harlan Bosmajian, “La Ciudad”

BEST FOREIGN FILM “All About My Mother” (Spain) “Run Lola Run” (Germany) “My Son the Fanatic” (England) “Topsy-Turvy” (England) “Rosetta” (Belgium-France)

DLJ DIRECT TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD (for documentaries) Owsley Brown, “Night Waltz: The Music of Paul Bowles” Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgan, “On the Ropes” Michael Camerini and Shari Robertson, “Well Founded Fear” Rory Kennedy, “American Hollow

MOVADO SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD (for new directors) Dan Clark, “The Item” Julian Goldberger, “Trans” Lisanne Skyler, “Getting to Know YouCauleen Smith, “Drylongso

MOTOROLA PRODUCERS AWARD Pam Koffler, “I’m Losing You” and “Office Killer” Eva Kolodner, “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Hide and Seek” Paul Mezey, “La Ciudad” Christine Walker, “Backroads” and “Homo Heights