"Winter's Bone" and "The Kids Are All Right" led a very mainstream batch of Film Independent Spirit Award nominations with seven and five nods, respectively, while "127 Hours," "Black Swan" and "Greenberg" were also nominated for the top prize. The nominations were announced on Tuesday morning by actors Jeremy Renner and Eva Mendes, as well as Film Independent executive director Dawn Hudson.
Those five films are competing for Best Feature, while the Best Director category includes Darren Aronofsky ("Black Swan"), Danny Boyle ("127 Hours"), Lisa Cholodenko ("The Kids Are All Right"), Debra Granik ("Winter's Bone") and John Cameron Mitchell ("Rabbit Hole").
Other films receiving multiple nominations include "Black Swan," "Rabbit Hole" and the surprisingly strong Ben Stiller comedy "Greenberg," with four each.
Like the Best Feature and Best Directort categories, the Best Male Lead and Best Female Lead categories contained several presumed Oscar contenders: James Franco ("127 Hours") among the actors, and Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right"), Nicole Kidman ("Rabbit Hole"), Jennifer Lawrence ("Winter's Bone"), Natalie Portman ("Black Swan") and Michelle Williams ("Blue Valentine") among an unprecedented group of six Best Female Lead nominees.
In fact, the entire lineup is long on higher-profile films that may also figure in the Oscar race; apart from Ronald Bronstein of "Daddy Longlegs" in the Best Male Lead category, most of the micro-budgeted films that often pepper Spirit Award nominations showed up in the John Cassavetes Award category, which goes to a film made for less than $500,000.
Among the films and performances that were overlooked: Bening's "Kids Are All Right" costar Annette Bening; Michelle Williams' "Blue Valentine" partner Ryan Gosling; "Get Low" stars Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek; "Black Swan" supporting actresses Barbara Hershey and Mila Kunis; and the foreign films "Animal Kingdom," "Another Year," "I Am Love" and "Biutiful."
Oscar favorite "The King's Speech" did receive a Best Foreign Film nomination; at the Spirit Awards, any film not made in the United States by American filmmakers is considered foreign and is ineligible in other categories.
The documentary lineup includes two films shortlisted by the Academy, "Exit Through the Gift Shop" and "Restrepo," along with "Marwencol," "Sweetgrass" and "Thunder Soul." "The Oath," which won at the Gotham Awards on Monday night, was not nominated.
Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko, "The Kids Are All Right "
Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, "Winter's Bone"
Nicole Holofcener, "Please Give"
David Lindsay-Abaire, "Rabbit Hole "
Todd Solondz, "Life During Wartime"
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Diane Bell, "Obselidia"
Lena Dunham, "Tiny Furniture"
Nik Fackler, "Lovely, Still "
Bob Glaudini, "Jack Goes Boating"
Dana Adam Shapiro, Evan M. Wiener, "Monogamy"
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
"Daddy Longlegs "
"Lovers of Hate"
"The Exploding Girl"
BEST FEMALE LEAD
Annette Bening, "The Kids Are All Right"
Greta Gerwig, "Greenberg"
Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone "
Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"
Michelle Williams, "Blue Valentine"
Adam Kimmel, "Never Let Me Go"
Matthew Libatique, "Black Swan"
Jody Lee Lipes, "Tiny Furniture"
Michael McDonough, "Winter's Bone "
Harris Savides, "Greenberg"
"Exit Through the Gift Shop"
ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Hossein Keshavarz, "Dog Sweat "
Laurel Nakadate, "The Wolf Knife"
Mike Ott, "Littlerock"
PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
In-Ah Lee, "Au Revoir Taipei "
Adele Romanski, "The Myth of the American Sleepover"
Anish Savjani, "Meek's Cutoff"
AVEENO® TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, "Sweetgrass"
Jeff Malmberg, "Marwencol "
Lynn True, Nelson Walker, "Summer Pasture"
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Casting Director: Jeanne McCarthy
Ensemble Cast: Ann Guilbert, Rebecca Hall, Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Lois Smith, Sarah Steele
The Spirit Awards, the biggest and most prestigious awards show devoted to independent film, is open to feature films of at least 70 minutes, provided they have been made for no more than $20 million and played for a week in a commercial theater or been exhibited at one of six notable film festivals.
Films must also be determined to be independent in the judgment of one of the Film Independent committees that determine nominees. Major studio films can be deemed independent if they are made with "economy of means" and deal with "original and provocative" subject matter.
Most of this year's nominations were made by the American Narrative committee, which screened all eligible films over the fall and then selected the nominees during two-day weekend meeting chaired by exhibition executive Ted Mundorff. Chairs of other committees included festival programmer Rachel Rosen, documentarian Darius Marder, and producers Mary Sweeney, Alison Dickey and Karin Chien. The committees include a mixture of filmmakers, actors, critics and others in the film industry.
The nominations announcement took place at the London West Hollywood Hotel.
After a nighttime show in downtown Los Angeles last year, the upcoming Spirit Awards will return to the show's traditional location, a tent on the beach in Santa Monica, and its usual time, the Saturday afternoon before the Academy Awards. The show will take place on February 26, and will air in primetime that night on IFC. It will be hosted by actor and comic Joel McHale.