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Independent Spirit Awards Nominations + Gotham Award winners

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Tangerine Sin-Dee and Alexandra

One of the best films of the year…and I’m not the only one who thinks so.

The NBR is announcing sometime today, so I’m on the edge of my seat about that. In the meantime, though, I figure I should go over the ISAs, given that they’ve become a pretty important precursor.

Picture:

  • Anomalisa
  • Beasts of No Nation
  • Carol
  • Spotlight
  • Tangerine

Love that Tangerine is here. So glad that isn’t being forgotten.

I saw Spotlight, and I’ll offer my thoughts at some point (possibly after a second viewing), but I confess, it left me somewhat cold. It’s not a bad film by any means, it’s just not a very memorable one. So unless I’m much more impressed the second time around, I’m probably going to get a bit weary of seeing it get nominated left and right.

Still excited for Anomalisa and Carol. I’ll see Beasts sooner or later.

Director:

  • Sean Baker, Tangerine
  • Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
  • Todd Haynes, Carol
  • Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, Anomalisa
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  • David Robert Mitchell, It Follows

The nomination for Mitchell feels a bit gratuitous, although I liked the film itself. But then again, a Director nomination for an animated film feels very odd.

Either, though, is preferable to nominating McCarthy, who for my money did nothing remotely award-worthy. He doesn’t even make my Top 20 (the film is my #25).

Actor:

  • Christopher Abbott, James White
  • Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
  • Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind
  • Jason Segel, The End of the Tour
  • Koudous Seihon, Mediterranea

Good for Abraham Attah. I might actually root for him, given that this is not a great category.

Mendelsohn and Segel are both quite good (my #8 and #7, respectively), and props to the Spirits for putting Segel lead (A24 is pushing him Supporting), but I can’t get excited about either as a winner.

I really need to see James White. I hadn’t been overly interested, but it looks like it’ll be some kind of a force this season.

Mediterranea, by the way, is about two men from Burkina Faso who go to Italy for work but find themselves beset by hostility. Reviews are broadly positive. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

Actress:

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Bel Powley, The Diary of A Teenage Girl
  • Kitana Kiki Rodriquez, Tangerine

Very glad for Rodriguez. I personally liked Mya Taylor better, but any love for Tangerine is all right by me.

Also glad they didn’t push Mara Supporting. By all accounts, she’s very much a co-lead.

I’ll be seeing Room soon (odd it didn’t pop up in Picture or Director), but imagine Larson will be high on my list for the year.

Powley is good (she’s actually ranked at #4 on my list, but that’ll likely change), but she and her film have faded in my memory.

Love and Mercy Dano

One of the best performances of the year…and I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Supporting Actor:

  • Kevin Corrigan, Results
  • Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
  • Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
  • Richard Jenkins, Bone Tomahawk
  • Michael Shannon, 99 Homes

Though I’d put Dano Lead, he’s easily my choice here. Well, Elba might overtake him, at least based on the category, but…fuck, was he good.

Really nice to see Jenkins here. I didn’t love Bone Tomahawk (it’s a B-movie plot filmed in a very restrained and meditative style, which doesn’t entirely work), but I really liked him in it–and until the end credits, had no inkling that it was him. He’s my #14 and I can’t exactly root for him, but I’m glad he’s here.

No Jacob Tremblay?

Should’ve seen 99 Homes when I had the chance.

Supporting Actress:

  • Robin Bartlett, H.
  • Marin Ireland, Glass Chin
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anomalisa
  • Cynthia Nixon, James White
  • Mya Taylor, Tangerine

Hell yeah, Mya Taylor! I put her Lead, but…totally rooting for her here.

Though I’m really glad Leigh got nominated. A nomination for a purely vocal performance is always cool in my book. I’ll be glad if she wins.

Nixon might be good as well. The role will probably hit pretty close to home for me.

