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'Precious' and 'The Last Station' lead Independent Spirit Award nominations [Updated]

December 1, 2009 |  8:27 am
PreciousStory UPDATED 9:45 a.m.: "The Last Station," a drama about the last year in the life of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, and "Precious," a harrowing tale about a pregnant African American teenager with an abusive mother, dominated Tuesday's nominations for the 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards, with both films earning five nominations each.

"The Last Station," which opens in theaters Friday, was nominated for best film, best director and screenplay for Michael Hoffman, best female lead for Helen Mirren and supporting actor for Christopher Plummer. "Precious" was also nominated for best film, best director for Lee Daniels, best first screenplay for Gregory Fletcher, best female lead for Gabourey Sidibe and supporting actress for Mo'Nique.

Notably missing for the list of nominees was the acclaimed Iraq war drama, "The Hurt Locker," which won the Gotham Independent Film award for best picture and ensemble Monday night, because it was nominated by the Spirits last year after it played at several film festivals in 2008. The film was released in theaters in 2009.

Rounding out the best picture nominees are the romantic comedy "(500) Days of Summer," "Amreeka," a drama about a single immigrant mother and son living in a small Illinois town, and the Spanish-language thriller "Sin Nombre."

Joining Hoffman and Daniels in the best director category are Ethan and Joel Coen for "A Serious Man," Cary Joji Fukunaga for "Sin Nombre" and James Gray for "Two Lovers."

IndieSpiritPhotoPromo "A Single Man," "Crazy Heart," "Easier With Practice," Paranormal Activity" and "The Messenger" earned nominations for best first feature. Joining Fletcher in the best first screenplay category are Sophie Barthes for "Cold Souls," Scott Cooper for "Crazy Heart," Cherien Dabis for "Amreeka" and Tom Ford and David Scearce for "A Single Man."


Rounding out the best female lead nominees are Mario Bello for "Downloading Nancy," Nisreen Faour for "Amreeka" and Gwyneth Paltrow for "Two Lovers."

Vying for best male lead are Jeff Bridges for "Crazy Heart," Colin Firth for "A Single Man," Joseph Gordon-Levitt for "(500) Days of Summer," Souleymane Sy Savane for "Goodbye Solo" and Adam Scott for "The Vicious Kind."

Joining Mo'Nique in the best supporting actress category are Dina Korzun for "Cold Souls," Samantha Morton for "The Messenger," Natalie Press for "Fifty Dead Men Walking" and Mia Wasikowska for "That Evening Sun."

In addition to Plummer, supporting actor nominations went to Jemaine Clement for "Gentlemen Broncos," Woody Harrelson for "The Messenger," Christan McKay for "Me and Orson Welles" and Raymond McKinnon for "That Evening Sun."

Competing with Hoffman in the best screenplay category are Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman for "The Messenger," Lee Toland Krieger for "The Vicious Kind," Greg Mottola for "Adventureland" and Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber for "(500) Days of Summer."

 "A Serious Man" is this year's recipient of the Robert Altman Award, which is given to the film's director(s), casting director and ensemble cast.

To be eligible for a Sprits consideration, a feature films must be 70 minutes in length and the cost of a completed project must be under $20 million. A film also must have either screened at a major film festival including Sundance, Toronto or Film Independent's own Los Angeles Film Festival or had a one-week engagement at a commercial theater.

 Over the past quarter-century, several winners of the Spirit Award have gone on to earn an Academy Award including Penelope Cruz for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "Juno" screenwriter Diablo Cody last year.

The laid-back awards' ceremony traditionally takes place the Saturday afternoon before the Academy Awards in a massive tent on the beach in Santa Monica. But this year, the ceremony is moving to Friday evening March 5 in a tent on the event deck at L.A. Live downtown. The awards will air live and uncut on cable's IFC.

Complete list of nominees for the 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards, from Film Independent:

Best feature: "(500) Days of Summer," "Amreeka," "Precious," "Sin Nombre," "The Last Station"

Best director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, "A Serious Man"; Lee Daniels, "Precious"; Cary Joji Fukunaga, "Sin Nombre"; James Gray, "Two Lovers;" Michael Hoffman, "The Last Station"

Best screenplay: Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman, "The Messenger"; Michael Hoffman, "The Last Station"; Lee Toland Krieger, "The Vicious Kind"; Greg Mottola, "Adventureland"; Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, "(500) Days of Summer"

Best first feature: "A Single Man," "Crazy Heart," "Easier With Practice," "Paranormal Activity," "The Messenger"

Best first screenplay: Sophie Barthes, "Cold Souls"; Scott Cooper, "Crazy Heart"; Cherien Dabis, "Amreeka"; Geoffrey Fletcher, "Precious"; Tom Ford, David Scearce, "A Single Man"

John Cassavetes Award: "Big Fan," "Humpday," "The New Year Parade," "Treeless Mountain," "Zero Bridge"

Best female lead: Maria Bello, "Downloading Nancy"; Nisreen Faour, "Amreeka"; Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"; Gwyneth Paltrow, "Two Lovers"' Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious"

Best male lead: Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"; Colin Firth, "A Single Man"; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "(500) Days of Summer"; Souleymane Sy Savane, "Goodbye Solo"; Adam Scott, "The Vicious Kind"

Best supporting female: Dina Korzun, "Cold Souls"; Mo'Nique, "Precious"; Samantha Morton, "The Messenger"; Natalie Press, "Fifty Dead Men Walking"; Mia Wasikowska, "That Evening Sun"

Best supporting male: Jemaine Clement, "Gentlemen Broncos"; Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"; Christian McKay, "Me and Orson Welles"; Raymond McKinnon, "That Evening Sun"; Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"

Best cinematography: Roger Deakins, "A Serious Man"; Adriano Goldman, "Sin Nombre"; Anne Misawa, "Treeless Mountain"; Andrij Parekh, "Cold Souls"; Peter Zeitlinger, "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans"

Best documentary: "Anvil! The Story of Anvil," "Food, Inc.," "More Than a Game," "October Country," "Which Way Home"

Best foreign film: "A Prophet," "An Education," "Everlasting Moments," "Mother," "The Maid"

Acura Someone to Watch Award: Kyle Patrick Alvarez, "Easier With Practice"; Asiel Norton, "Redland"; Tariq Tapa, "Zero Bridge"

Truer Than Fiction Award: Natalia Almada, "El General"; Jessica Oreck, "Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo"; Bill Ross, Turner Ross, "45365"

Piaget Producers Award: Karin Chien, ("The Exploding Girl," "Santa Mesa"); Larry Fessenden, ("I Sell the Dead," "The House of the Devil"); Dia Sokol, ("Beeswax," "Nights & Weekends")

-- Susan King

Photo: Lionsgate


Original post: "(500) Days of Summer," "Amreeka," "Precious," "Sin Nombre" and "The Last Station" were nominated for best film for the 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards Tuesday morning.


"The Last Station," which opens Friday, and "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" scored the most nominations with five each.

Notably missing from the list of nominees was the acclaimed Iraq war drama, "The Hurt Locker" because it was nominated last year.

All eligible feature films must be 70 minutes in length, and the entire cost of a completed project must be under $20 million. A film also must have either screened at a major film festival including Sundance, Toronto or Film Independent’s own Los Angeles Film Festival or had a one-week engagement at a commercial theater.

The awards ceremony traditionally takes place the Saturday afternoon before the Academy Awards in a massive tent on the beach in Santa Monica. But because it's the 25th anniversary of the Spirit Awards in 2010, the ceremony is moving to March 5 in a tent on the event deck at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. The awards will air live and uncut on the cable channel IFC.

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