Spirit Awards 2012: Award predictions

You’d be forgiven for not having noticed the buzz emanating across the Atlantic for the 28th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards which commence tonight (10pm ET/PT) thanks to this Sunday’s more recognizable and prestigious Academy Awards. The Spirit Awards, created in 1984 and previously known as the FINDIEs (Friends of Independents) have become famous for celebrating artistic-driven filmmaking and recognizing the finest achievements of today’s independent filmmakers. Below is a list of the nominees for all the major awards plus our predictions:

Best Feature
Take Shelter
The Artist
The Decendants

Which film will win? The Artist – Seemingly unstoppable this award’s season, The Artist is clearly the bookies favourite.
Which film deserves to win? The Artist – Hazanavicius’ delightful ode to the glamorous silent era of Hollywood is truly deserving of all the praise it’s been receiving.

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicus – The Artist
Mike Mills – Beginners
Jeff Nichols – Take Shelter
Alexander Payne – The Descendants
Nicolas Winding Refn – Drive

Who will win? Nicolas Winding Refn – After being all but ignored by the Academy, Refn’s shallow yet incredibly stylish film has already seen him pick up the Best Director award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Who deserves to win? Jeff Nichols – Take Shelter may have been mildly flawed by its ambiguous ending, but Nichols should be commended for how he approach such a sensitive issue as mental Illness whilst simultaneously turning the disaster movie template on its head.

Best First Feature
Another Earth
In the Family
Margin Call
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Natural Selection

Which film will win? Martha Marcy May Marlene – Both US and worldwide critics have been swooning over Durkin’s incredibly powerful drama.
Which film deserves to win? Martha Marcy May Marlene – Any other year, Another Earth or Margin Call would have walked away with this award, however it’s hard to see past a film as assured and near perfect as Martha Marcy May Marlene winning.

John Cassavetes Award
Hello Lonesome
The Dynamiter

Which film will win? Pariah – Dee Ree’s tale of adolescent sexual identity has rightfully won a host of plaudits – including many on this side of the pond who were wooed by it at this year’s BFI London Film Festival.
Which film deserves to win? Bellflower – Incredibly inventive and gripping, this testosterone fuelled indie thriller came out of nowhere with its rich imagery which belies its meagre budget.

Best Female Lead
Lauren Ambrose – Think of Me
Rachel Harris – Natural Selection
Adepero Oduye – Pariah
Elizabeth Olsen – Martha Marcy May Marlene
Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn

Who will win? Michelle Williams – Such a strong performance as an iconic figure of cinematic history, combined with her starring role in last year’s indie darling Blue Romance means Williams might just edge it over Elizabeth Olson.
Who deserves to win? Elizabeth Olson – Her intense performance is what turned Martha Marcy May Marlene from an accomplished American Indie into the emotionally draining experience it became.

Best Male Lead
Demian Bichir – A Better Life
Jean Dujardin – The Artist
Ryan Gosling – Drive
Woody Harrelson – Rampart
Michael Shannon – Take Shelter

Who will win? Jean Dujardin – His overzealous physical performance was central to The Artist’s success.
Who deserves to win? Michael Shannon – Yet again proving he’s one of this generations most watchable actors – Take Shelter amalgamated all of his assets into one monumental performance.

Best Supporting Female
Jessica Chastain – Take Shelter
Anjelica Huston – 50/50
Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
Harmony Santana – Gun Hill Road
Shailene Woodley – The Descendants

Who will win? Jessica Chastain – Appearing in almost every other film this year, Chastain more than deserves this award.
Who deserves to win? Jessica Chastain – ‘Supporting Female’ is the least Chastain should come away with this award’s season.

Best Supporting Male
Albert Brooks – Drive
John Hawkes – Martha Marcy May Marlene
Christopher Plummer – Beginners
John C. Reilly – Cedar Rapids
Corey Stoll – Midnight in Paris

Who will win? Christopher Plummer – Plummer’s performance as a recently outed window in Mill’s heartfelt Beginners tops an impressive career.
Who deserves to win? Christopher Plummer – Despite John Hawkes’ genuinely frightening turn in Martha Marcy May Marlene deserving of recognition, Plummer is truly deserving of this award.

Best Documentary
An African Election
Bill Cunningham New York
The Interrupters
The Redemption of General Butt Naked
We Were Here

Which film will win? The Interrupters – A socially important as it is entertaining, The Interrupters deserves to win if only for its questionable absence from the Academy Best Documentary shortlist.
Which film deserves to win? We Were Here – Both informative and powerfully moving, We Were Here is everything a good documentary should be.

Best International Film
A Separation (Iran)
Melancholia (Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany)
Shame (UK)
The Kid with a Bike (Belgium, France, Italy)
Tyrannosaur (UK)

Which film will win? A Separation – This wonderful Iranian morality tale has been sweeping up the awards this season and can’t see any reason why it won’t be as successful here.
Which film deserves to win? The Kid with a Bike – Just because a directing duo consistently produce exceptional work doesn’t mean it shouldn’t constantly be rewarded, however it’s hard to see past A Separation for this one.

What do you make of the Spirit Award nominations? Are there any films you would have liked to have seen feature more heavily? Let us know using the comment box below.

Patrick Gamble

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