I don’t even know H. (“Two women descend into madness after an alleged meteor strike sets off a series of strange events in their town of Troy, N.Y.” – all right, could be interesting) or Glass Chin (“A down-on-his-luck former boxing champ is forced to make a choice between friendship and ambition when he is framed for murder.” – with Corey Stoll and Billy Crudup; sounds predictable as shit).

Bone Tomahawk poster

A strange, strange film–but the Spirits liked it.

Screenplay:

  • Charlie Kaufman, Anomalisa
  • Donald Margulies, The End of the Tour
  • Phyllis Nagy, Carol
  • Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight
  • S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk again? Weird. Not totally unwelcome–it’s my #14 Original Screenplay–but weird. Especially since Room isn’t here.

Spotlight is my #3 Factually-Based Screenplay and End of the Tour is my #7. Both overrated.

I’m rooting for Anomalisa or Carol. More so the former.

First Feature:

  • The Diary of a Teenage Girl
  • James White
  • Manos Sucias
  • Mediterranea
  • Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Manos Sucias is about drug smuggling. Songs My Brothers Taught Me is about a Native American boy who wants to leave the reservation for L.A. but doesn’t want to leave his sister behind.

I imagine Diary or James will take this. Having only seen the former (which is fine, but didn’t really stick with me), I have no real opinion.

First Screenplay:

  • The Diary of a Teenage Girl
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
  • Mediterranea
  • The Mend
  • Room

I’ll root for Room.

Me and Earl has kind of faded away, hasn’t it?

Documentary:

  • Best of Enemies
  • Heart of a Dog
  • The Look of Silence
  • Meru
  • The Russian Woodpecker
  • (T)error

Rooting for The Look of Silence, though The Russian Woodpecker sounds awesome.

International Film:

  • Embrace the Serpent
  • Girlhood
  • Mustang
  • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
  • Son of Saul

Son of Saul will probably win in a landslide. Kind of rooting for Pigeon, though.

Cinematography:

  • Beasts of No Nation
  • Carol
  • It Follows
  • Meadowland
  • Songs My Brothers Taught Me

I’ve only seen It Follows, which isn’t even in my Top 20.

Meadowland sounds like an interesting film, but I’m not sure if the cinematography is noteworthy.

Editing:

  • Beasts of No Nation
  • Heaven Knows What
  • It Follows
  • Room
  • Spotlight

It Follows is my #19. Spotlight isn’t in my top 20–the editing is fine, but nothing special.

No idea what to root for here. Also, in light of what it didn’t get nominated for, Room being here feels very off.

John Cassavetes Award (Films Under $500,000):

  • Advantageous
  • Christmas, Again
  • Heaven Knows What
  • Krisha
  • Out of My Hand

Advantageous sounds cool–“In a near-future city where soaring opulence overshadows economic hardship, Gwen and her daughter Jules do all they can to hold on to their joy together, despite the instability surfacing in their world.”–even if the reviews are on the mixed side.

I talked about Christmas, Again on a past Most Anticipated Films list. Sounds like a nice “little” film.

Heaven Knows What I clearly need to see.

Krisha is a Thanksgiving family drama. It has a cool poster. Maybe it’s all right?

Out of My Hand is about a Liberian immigrant working as a cab driver in NYC. Might be solid.

Decent category. May the best film win.

Robert Altman Award for Best Ensemble:

  • Spotlight

Sure?

And now, for the Gotham Awards results.

the look of silence poster

So depressing. But so good.

The nominees were…

And the winners are:

Best Feature: Spotlight

Eh.

Best Screenplay: Spotlight

Eh.

Best Actor: Paul Dano, Love & Mercy

FUCK YES!!!!!!

Best Actress: Bel Powley, The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Eh. (I was personally rooting for Larson, but I feel like anyone else would’ve been just as good a choice.)

Breakthrough Actor: Mya Taylor, Tangerine

FUCK YES!!!!!!

Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director: Jonas Carpignano, Mediterranea

Sure?

Best Documentary: The Look of Silence

FUCK YES!!!!!!!

I hope this is just the start for Dano and Tangerine. That’s all I’ve got to say for now.

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