Founded in 1984, the Independent Spirit Awards are presented by Film Independent, a non-profit organization created to support independent filmmaking. The awards honor lower-budget, artist-driven films, and in previous years top honors have gone to idiosyncratic works including “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Fargo,” and “Election.”
There is not a strong correlation between Best Picture at the Spirit Awards and the Oscars, though many Spirit winners have earned Best Picture nominations. In the last ten years, eight Spirit winners have also been nominated for the top Oscar, and last year, for the first time since “Platoon” in 1986, the Spirit and Oscar went to the same film: “The Artist.”
Rounding out the category are Ira Sachs‘s “Keep the Lights On,” about a gay filmmaker (nominee Thure Lindhardt) in a relationship with a closeted lawyer, and Richard Linklater‘s “Bernie,” a black comedy about an East Texas mortician (nominee Jack Black) who befriends and then murders an elderly widow.
Will this year’s Spirit Awards follow last year’s event by picking Oscar’s eventual winner? Or will the group go their own way?