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« Mike Mills on "Beginners" and Making Stories About Ourselves. | Main | NYFCC. (Ready, Set, Go: Awards Season!) »

Spirit Awards: "Take Shelter" & "The Artist" Lead the Nominees

The New York Film Critics Circle isn't even finished with its announcements yet and now we've got The Spirit Award nominations. They have the longest lag time between nominations and ceremony since they aren't even held until the day before the Oscars. Like the NYFCC they've been swerving ever closer to Oscar over the years, often championing a runner-up type of candidate like, say, Sideways or Black Swan. That could be good news for The Artist or The Descendants this year depending on which takes the lead in the Oscar race. Though if you believe the nomination tallies here this could be a very big night for Take Shelter.

50/50 (3 noms total) -review
Beginners (4 noms total) -review
Drive (3 noms total) -review
Take Shelter (5 noms total)
The Artist (5 noms total) -review
The Descendants (4 noms total)

I'm super fond of ½ of this lineup and whenever you're super fond of ½ a lineup you should smile. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the way awards season is aiming to go, The Descendants is my least favorite from their preferred lineup.  


Michel Hazanavicius -The Artist
Mike Mills -Beginners
Jeff Nichols -Take Shelter
Alexander Payne -The Descendants
Nicolas Winding Refn -Drive

Payne has won this very prize (coupled with screenplay) twice in the past for Election & Sideways. Will he make it a trilogy of Spirit statues? Or will they move on?

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

Margin Call is being honored for its cast and director in the Robert Altman prize so given that and the way that the NYFCC and Gotham prizes went down, this might not be a good night for Martha Marcy May Marlene (review) but we can hope that the tide will turn in favor of that haunting film. 

Joseph Cedar -Footnote
Michel Hazanavicius -The Artist
Tom McCarthy -Win Win
Mike Mills -Beginners
Alexander Payne -The Descendants

Take Shelter is their obvious snub here given their love for the movie and perhaps Midnight in Paris which was somehow eligible (despite a sizeable budget) since you see it in the cinematography category. I'd love to see Mike Mills take this one (more on that later). But I was also happy for Tom McCarthy as I was just thinking about that film.  

Mike Cahill, Brit Marling -Another Earth
JC Chandor- Margin Call
Patrick deWitt -Terri
Phil Johnston -Cedar Rapids
Will Reiser - 50/50

If they don't love Margin Call as much as it seems one could imagine 50/50 taking this one on sheer backstory. Plus that it's you know, moving and funny pretty much.

JOHN CASSAVETTES AWARD (best feature made for under $500,000)
Hello Lonesome
The Dynamiter

Time to watch my screeners.

Lauren Ambrose, Think of Me
Rachael Harris, Natural Selection
Adepero Oduye, Pariah
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

The big news here is Glenn Close's snub for her dream role Albert Nobbs. I can't say after seeing it that I'm 100% surprised that Janet McTeer is in and she is out. McTeer has the far more relatable and more modern (important point) character. Their scenes together are the film's highlight.

Demián Bichir, A Better Life (see previous post)
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Ryan Gosling, Drive
Woody Harrelson, Rampart
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter

I can see this going to virtually any of them making it a truly exciting race. George Clooney's absence is as eyebrow raising as Glenn Close's since both of their supporting actress co-stars were nominated.

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

This is the best of Chastain's performances that was eligible for this particular prize but if there's an Oscar nomination coming, it's for The Help. Best news? Anjelica Huston's nomination for her teensy tinsy role which I just loved. When she needed to bring it, she brought.

Albert Brooks -Drive
John Hawkes -Martha Marcy May Marlene
Christopher Plummer -Beginners
John C Reilly -Cedar Rapids
Corey Stoll -Midnight in Paris 

A fine lineup, really. This is Plummer's to lose methinks.

Joel Hodge Bellflower
Benjamin Kasulke The Off Hours
Darius Khondji Midnight in Paris
Guillaume Schiffman The Artist
Jeffrey Waldron, The Dynamiter

No offense to any of these films but this category feels quite odd to me without Beginners and Martha Marcy May Marlene both of which really benefitted from very sustained moods in their lighting.

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

A Separation
The Kid With a Bike

Curious to see NY set UK driven Shame considered an international film but LA set French driven The Artist considered a US film. But what a lineup this is, yes? Great films.

Chad Burris -Mosquita Y Mari
Sophia Lin -Take Shelter
Josh Mond -Martha Marcy May Marlene

Simon Arthur -Silver Tongues
Mark Jackson -Without
Nicholas Ozeki -Mamitas

Heather Courtney Where Soldiers Come From
Danfung Dennis Hell and Back Again
Alma Har'el Bombay Beach

Margin Call -- this prize goes to the director, casting director and the ensemble cast. 

