“Winter’s Bone” landed a leading seven nominations Tuesday at the Film Independent Spirit Awards followed by “The Kids Are All Right” with five bids and “Black Swan” with four.
All of them are in the Best Feature race along with “127 Hours” and “Greenberg.” While that last film is unlikely to be a major Oscar player, the first four made the top 10 contenders list determined by our 18 experts. The current Oscar frontrunner — “The King’s Speech” — was ineligible for these awards as it is not American made but it did pick up a bid for Foreign Film.
While Jennifer Lawrence lost out on the Breakthrough Performance prize at the rival Gotham Awards on Monday, she did earn a Best Actress bid with the Indie Spirts. That category contains four of the predicted Oscar contenders: frontrunners Annette Bening (“The Kids Are All Right”) and Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) as well as Lawrence and Nicole Kidman (“Rabbit Hole”). Rounding out the roster are Michelle Williams for the otherwise snubbed “Blue Valentine” and Greta Gerwig (“Greenberg”).
Among the Best Actor nominees are newly-named Academy Awards co-host James Franco (“127 Hours”), who ranks second among our experts in the same race at the Oscars. While Oscar frontrunner Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) was ineligible here, it is surprising that Robert Duvall was overlooked for “Get Low,” especially when supporting player Bill Murray merited a nomination. Just as surprising was that “Rabbit Hole” leading man Aaron Eckhart was nominated but two-time Oscar champ Dianne Wiest — who figures prominently in our expert rankings — was left off the supporting actress list for her performance in the picture. The other lead actor nominees are Gotham Breakthrough winner Aaron Bronstein (“Daddy Longlegs”), (“Rabbit Hole”), John C. Reilly (“Cyrus”) and Ben Stiller (“Greenberg”).
American feature film nominees, culled from 220 entries with budgets of under $20 million, were determined by: committee chair CEO Landmark Theatres Ted Mundorff; actress Melonie Diaz; producers Jennifer Fox and Jennifer Todd; author/filmmaker Nelson George; director Karyn Kusama; writer/director/producers Larry Karaszewski and Edgar Wright; filmmaker Kasi Lemmons; film critic and host of KCRW’s “The Treatment” Elvis Mitchell; actor/producers Andre Royo and Adam Scott; and screenwriter Daniel Waters.
“Community” star Joel McHale will emcee the 26th edition of these awards. The prizes will be handed out on Feb. 26, one day before the Oscars. Following last year’s ill-advised one-day shift to Friday and relocation to downtown L.A., the Spirit Awards return to their traditional Saturday afternoon slot at Santa Monica beach. That 2 p.m. start means that only a taped version of the show will air on IFC.
For a full list of nominees, visit the official website.
Image: Independent Spirt Awards logo (FIND)