Here Are The Independent Spirt Nominations!

The nomination for the Independent Spirit Awards were announced earlier today.

Making a very good showing were Tar, Women Talking, and Everything Everywhere All At Once.  Not showing up at all was Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, which failed to even pick up a lead performance nomination for Brendan Fraser.  Seeing as how Fraser has been viewed as being the Oscar front runner for a few months now, his lack of a nomination definitely took observers by surprise.

Anyway, here are all the nominees!


Best Feature
“Bones and All” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)
“Our Father, the Devil” (Resolve Media)
“Tár” (Focus Features)
“Women Talking” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)

Best Director
Todd Field – “Tár” (Focus Features)
Kogonada – “After Yang” (A24)
Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert – “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)
Sarah Polley – “Women Talking” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
Halina Reijn – “Bodies Bodies Bodies” (A24)

Best Lead Performance

Cate Blanchett – “Tár” (Focus Features)
Dale Dickey – “A Love Song” (Bleecker Street)
Mia Goth – “Pearl” (A24)
Regina Hall – “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” (Focus Features)
Paul Mescal – “Aftersun” (A24)
Aubrey Plaza – “Emily the Criminal” (Roadside Attractions)
Jeremy Pope – “The Inspection” (A24)
Taylor Russell – “Bones and All” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
Andrea Riseborough – “To Leslie” (Momentum Pictures)
Michelle Yeoh – “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)

Best Supporting Performance

Jamie Lee Curtis – “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)
Brian Tyree Henry – “Causeway” (A24/Apple Original Films)
Nina Hoss – “Tár” (Focus Features)
Brian D’Arcy James – “The Cathedral” (Mubi)
Ke Huy Quan – “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)
Trevante Rhodes – “Bruiser” (Onyx Collective)
Theo Rossi – “Emily the Criminal” (Roadside Attractions)
Mark Rylance – “Bones and All” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
Jonathan Tucker – “Palm Trees and Power Lines” (Momentum Pictures)
Gabrielle Union – “The Inspection” (A24)

Best Breakthrough Performance
Frankie Corio – “Aftersun” (A24)
Garcija Filipovic – “Murina” (Kino Lorber)
Stephanie Hsu – “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)
Lily McInerny – “Palm Trees and Power Lines” (Momentum Pictures)
Daniel Zolghardi – “Funny Pages” (A24)

Best Screenplay
“After Yang” (A24) – Kogonada
“Catherine Called Birdy” (Amazon Studios) – Lena Dunham
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24) – Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
“Tár” (Focus Features) – Todd Field
“Women Talking” (MGM/United Artists Releasing) – Sarah Polley

Best First Screenplay
“Bodies Bodies Bodies” (A24) – Sarah DeLappe, Kristen Roupenian
“Emergency” (Amazon Studios) – K.D. Dávila
“Emily the Criminal” (Roadside Attractions) – John Patton Ford
“Fire Island” (Searchlight Pictures) – Joel Kim Booster
“Palm Trees and Power Lines” (Momentum Pictures) – Jamie Dack, Audrey Findlay

Best First Feature
“Aftersun” (A24) – Charlotte Wells (director), Mark Ceryak, Amy Jackson, Barry Jenkins, Adele Romanski (producers)
“Emily the Criminal” (Roadside Attractions) – John Patton Ford (director), Tyler Davidson, Aubrey Plaza, Drew Sykes (producers)
“The Inspection” (A24) – Elegance Bratton (director), Effie T. Brown, Chester Algernal Gordon (producers)
“Murina” (Kino Lorber) – Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović (director), Danijel Pek, Rodrigo Teixeira (producers)
“Palm Trees and Power Lines” (Momentum Pictures) – Jamie Dack (director), Leah Chen Baker (producer)

John Cassavetes Award (Given to the best feature made for under $1,000,000)
“The African Desperate” (Mubi) – Martine Syms (writer, director, producer), Rocket Caleshu (writer, producer), Vic Brooks (producer)
“A Love Song” (Bleecker Street) – Max Walker-Silverman (writer, director, producer), Jesse Hope, Dan Janvey (producers)
“The Cathedral” (Mubi) – Ricky D’Ambrose (writer, director), Graham Swon (producer)
“Holy Emy” (Utopie Films) – Araceli Lemos (writer, director), Giulia Caruso (writer, producer), Mathieu Bompoint, Ki Jin Kim, Konstantinos Vassilaros (producers)
“Something in the Dirt” (XYZ Films) – Justin Benson (writer, director, producer), Aaron Moorhead (director, producer), David Lawson Jr. (producer)

Best Cinematography
“Aftersun” (A24) – Gregory Oke
“Murina” (Kino Lorber) – Hélène Louvart
“Neptune Frost” (Kino Lorber) – Anisia Uzeyman
“Pearl” (A24) – Eliot Rockett
“Tár” (Focus Features) – Florian Hoffmeister

Best Documentary
“A House Made of Splinters” (Madman Entertainment) – Simon Lereng Wilmont (director), Monica Hellström (producer)
“All that Breathes” (HBO) – Shaunak Sen (director, producer), Teddy Leifer, Aman Mann (producers)
“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” (Neon) – Laura Poitras (director, producer), Howard Gertler, Nan Goldin, Yoni Golijov, John Lyons (producers)
“Midwives” (POV) – Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing (director, producer), Mila Aung-Thwin, Ulla Lehmann, Bob Moore (producers)
“Riotsville, U.S.A.” (IFC Films) – Sierra Pettengill (director), Sara Archambault, Jamila Wignot (producer)