Who are you rooting for?

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Reader Comments (45)

Very happy Adepero Oduye of Pariah got in.
Also happy Anejlica Huston got in.

Happy Beginners and 50/50 got some love.
However, confused as to how Joseph Gordon-Levitt missed a nomination.
And Ewan McGregor would've been nice.

I hope Elizabeth Olsen gets the Best Actress prize here.

Also, not looking good for Glenn Close since Janet McTeer got in but she didn't.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Where's The Tree of Life?

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

Tree of Life is over their arbitrary budget limit by quite a lot, so it was never eligible.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlandshark

Hmm what's more puzzling to me is, given Beginners' total tally, WHY WASN'T THERE A PLACE IN SUP ACTRESS FOR MELANIE LAURENT?

I get that Shailene Woodley is an Oscar contender (meh) and for as much as I love Anjelica Huston... Mélanie Laurent rules. I've yet to see a supporting actress performance this year with more spark than hers.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

No Close?!

That can't be a good sign for her.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I'm in shock that Clooney got left out.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

The Glenn Close snub is really odd. That said, I was secretly crossing my fingers that Weekend would somehow get a random nod at the Spirit Awards. Sigh.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

So happy to see "Drive" getting 4 noms!

I'm sad for Close though, she should replace either Williams or Oduye.

Mary Page Keller should also be in the supporting lineup too. Don't get the love for Shailene Woodley at all...

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjoy

I have seen Jessica Chastain's name twice today! This is good.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDevin D

Wow! No Close! Nathaniel - do you think that has any bearing on her Oscar chances?!

I agree with John T - Weekend should have shown up here somewhere! I know it's sacreligious but maybe instead of Gosling for Drive?! That's a really strong bunch of lead actors, though, don't you think? It is interesting that Clooney isn't there. Although I haven't seen it yet (yikes!) I have a feeling I'll think he deserved to be there more than Gosling as well. Hey - if they gave awards for Best Fuckability I would give it to Gosling in Drive without any hesitation - but best actor - not so much compared to other performances. But I might still put Gosling here over Gordon-Levitt even though I thought he was very good in 50/50. I actually would have nominated him here for HESHER - a movie I found far more exciting and rewarding than most people, I guess. He definitely deserved a nom for that over Gosling!

I'm sort of sad WIN WIN didn't show up more than Best Screenplay but I'm not sure exactly where. I probably would have put Canavale instead of Stoll in Sup Actor. Again, it's cool that they're acknowledging Stoll in this way but, come on, there were other more exciting sup male performances. This may be another case of a fuckability nomination.

Glad to see Reilly for CEDAR RAPIDS. That was a good film.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

I believe Close will get her Oscar nomination. I would doubt it only if she is not nominated particularly for the SAG awards. The Golden Globes are "easier" because of the split categories. But then, all the major Best Actress contenders this year are up for dramas! Streep, Close, Davis, Williams, Swinton, Olsen, Dunst, Rooney. Maybe Charleze Theron would qualify for Comedy or Musical? I don't expect they'll dare consider The Help a comedy! Coming to think of it, WHO will they nominate as Best Actress in a Comedy? Wiig of course. And...?

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Clooney and Close snubbed. WOW.

And Jessica Chastain is really hitting big with the first critics' prizes. Will she get nominated for the Oscars after all?

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

No Fassbender for SHAME is wierder to me than the George Clooney snub.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Jorge -- i'm beginning to think so, yes.

November 29, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Yay Huston!!

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Z

Marcos - Charlize is definitely comedy/musical. Dark comedy, yes. But still a comedy.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

And Williams would probably be put in comedy/musical because of the musical aspect of the movie - easy way to lock a nomination.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

I believe that Shame and Weekend were not eligible in most categories.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Was Like Crazy eligible? I'm guess it was? The snub is surprising, especially since Felicity Jones seems to be doing well.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Nat, I have to disagree with you on one thing: I thought that Jessica Chastain's best performance, in the four of her films I've seen this year, was in "Take Shelter." Personally, I found her particularly unmemorable in "The Help."

It's nice to see a bit of love for "Another Earth," which seemed to go almost unnoticed all year.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

Not looking great for Glenn, although nothing's set in stone yet. It's too bad really, I think she had the better job in the film, with a less showy and more nuanced role. Sometimes I think people just don't want to praise her for anything for some reason.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Philip & Marcos -- yeah, Charlize is 100% comedy/musical. as i'm assuming Michelle Williams will be but you never know. they could make her drama ala Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line.w asn't she drama?

GG COMEDY is obviously gonna be Theron, Wiig and Williams (if she qualifies) versus. whoever seat fillers ;)

November 29, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Bill_the_Bear, I agree that Take Shelter is her best, but I don't know how you could call her performance in The Help "unmemorable." At the very least, it's a pretty loud performance. She's practically screaming to be noticed!

