'12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Nebraska’ Nominated for Top Indie Spirit Awards

'12 Years a Slave,' 'Nebraska' Nominated for Top Indie Spirit Awards

“12 Years” leads all films with seven nominations; “All Is Lost,” “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Frances Ha” also nominated for Best Feature.

“12 Years a Slave,” “Nebraska” and “Short Term 12” were among the top nominees for the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards, which on Tuesday morning announced a slate of nominees filled with films and performers who will likely be contending for Academy Awards as well.

In the top category, Best Feature, the nominees are “12 Years,” “Nebraska,” “Frances Ha,” “All Is Lost” and “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

While “Gravity” was far too big and expensive to be eligible for the Spirit Awards, the other Oscar frontrunner, Steve McQueen's “12 Years a Slave,” led all films with seven nominations. Those included nods for feature, director and actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong'o and Michael Fassbender.

See photos: Independent Spirit Awards 2014: The Nominees

Alexander Payne's “Nebraska” received six nominations, while J.C. Chandor's “All Is Lost” received four and “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Short Term 12,” “Fruitvale Station” and “Blue Jasmine” received three.

The nominated actors and actresses were the typical Spirit Awards mixture of performers liable to be contending for Oscars — Bruce Dern, Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Redford, June Squibb, Jared Leto and the “12 Years” trio — with actors from a few smaller movies.

Those included Gaby Hoffman for “Crystal Fairy,” Shailene Woodley for “The Spectacular Now” and Yolonda Ross for “Go for Sisters.”

Also readTheWrap Screening Series: The 12 Best Quotes From '12 Years a Slave’ Q&A

“Fruitvale Station” actress (and past Oscar winner) Octavia Spencer, meanwhile, was bypassed in the Supporting Female category in favor of her castmate Melonie Diaz.

The Best Male Lead category, which was crowded with strong contenders this year, was expanded from five nominees to six to include Dern, Ejiofor, McConaughey, Redford, Oscar Isaac for “Inside Llewyn Davis” and Michael B. Jordan for “Fruitvale Station.”

Also read: ‘Fruitvale Station’ Director Ryan Coogler Sets ‘Rocky’ Spinoff With Michael B. Jordan

The late James Gandolfini was nominated for Best Supporting Male for his role in “Enough Said.”

The Best International Film category, which in the past has included such British films as “The King's Speech” and “The Last Station,” had an all-foreign-language makeup, with the Oscar-ineligible “Blue Is the Warmest Color” and “A Touch of Sin” competing with “Gloria,” “The Great Beauty” and “The Hunt.”

With “12 Years” and McQueen considered frontrunners in their categories, and “Fruitvale Station” director Ryan Coogler a likely winner in the Best First Feature category, both top directing awards could well go to black filmmakers, which would be a Spirit Awards first.

With seven nominations for “12 Years” and two for “Enough Said,” Fox Searchlight led all distributors with nine nominations, followed by IFC Films with eight and Sony Pictures Classics and Paramount with six.

Among the oddities in the nominations, Noah Baumbach's “Frances Ha” was nominated for the top award, Best Feature, and for its editing, but Baumbach and lead actress/co-writer Greta Gerwig were overlooked.

And despite the three nominations for “Inside Llewyn Davis,” Joel and Ethan Coen were left off the Best Director list in favor of Shane Carruth for the experimental “Upstream Color.”

Films that were left out include David Lowery's well-received “Ain't Them Bodies Saints,” “Blue Caprice,” “The Way Way Back” and “The Place Beyond the Pines.”

The mega-star production “August: Osage County,” which fell under the Spirit Awards budget limit, did not receive any nominations.

And while Spirit Awards rules state that international documentaries are not eligible and that international films are only eligible in the Best International Feature category, a Film Independent spokesperson told TheWrap that directors Haifaa al Mansour (“Wadjda”) and Joshua Oppenheimer (“The Act of Killing”) are American citizens, making their foreign-made films eligible.

The other major award for independent film, the New York-based Gotham Awards, nominated “12 Years a Slave,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Before Midnight,” “Ain't Them Bodies Saints” and “Upstream Color” for their top award.

Since the Oscar Best Picture race expanded from five to 10 nominees (and then to a variable number), the Oscars and Spirit Awards have coincided more frequently. Over the past three years, eight of the 16 Spirit Awards nominees for Best Feature went on to receive Oscar nominations for Best Picture. Dual nominees included “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “The Descendants,”  “Black Swan” and “The Artist,” which won both awards.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards will be handed out on the afternoon March 1, the day before the Oscars, in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. Patton Oswalt will host.

