Here Are The Independent Spirit Award Nominations!


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Before I forget, The Independent Spirit Award Nominations were announced earlier today!  In a year that has yet to see a Spotlight, a Mad Max, or even a Big Short, the Oscar race remains undeniably murky.  Maybe the Spirit nominations will help to clarify things.

(Sad to say but I haven’t seen most of the films that were nominated.  They’ve either just opened down here in Dallas or they’ll be opening next month.  So, you’ll have to forgive me if I can’t provide much commentary beyond saying that I look forward to seeing and reviewing them all for myself!)

(I will say, however, that I’m happy to see that American Honey was nominated because, even though I missed seeing the film, it’s directed Andrea Arnold.  Arnold’s previous film, Fish Tank, is pretty much one of my essential movies.)

Here are the nominees!

BEST PICTURE
“American Honey”
“Chronic”
“Jackie”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”

BEST DIRECTOR
Andrea Arnold, “American Honey”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Pablo Larraín, “Jackie”
Jeff Nichols, “Loving”
Kelly Reichardt, “Certain Women”

BEST ACTOR
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
David Harewood, “Free In Deed”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Jesse Plemons, “Other People”
Tim Roth, “Chronic”

BEST ACTRESS
Annette Bening, “20th Century Women”
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Sasha Lane, “American Honey”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Ralph Fiennes,  “A Bigger Splash”
Ben Foster, “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Shia LaBeouf, “American Honey”
Craig Robinson, “Morris from America”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Edwina Findley, “Free In Deed”
Paulina Garcia, “Little Men”
Lily Gladstone, “Certain Women”
Riley Keough, “American Honey”
Molly Shannon, “Other People”

BEST SCREENPLAY
“Hell or High Water”
“Little Men”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”
“20th Century Women”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Ava Berkofsky, “Free In Deed”
Lol Crawley,”The Childhood of a Leader”
Zach Kuperstein,”The Eyes of My Mother”
James Laxton,”Moonlight”
Robbie Ryan,”American Honey”

BEST FILM EDITING
Matthew Hannam,”Swiss Army Man”
Jennifer Lame,” Manchester by the Sea”
Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders, “Moonlight”
Jake Roberts, “Hell or High Water”
Sebastián Sepúlveda, “Jackie”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“13th”
“Cameraperson”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“O.J.: Made in America”
“Sonita”
“Under the Sun”

BEST INTERNATIONAL PICTURE
“Aquarius” (Brazil)
“Chevalier” (Greece)
“My Golden Days” (France)
“Toni Erdmann” (Germany and Romania)
“Under the Shadow” (Iran and U.K.)

BEST FIRST FEATURE
“The Childhood of a Leader”
“The Fits”
“Other People”
“Swiss Army Man”
“The Witch”

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
“Barry”
“Christine”
“Jean of the Joneses”
“Other People”
“The Witch”

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (best feature made for under $500,000)
“Free In Deed”
“Hunter Gatherer”
“Lovesong”
“Nakom”
“Spa Night”

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The Winners At Cannes And What It Means For This Year’s Oscar Race


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Well, that shows you how much I know.

The 68th Annual Cannes Film Festival came to a close earlier today.  If you’ve been following news from the festival over the past two weeks then you’ve heard that Gus Van Sant’s Sea of Trees is no longer considered to be an Oscar contender.  (That’s putting it gently.)  You’ve heard a lot of acclaim given to Todd Haynes’s Carol.  You have also seen Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario and the Hungarian film Son of Saul emerge as a potential Oscar contenders.  Michael Caine’s performance in Youth was acclaimed, as was the work of Tim Roth in Chronic and Marion Cotillard in MacBeth.

One film that you probably did not hear about was Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan.  As far as coverage of Cannes over here in the states is concerned, Dheepan was ignored.  And yet — once again proving that nobody can predict Cannes — Dheepan is the film that ended up winning the Palme d’Or.  The acting prizes also went to actors who have been under the radar, with the possible exception of Rooney Mara.

(Some day, I will be able to forgive Rooney Mara for playing Lisbeth Salander is David Fincher’s insulting interpretation of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  But not today…)

As far as what the past two weeks have meant for the upcoming Oscar race: Well, I think it’s safe to say that we can forget about Sea of Trees.  As for my insistence that Sea of Trees would be nominated … well, we’ll all have a good laugh about it someday.  Carol appears to have emerged as an early front-runner and I think that Sicario could come on strong as well, especially if one of the nominal front runners — like Bridge of Spies, for instance — doesn’t live up to expectations.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see Caine and Cotillard nominated as well.  Everyone loves Michael Caine and, as he gets older, we are more and more aware that a day is going to come that he won’t be around to appear in any more movies.  As for Cotillard, she is everything that Meryl Streep is supposed to be and more.

Anyway, here are the winners!

68th Cannes Film Festival top awards:

Palme D’Or: Dheepan

Grand Prix: Son of Saul

Jury Prize: The Lobster

Best Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien for The Assassin

Best Actor: Vincent Lindon for The Measure of a Man

Best Actress: Rooney Mara for Carol and Emmanuelle Bercot for My King

Best Screenplay: Michel Franco (Chronic)

Camera d’Or (Best first feature): La Tierra Y la Sombra

Emily Blunt in Sicario

Emily Blunt in Sicario (No, actually, that is Emily Blunt in Looper.  My mistake…)