Spirit Awards: Oscar preview as 'Descendants,' 'Artist' vie
“The Artist” and “The Descendants” will be competing for the best picture Oscar on Sunday night, but in just a few hours, the black-and-white homage to silent cinema and the Hawaii-set family drama also will be vying for the top prize from the independent film community, the Film Independent Spirit Awards, which will hand out trophies in 14 competitive categories in a relaxed beachside ceremony in Santa Monica.
Also nominated for best feature are “50/50,” “Beginners,” “Drive” and “Take Shelter.”
"The Artist" and "The Descendants" are facing off in other categories too, including the director contest in which French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius and Alexander Payne, respectively, will compete with Mike Mills ("Beginners"), Nicolas Winding Refn ("Drive") and Jeff Nichols ("Take Shelter") for the award. In the best screenplay contest, Hazanavicius and Payne, with his writing partners Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, will go up against Mills for his "Beginners" script, Tom McCarthy for "Win Win" and Joseph Cedar for the Israeli film "Footnote."
In terms of the acting contests, Oscar nominee Michelle Williams is also nominated at the Spirits for her portrayal of Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe in "My Week With Marilyn." Competing against her in the female lead category are Lauren Ambrose for "Think of Me," Rachael Harris for "Natural Selection," Adepero Oduye for "Pariah" and Elizabeth Olsen for "Martha Marcy May Marlene."
Two of the men nominated for lead actor at the Academy Awards are nominated for Spirit Awards as well: Demian Bichir for his work in the immigration-themed drama "A Better Life" and Jean Dujardin for his turn as a charming movie star in "The Artist." They're up against Woody Harrelson for his role in the drama "Rampart," Michael Shannon for "Take Shelter" and Ryan Gosling for "Drive."
Bad news for Gosling watchers, though: The actor is shooting a movie and is not expected to attend the ceremony.
Check back soon for details on the winners at the ceremony, which gets underway at 1:30 p.m.
— Gina McIntyre
Photo: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley and Nick Krause in "The Descendants" (Fox Searchlight); Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo in "The Artist" (The Weinstein Co.).