Unlike previous years, Saturday’s Film Independent Spirit Awards will offer limited advance notice of the potential outcome of Sunday’s Oscars. “Winter’s Bone” leads with seven nominations followed by “The Kids Are All Right” with five bids and “Black Swan” with four.
They all vie in the Best Feature race along with “127 Hours” and “Greenberg.” With the exception of that last film, they are also Best Picture contenders at Sunday’s Oscars. However, Oscar frontrunner “The King’s Speech” was ineligible for these awards as it is not American-made though it does have a Spirit bid for Best Foreign Film. The other five Oscar nominees were ineligible here as they were made by major studios.
Five of the six Best Actress Spirit nominees are also contending for the same prize at the Academy Awards: Annette Bening (“The Kids Are All Right”), Nicole Kidman (“Rabbit Hole”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”), Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) and Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”). Rounding out the Spirit race is Greta Gerwig (“Greenberg”).
The only Best Actor nominee who is in contention at the Oscars is James Franco (“127 Hours”). The other nominees are: Gotham Breakthrough winner Aaron Bronstein (“Daddy Longlegs”), Aaron Eckhart (“Rabbit Hole”), John C. Reilly (“Cyrus”) and Ben Stiller (“Greenberg”).
While none of the Spirit Supporting Actress nominees will be at the Kodak Theater Sunday, two of the Supporting Actor contenders will: John Hawkes (“Winter’s Bone”) and Mark Ruffalo (“The Kids Are All Right”). And the screenplays of those two films were nominated by both kudos.
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 has been tapped to emcee the kudos. 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. Their 2 p.m. start means that only a taped version of the show will air on IFC that night at 10 p.m.