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Awards Season Update: Independent Thinking from Independent Spirits & More

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Awards Season Update: Independent Thinking from Independent Spirits & More

This morning, the Independent Spirit Award nominations and the New York Film Critics Circle winners were announced, and the Gotham Independent Film Awards were handed out on Monday evening. Among the nominees and winners were a number of interesting choices and omissions. Two of the groups honor only independent films, so they aren’t entirely accurate predictors for the Oscars, but they are helpful in meting out the contenders. Here are a few notable superlatives assembled from all three announcements. For the complete lists, visit the ISA, NYFCC, and Gotham Awards.

Most Loved

Winner: Jessica Chastain, who was honored with the Best Supporting Actress mention from the NYFCC for three films, The Help, Take Shelter, and The Tree of Life. ISA singled her out for Take Shelter, and the question now is whether that will be the film that takes her to the Oscars since she can only be nominated for one performance.

Runner-up: Brad Pitt, who won the Best Actor prize from ISA for his performances in Moneyball, which won Best Screenplay, and The Tree of Life, which won Best Cinematography.

Best Surprise Inclusion

Winner: John C. Reilly, whose funny and unexpectedly charming performance from Cedar Rapids managed to earn him a supporting nod from ISA. The film also netted a Best First Screenplay mention.

Runner-up: Harmony Santana, the transgendered star of Gun Hill Road, nominated for Best Supporting Female by the ISA, despite the fact that she is most clearly the lead of the film.

Most Puzzling Omission

Winner: George Clooney for The Descendants. ISA gave the film four nominations but left its very visible star off the list.

Runner-up: Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs, a film that is supposed to be all about her, but which instead merely netted Janet McTeer a supporting nod with Close left off the lead actress list.

Biggest Boost

Winner: Beginners, which not only earned four ISA nominations, including one for Best Picture, but also tied with The Tree of Life for the Gotham Best Feature award. Sadly, amid all the nominations, stars Ewan McGregor and Mélanie Laurent are still missing.

Runner-up: The Artist, which took home the Best Picture prize from NYFCC and also managed five ISA nods.

Best Category

Winner: The nominees for the ISA Best Feature award are all terrific and highly deserving, not to mention diverse: 50/50, The Artist, Beginners, The Descendants, Drive, Take Shelter. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more solid list.

Runner-up: None. How can you beat that?

More awards season updates to follow in the coming weeks!

By Abe Fried-Tanzer

Jessica Chastain

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