The Clooney snub is definitely surprising, but there's no way he's missing out on the Oscar nomination. Close on the other hand could definitely be skipped over...

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Do you think Anjelica Huston for 50/50 or Carey Mulligan for Drive have a chance for Oscar nominations???

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Consider me another reader disapointed "Weekend" didn't show up. Why wasn't it eligible?

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoel V

Rachael Harris!! Hooray!

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchoog

Evan, what can I say? I just didn't find Chastain all that memorable in "The Help." The only scene which stands out for me was the chicken-frying lesson with Octavia Spencer, and that was because Spencer did that audacious Crisco ad. I wonder how much they got for that product placement?

I'd love to see Chastain get a nomination for "Take Shelter," though; she was always perfectly believable in that role.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

No Close or Clooney? Sad.

This group usually ends up picking the Oscar nominees/winners, so get back to me in February when the full picture's known of the race. Then you can pick out these winners pretty easily.

But go Michael Shannon!

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLem

To those of you wondering about "Weekend": I believe that only American productions are eligible outside of the International Film category. That would also explain no Fassbender in Best Actor.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

I think the fact that she's practically screaming is the reason why I don't want Chastain to get an Oscar nomination for The Help, especially when I found her work in Take Shelter and The Tree of Life very haunting and moving. It's not that she's unmemorable in The Help, but I would prefer it if she were nominated for a role that wasn't written to be a scene-stealer (I feel that anyone who had that role would have done a great job, while with the other two, I could only Jessica Chastain playing those roles). Or maybe I'm just generally unmoved by The Help.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

So The Tree of Life is independent for Gotham Awards but not so independets for ISA?

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

I'm really surprised Michael Parks wasn't nominated for Best Actor for his performance in Red State. It was the best performance I've seen so far this year :(

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan

The Academy won't miss the opportunity of creating a Close vs. Streep scenario.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Nathaniel, no, Reese Witherspoon was musical/comedy which is why Felicity Huffman won the drama GG.

I agree though, for comedy/musical it'll be Theron, Wiig, Williams, hopefully Kunis, and then someone else like Diaz or anyone else that's filler-esque.

I'm still praying those rumors of The Help being pushed as a comedy at the Globes isn't true. That's almost as bad as when Ghost was nominated in all the comedy/musical categories.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

The Help is so shallow it could be easily pushed as a comedy!

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Peggy Sue:

Are you suggesting that comedies are inherently shallow? Wow, I could not disagree with that more. Comedies can be as great as (or better than) any drama.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

Reese was comedy/musical...her and Phoenix took the prizes. I remember because Huffman won for drama

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersimsimer

Liz N. -- Of course not! It's just I had last year's nominees in my mind while I wrote that. It was such a weak category compared to other years...

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

On the best picture list, my least favorite film is definitely Take Shelter. I hated that film. And I don't understand how they could nominate Angelia Huston and not Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Anna Kendrick.

The Stoll and Reilly nominations are nice for the actors but somewhat unnecessary.

I don't think Shame was eligible for acting awards, even though the film was shot in the US and has US distributor.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Oak

I'm a big fan of Lauren Ambrose, but haven't even heard of "Think of Me". How did she score a nomination? Anyone seen the film?

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBiggs

I'm definitely going to go postal if Drive doesn't get at least one goddamn Academy Award. Almost got a brain aneurysm when Tom Hooper won Best Director over David Fincher last year. I think I'll lose my mind if one of the greatest films of this year doesn't even get some kind of recognition (deserving of Actor, Picture, Supporting Actor, Screenplay, Director....Cinematography...Editing...Score... nominations). And the first one to receive my assault will be Leo for his baity, soon to be, nom for J. Edgar >:(. Shameful Leo!

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony A.

I didn't expect to be such a big fan of Take Shelter as I watched it, but four days later I can't stop thinking about it. I'm haunted by it. I saw Melancholia before on the same day, and as much as the apocalyptic parallels made for a weird and awesome Black Friday, I regret that I can't remember much about Melancholia at all. I'll have to see it again. Take Shelter just stuck in my brain. I don't think it's perfect, but I think the way it just walks right up to the edge of being a bad horror film and then turns back toward the direction of social commentary and domestic drama is part of what makes it so great. Go Michael Shannon, for sure.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertimothy

Great nominations! I'm extremely happy for Anjelica Huston - her brief appearance was quite powerful!

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel B.

can anyone explain me why THE ARTIST(a big french movie) is nominated and not SHAME?

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercaro

Was Olivia Colman eligible for "Tyrannosaur"? That's gonna be a hard performance for me to see topped in any film this year.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBruno
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