The nominations:

Best Feature:
“12 Years a Slave”
“All Is Lost”
“Frances Ha”
“Inside Llewyn Davis”

Best Director:
Shane Carruth, “Upstream Color”
J.C. Chandor, “All is Lost”
Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
Jeff Nichols, “Mud”
Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”

Best Screenplay:
Woody Allen, “Blue Jasmine”
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater, “Before Midnight”
Nicole Holofcener, “Enough Said”
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, “The Spectacular Now”
John Ridley, “12 Years a Slave”

Best Female Lead:
Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Julie Delpy, “Before Midnight”
Gaby Hoffman, “Crystal Fairy”
Brie Larson, “Short Term 12”
Shailene Woodley, “The Spectacular Now”

Best Male Lead:
Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”
Oscar Isaac, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Michael B. Jordan, “Fruitvale Station”
Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Robert Redford, “All Is Lost”

Best Supporting Female:
Melonie Diaz, “Fruitvale Station”
Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
Lupita Nyong'o, “12 Years a Slave”
Yolonda Ross, “Go for Sisters”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”

Best Supporting Male:
Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
Will Forte, “Nebraska”
James Gandolfini, “Enough Said”
Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Keith Stanfield, “Short Term 12”

Best First Feature:
“Blue Caprice”
“Fruitvale Station”
“Una Noche”

Best First Screenplay:
“In a World,” Lake Bell
“Don Jon,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt
“Nebraska,” Bob Nelson
“Afternoon Delight,” Jill Soloway
“The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” Michael Starrbury

John Cassavetes Award:
“Computer Chess”
“Crystal Fairy”
“Museum Hours”
“Pit Stop”
“This Is Martin Bonner”

Best Cinematography:
Sean Bobbit, “12 Years a Slave”
Benoit Debie, “Spring Breakers”
Bruno Delbonnel, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Frank G. DeMarco, “All Is Lost”
Matthias Grunsky, “Computer Chess”

Best Editing:
Shane Carruth & David Lowery, “Upstream Color”
Jem Cohen & Marc Vives, “Museum Hours”
Jennifer Lame, “Frances Ha”
Cindy Lee, “Una Noche”
Nat Sanders, “Short Term 12”

Best Documentary:
“20 Feet From Stardom”
“After Tiller”
“Gideon's Army”
“The Act of Killing”
“The Square”

Best International Film:
“A Touch of Sin”
“Blue Is the Warmest Color”
“The Great Beauty”
“The Hunt”

Robert Altman Award (given to a film's director, casting director and ensemble cast)

Piaget Producers Award:
Toby Halbrooks & James M. Johnston
Jacob Jaffke
Andrea Roa
Frederick Thornton

Someone to Watch Award:
“My Sister's Quinceanera,” Aaron Douglas Johnston
“Newlyweeds,” Shake King
“The Foxy Merkins,” Madeline Olnek

Truer Than Fiction Award:
“A River Changes Course,” Kalvanee Mam
“Let the Fire Burn,” Jason Osder
“Manakamana,” Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez

  • GoingToSayThisOnce

    I remember when Spirit Awards were establish to recognize independent films and promising filmmakers that were not getting recognition because of studio financed pictures dominating the awards. Now they are the same the same star-f**kers the other awards are. Disgusting and lame “Spirit Award” a-holes… how ever did you come up with these?

    • Elle

      What would you have put on the list and what would you remove?

      • AndAgain

        Uh… let's go back to the birth of “Spirit Awards” when they were the Slamdance to Oscars… nominating unheard of pictures and giving a break to unsung filmmakers. How about anything that we haven't been spoon-fed through studio campaigns and isn't corporate financed, pretending to be “indie”. Let's start there.

    • Mandi7882

      I have been with the Spirit Awards since close to its beginnings, and I think many have the wrong idea about them. The reason why it seemed that the Spirit Awards recognized “independent films” and “promising filmmakers” is because it did, and still does.
      An “indie” film is not just an ‘unheard of’ or ‘obscure’ film. 12 Years a Slave is a perfect example of an indie film, it is not a film produced by large studios, hardly no one knows who this director is, and was made for “a dollar and a cent” against other films. Nebraska is perfect as well in the very same vein, as well as Francis Ha, and even All is Lost; All indie productions (don't get productions confused with distribution).The actors in these films may have name recognition, but their salaries were not mufti-million dollar paydays, if there was a payday other than scale/above scale, one set price, a pay after a profit made (and these film rarely make a profit) nothing along the scale you may think because they have “a name”.
      Wanta know what the Spirit Awards really embodies? Pay attention to the John Cassavetes Award it gives out, that is a true indication of what the Spirit Awards is about. John was a great actor in several large motion pictures in his day, but how many people outside of that knew he was one heck of an independent film director as well? Ground breaker. Very well respected and made his films “for a dollar and a dime” that broke the mold, bended the rules, told stories, and had well known names of their time in them too. In that same “spirit”, everyone nominated today, and every film nominated before, reflects every aspect of indie films. So for some, they may need to know there is much more than the superficial it may seem, and the award program has really never lost what it is about.

  • Farty Fartsalot

    “12 Years a Slave” is an astonishing film

    • AndAgain

      12 Years a Slave is not an indie movie. Wrong awards. Next…

      • Farty Fartsalot

        Yes, it is. Like “Pulp Fiction,” It just happens to be a good one that's getting noticed. Since most indies are terrible & badly filmed.