Best Editing
“Aftersun” (A24) – Blair McClendon
“The Cathedral” (Mubi) – Ricky D’Ambrose
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24) – Paul Rogers
“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” (A24) – Dean Fleischer Camp, Nick Paley
“Tár” (Focus Features) – Monika Willi

Robert Altman Award (Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)

“Women Talking” (MGM/United Artists Releasing) – Sarah Polley (director), John Buchan, Jason Knight (casting directors), Shayla Brown, Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Kira Guloien, Kate Hallett, Judith Ivey, Rooney Mara, Sheila McCarthy, Frances McDormand, Michelle McLeod, Liv McNeil, Ben Whishaw, August Winter (ensemble cast)

Best International Film
“Corsage” (Austria/Luxembourg/France/Belgium/Italy/England) – dir. Marie Kreutzer
“Joyland” (Pakistan/USA) – dir. Saim Sadiq
“Leonor Will Never Die” (Philippines) – dir. Martika Ramirez Escobar
“Return to Seoul” (South Korea/France/Belgium/Romania) – dir. Davy Chou
“Saint Omer” (France) – dir. Alice Diop

Producers Award (presented by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey  – The Producers Award, now in its 26th year, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films.)
Liz Cardenas
Tory Lenosky
David Grove Churchill Viste

Someone to Watch Award (The Someone to Watch Award, now in its 29th year, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition)
Adamma Ebo – “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul”
Nikyatu Jusu – “Nanny”
Araceli Lemos – “Holy Emy”

“The Truer Than Fiction Award” (The Truer Than Fiction Award, now in its 28th year, is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition)
Isabel Castro – “Mija”
Reid Davenport – “I Didn’t See You There”
Rebeca Huntt – “Beba”

Film Review: Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. (dir by Adamma Ebo)

In Honk for Jesus Save Your Soul, Sterling K. Brown plays Lee-Curtis Childs, a once-popular and powerful preacher who is looking to make a comeback after his career and his church were both hit by a scandal.

Regina Hall plays Trinitie Childs, Lee-Curtis’s wife and the “first lady” of Wander The Great Paths Church.  She is just as determined as Lee-Curtis to make a comeback.

Together, they solve crimes!

Actually, they don’t.  They really don’t do much of anything, beyond trying and usually failing to talk people into returning to their church.  In archival footage, we see Lee-Curtis preaching the prosperity gospel and claiming that his faith in God is the reason why he not only has expensive clothes and a big house but that it is also the reason why he deserves them.  We see footage of Lee-Curtis in the past, condemning homosexuality from the pulpit but, in the present, Lee-Curtis seems to hit on almost every man that he meets.  Lee-Curtis is quick to smile and to speak of how he’s made his mistakes but he’s been forgiven by God.  At the same  time, he also always seems to be just one minute away from having a complete meltdown.

Trinitie spends her time trying to keep that meltdown from occurring.  She is someone who knows how to play the loving wife.  A meeting her mother establishes that being a loving wife is what Trinitie was raised to do.  It’s only in private that Trinitie reveals how difficult it is to be married to Lee-Curtis.  She wants the respect that comes from being married to a powerful man, enough so that she’ll even humiliate herself by standing on a street corner while holding a sign that requests for drivers to honk if they love Jesus.  When others attack her over her husband’s infidelities, she smiles and argues with them until she eventually reaches a point where she can smile no longer.

Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown both give excellent performances, with Hall doing an especially good job of capturing Trinitie’s conflicting emotions over being the wife of Lee-Curtis Childs.  As played by Hall, Trinitie is someone who knows that she deserves better but who has also become addicted to the lifestyle that comes from being the first lady of a megachurch.  As such, she’ll do anything to help Lee-Curtis regain his former popularity.  While Lee-Curtis practices vapid sermons and wallows in self-pity, Trinitie is the one who is left to talk to the people that Lee-Curtis victimized.  Brown has the magnetism necessary to be credible as a man who could convince others that he was without sin.  Hall has the determination necessary to be credible as the power behind the pulpit.

Unfortunately, as good as both Hall and Brown are, the rest of the film is a complete mess.  It starts out as a mockumentary but then it includes scenes that are clearly not meant to have been filmed by the documentary film crew.  Unfortunately, there’s rarely any indication whether we’re watching a mockumentary scene or a “behind the scenes” scene and it’s left to the audience to sort out which is which.  Ultimately, the film’s main flaw is one that is shared by many films that have attempted to satirize the excesses of organized religion.  Honk for Jesus Save Your Soul doesn’t really bring anything new to the table.  At this point, is anyone shocked to discover that some pastors are corrupt?  Is anyone shocked to discover that religious people can also be hypocrites?  None of the criticism is quite as groundbreaking or shocking as the film seems to think that it is.  The movie feels like the equivalent of the atheist who thinks that he’s the first person to make the “But if God created everything, who created God?” argument.  When it comes to making an argument one way or another about organized religion, Honk for Jesus is as shallow and predictable as the God’s Not Dead franchise.  This wouldn’t matter, of course, if the film’s satire had any bite or was, at the very least, consistently humorous.  Unfortunately, this is pretty much a one joke movie.  It is, admittedly, funny the first time that Hall switches from yelling to smiling when she realizes that she’s on camera.  But, at one hour and 40 minutes, a satire needs more than one good joke.

The film is partially redeemed by Hall and Brown but ultimately, there’s little here that hasn’t been done better before.