Predictions: 30th Annual Independent Spirit Awards

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With the nominees for the Independent Spirit Awards out we felt it was best to put out some thoughts and predictions. Here is a list of nominees:

BEST FEATURE
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Boyhood
Love is Strange
Selma
Whiplash

Birdman seems poised for an award season mauling, and this is one Best Of award I for sure see it capturing.

BEST DIRECTOR
Damien Chazelle – Whiplash
Ava DuVernay – Selma
Alejandro G. Iñárritu – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
David Zellner – Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

Boyhood director Richard Linklater deserves all the credit in the world for what he was able to craft shooting over 38 days in a 12 year period to craft a film that truly is a contemporary piece of art. Having praised him for all that I think Alejandro G. Inarritu is taking this, even if he deserves it or not.

BEST SCREENPLAY
Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski – Big Eyes
J.C. Chandor – A Most Violent Year
Dan Gilroy – Nightcrawler
Jim Jarmusch – Only Lovers Left Alive
Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias – Love is Strange

Dan Gilroy penned the creepy and atmospheric Nightcrawler which features dialogue unique to it’s hyper stylized version of Los Angeles. An LA in which depraved individuals film all manner of car accidents, murders, and home invasions. Jarmusch has an outside chance for his fantastic vampire love story.

BEST FIRST FEATURE
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Dear White People
Nightcrawler
Obvious Child
She’s Lost Control

I would really like to see Justin Simien win this for the spectacular Dear White People, however I really think this is Gilroy’s award to lose.

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Desiree Akhavan – Appropriate Behavior
Sara Colangelo – Little Accidents
Justin Lader – The One I Love
Anja Marquardt – She’s Lost Control
Justin Simien –  Dear White People

Having said what we did about the previous award I think this one is certainly going to Justin Simien. Sara Colangelo’s screenplay is tragic and a great ride for the audience, but Simien’s cynicism and sordonism is evident throughout the duration leaving you with an honest feeling with it’s satire.

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000
Blue Ruin
It Felt Like Love
Land Ho!
Man From Reno
Test

It’ll be Blue Ruin, but if It Felt Like Love were to win we’d still feel fulfilled. Blue Ruin truly, truly is a gritty revenge film that can stand toe to toe with any feel with fifty times it’s budget. It’s barebones film making at it’s finest.

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Marion Cotillard -The Immigrant
Rinko Kikuchi – Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Jenny Slate – Obvious Child
Tilda Swinton – Only Lovers Left Alive

I’m picking Tilda Swinton even if she isn’t the obvious choice. Julianne Moore is being lauded for her turn in Still Alice, but for us Swinton is the one who should receive this.

BEST MALE LEAD
André Benjamin – Jimi: All Is By My Side
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton –  Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
John Lithgow – Love is Strange
David Oyelowo – Selma

Two career performances by both Gyllenhaal and Keaton and since I think Keaton will probably take the Oscar look for Gyllenhaal to snag the win here. It’s a weird thing about the acting awards sometimes they mirror the Oscars sometimes they do not.

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
Carmen Ejogo – Selma
Andrea Suarez Paz – Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Emma Stone – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Chastain is a force of nature in everything she’s been put in and right here she’s going to snag the Spirit Award over some really good competition.

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Riz Ahmed – Nightcrawler
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Alfred Molina –  Love is Strange
Edward Norton –  Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

I think Simmons punishing performance will take him to the podium here. Edward Norton as well as Ethan Hawke are outside chances at winning, but I just don’t see anyone dethroning Simmons

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Darius Khondji – The Immigrant
Emmanuel Lubezki – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Sean Porter –  It Felt Like Love
Lyle Vincent – A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Bradford Young – Selma

One has to think Emmanuel Lubezki’s unbelievable vision of Birdman is the frontrunner and it’s unlikely any of these other albeit fine opponents will claim victory.

BEST EDITING
Sandra Adair – Boyhood
Tom Cross – Whiplash
John Gilroy – Nightcrawler
Ron Patane – A Most Violent Year
Adam Wingard – The Guest

Sandra Adair had to string together 12 years of footage and try and tell a cohesive story. She did just that and it’s one of the most brilliant films of the year. While I can appreciate Cross’ Whiplash work and John Gilroy makes Los Angeles look gorgeous in Nightcrawler but none of them had to do what Adair had to.

BEST DOCUMENTARY
20,000 Days on Earth
CITIZENFOUR
Stray Dog
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

There is no scenario in which CITIZENFOUR doesn’t take this one this category is really that simple. It is not only one of the best and most interesting documentaries in years. Be on the look out for this to take home some trophies.

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
Force Majeure (Sweden)
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Mommy (Canada)
Norte, the End of History (Philippines)
Under the Skin (United Kingdom)

Force Majeure is a great film, and Poland’s Ida (available now on Netflix) is a fantastic film in it’s own right. Likewise, the Scarlett Johansson scifi vehicle Under The Skin made some money and is an interesting cinematic experience (that unbelievable score doe!) It’s going to be Russia’s Leviathan that brings home this trophy which I think will be just the beginning of the statue collecting this year.

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