Film Independent Spirit Awards Voting Started. Here are My Picks


Once again, the Spirit Awards has some powerful contenders this year - the mightiest being the Female Lead category and the most difficult to choose. Everything else was a pretty clear choice.

And as usual, because nitpicking comes with award nominees, there were  a few snubs. But the only thing I can’t wrap my head around is how Stephen Chbosky’s THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER got nominated for Best First Feature when he made a film called THE FOUR CORNERS OF NOWHERE, which played at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995. According to Film Independent’s guidelines, the film submitted must be at least 70 minutes long. Both THE FOUR CORNERS and PERKS are 110 minutes. I may have missed something else in my research, but this just seems odd.

If you read this blog regularly or following me on Twitter or Facebook, then you know there’s one film I’ve been very loud about: HOLY MOTORS. This is unmistakably the best International Film of the year, and Its lead, Denis Lavant, gave the best performance of the year. The film didn’t make the guidelines required for eligibility, so I’ll just complain here while I can and IT’S MY PARTY AND I’LL CRY IF I WANT TO. C’est la vie. 

Despite those nags, I do adore some of the films nominated––SMASHED, AMOUR, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, and SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK being a handful of them. I’m a member of the Film Independent Spirit Awards, and voting started on the 25th––my picks are below in bold. Cross your fingers, eyes, toes, and torso that a few or all of them win.

The winners will be announced on Saturday, February 23rd at 10pm ET/PT.

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Keep the Lights On
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook

Wes Anderson
David O. Russell
Benh Zeitlin
Julia Loktev
Ira Sachs

Linda Cardellini, Return
Emayatzy Corinealdi, Middle of Nowhere
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Smashed

Rosemarie DeWitt, Your Sister’s Sister
Ann Dowd, Compliance
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Brit Marling, Sound of My Voice
Lorraine Toussaint, Middle of Nowhere 

Jack Black, Bernie
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Thure Lindhardt, Keep the Lights On
Matthew McConaughey, Killer Joe
Wendell Pierce, Four 

Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
David Oyelowo, Middle of Nowhere
Michael Péna, End of Watch
Sam Rockwell, Seven Psychopaths
Bruce Willis, Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom
Zoe Kazan, Ruby Sparks
Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ira Sachs, Keep the Lights On 

Fill the Void - Rama Burshtein (director); Assaf Amir (producer)
Gimme the Loot - Adam Leon (director); Dominic Buchanan, Natalie Difford, Jamund Washington (producers)
Safety Not Guaranteed - Colin Trevorrow (director); Derek Connolly, Stephanie Langhoff, Peter Saraf, Colin Trevorrow, Marc Turtletaub (producers)
Sound of My Voice - Zal Batmanglij (director); Brit Marling, Hans Ritter, Shelley Surpin (producers)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky (director);  Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Russell Smith (producers)

Rama Burshtein, Fill the Void
Derek Connolly, Safety Not Guaranteed
Christopher Ford, Robot & Frank
Rashida Jones & Will McCormack, Celeste and Jesse Forever
Jonathan Lisecki, Gayby

Yoni Brook, Valley of Saints
Lol Crawley, Here
Ben Richardson, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Roman Vasyanov, End of Watch
Robert Yeoman, Moonrise Kingdom

How to Survive a Plague - David France (director); David France, Howard Gertler (producers)
Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present - Matthew Akers (director); Maro Chermayeff, Jeff Dupre (producers)
The Central Park Five - Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon (directors-producers)
The Invisible War - Kirby Dick (director); Tanner King Barklow, Amy Ziering (producers)
The Waiting Room - Peter Nicks (director-producer); Linda Davis, William B. Hirsch (producers)

Amour (France), Michael Haneke
Once Upon A Time in Anatolia (Turkey), Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Rust And Bone (France/Belgium), Jacques Audiard
Sister (Switzerland), Ursula Meier
War Witch (Democratic Republic of Congo), Kim Nguyen

Next Factor Q&A: 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' Star Quvenzhané Wallis

Quevenzhane Wallis
Getty Images

We can now take “interview a nine-year-old about a movie” off our bucket list. Recently we sat down with the adorable and charismatic  Quvenzhané Wallis, who stars as little warrior Hushpuppy in the Sundance hit"Beasts of the Southern Wild." It’s difficult to describe “Beasts” — a film set in the mythical community of Bathtub off the coast of Louisana — in a way that isn’t confusing, but we can tell you it’s one of the most magical movies you’ll ever see in your lifetime.

We caught up with Wallis (who was accompanied by her mother) at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills to talk about the movie and some of her favorite things in life. 

Tell us about Hushpuppy.
Hushpuppy is a brave little girl who lives with her father in the Bathtub and tries to follow her father’s footsteps.

Talk about the process of how you got the part — how you heard about the first audition, all the way to getting the part.
Whenever the audition came, my mom told me, “Let’s get into the car and let’s go to the library.” So we went to the library and we did the audition, and they said they liked what they seen. And when they called back they said they liked what they seen and that they were looking for [my sister], and my mom said, “Oh, you must be looking for Quvenzhané,” and they were like, “No, no, no, no,” and they almost hung up. So my mom [said], “Oh, she must have told you Nazie is her nickname, but her real name is Quvenzhané.”

So the movie revolves all around your character, which means you are carrying a lot of the weight. How nervous were you once you started shooting?
I wasn’t as nervous, I was actually excited.

Also Check Out: Our 20 Favorite Films From Sundance 2012

What’s your favorite scene in the movie?
Birds screaming and crawfish.

How about telling me about your favorite moment on set.
Whenever we did the crawfish. And the crabs and the shrimp.

Let’s talk about your experiences at the film festivals you’ve been to. This had its world premiere at Sundance — talk about that experience.
Being at Sundance was the first time we got awards, and that was the first day I realized the movie was special.

A few weeks ago you were at the Cannes Film Festival, which is one of the most prestigious festivals in the world. What was it like seeing yourself on giant screen at the Palais?
It [felt] like a bigger me with a smaller voice with a smaller me with a bigger voice.

How many times have you answered that?
A thousand times. [laughs]

What else did you do at Cannes besides see your own movie?
I saw the beaches and things like that.

Hushpuppy is very strong and independent young lady. How much do you relate to her?
She takes care of her father, she has animals. She likes to explore the world. And she [has] different things that she can do. We both like to take care of our fathers. We both like to explore the world. We both like animals, and we like to complete mysteries.

This is your first movie, and it happens to be your breakout role. How cool does this feel?
It feels good to do a movie, but I will always feel the same.

What’s your favorite movie?
“Happy Feet 2.”

What’s your favorite animal?
A dog.

What kind of dog?

What kind of music do you listen to?