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"Silver Linings" & "Moonrise" Lead Spirit Nominations

Continuing with the trend of star-laden "indies" of reasonable means dominating the once far more independent Spirit Awards, expectant future Best Picture nominee Silver Linings Playbook and Wes Anderson's adorable Oscar longshot Moonrise Kingdom led the pack of nominees with five citations each. In the shoe-stringier side of the equation films like Beasts of the Southern Wild, Middle of Nowhere, and Keep the Lights On also made strong showings. Since three mainstream / big studio efforts are expected to dominate the Oscars (that's Les Miz, Argo, & Lincoln if you've been sleeping for a month) this year, no film need worry about the Spirit curse ...wherein you score big here the day before the Oscars only to collapse at the big Hollywood event that you had hopes of also ruling.
Can "Beasts" win the Spirit Award?
Full list of nominees and commentary on each category after the jump
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Bernie
  • Keep the Lights On
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Silver Linings Playbook

I'm confused as to who keeps voting for Bernie, which also found a best picture citation at the Gothams. Is it just that Richard Linklater is a (deserved) god among the indie set? I expect Beasts to dominate here... unless they're feeling Oscar kids table in which case it'll be a big night for Silver Linings Playbook



  • Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom)
  • Julia Loktev (The Loneliest Planet)
  • David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
  • Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On)
  • Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)


Please tell me Benh Zeitlin will win this thing, even if his film loses. Happy to see Julia Loktev show up. In indie-land and in any other country or principality beyond "Hollywood" female directors aren't so rare.



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


Ouch. This is the least nominees I've seen in a good decade in a female lead category. Time to burrow through my screeners and see if these performances do it for me (or if I even got screeners). SNUB: Im disappointed that Melanie Lynskey wasn't nominated for Hello I Must Be Going


Thure Lindhardt Kept The Movie Going. Well done.


  • 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)


McConaughey has two nominations as befitting his career peak year. But somehow there's six nominees indicating little consensus. The Spirit Awards are less predictable than some awards shows but I'm thinking Cooper takes this with Hawkes as spoiler. 



  • Rosemarie Dewitt (Your Sister's Sister)
  • Ann Dowd (Compliance)
  • Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
  • Brit Marling (Sound of My Voice)
  • Lorraine Toussaint (Middle of Nowhere)


Do we think Ann Dowd is playing with category fraud here? I'm actually torn on this one. Yes, she has the most screentime and drives a lot of the plot (at first) it becomes more and more of an ensemble as it goes. What say you?



  • Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
  • David Oyelowo (Middle of Nowhere)
  • Michael Peña (End of Watch)
  • Sam Rockwell (Seven Psychopaths)
  • Bruce Willis (Moonrise Kingdom)


I have no idea who might win this -- unless the indie crowd liked Magic Mike more than these nominations suggest (this is its only nomination) -- but it's an intriguing lineup. Happy for the inclusion of Bruce Willis who is such a versatile movie star and confused by the inclusion of Sam Rockwell since most everyone agrees that Christopher Walken stole that film. SNUBBED: No Ezra Miller for Perks of Being a Wallflower (it was eligible) and no Dwight Henry from Beasts of the Southern Wild... remember when people thought he'd be in the Oscar mix?



  • Keep The Lights On (Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias)
  • Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola)
  • Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan)
  • Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh)
  • Silver Linings Playbook ( David O. Russell)




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


Yay for Gayby! Such a funny debut. Fill the Void is the Israeli Oscar submission (if you're thinking it sounds familiar.)



  • Fill the Void
  • Gimme the Loot
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Safety Not Guaranteed
  • Sound of My Voice

Disappointing to realize that Perks was eligible but couldn't drum up an acting nod for either Logan Lerman or Ezra Miller.


(Basically "Best Feature" that's budgeted under a ½ million)  


  • Breakfast with Curtis
  • The Color Wheel
  • Middle of Nowhere
  • Mosquito Y Mari
  • Starlet


I keep hearing I would like Starlet so I must get on that soon.



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


Interesting outreach since Here and Valley of Saints received no other nominations. I always approve of spreading the wealth in this way since it's truly rare that five movies have the best everything.



  • Amour (Austria's Oscar Submission)
  • Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Turkey's Oscar Submission Last Year)
  • Rust & Bone
  • Sister (Switzerland's Oscar Submission)
  • War Witch (Canada's Oscar Submission)




  • The Central Park Five
  • How to Survive a Plague
  • The Invisible War
  • Marina Abromovic The Artist is Present
  • The Waiting Room


(Which is a prize for the ensemble and casting director) 


  • Starlet

Which nominations are you happiest about? What are you miffed about snub-wise?


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Reader Comments (38)

Happiest for Rosemarie Dewitt and and any love for Loneliest Planet!

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

Saw Seven Psychopaths premiere at TIFF and the audience was wild for Rockwell. He got huge applause during the end credits and the bulk of the questions during the Q&A. Was surprised Walken got the bulk of the attention afterwards.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

Considering how starry this lineup is, the Bob de Niro snub seems a little odd, considering he seems to be in the mix for Silver Linings Playbook.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

very happy for Matthew; MagicMike remains one of my faves of the year. Middle of Nowhere. And second feelings about Lynskey - the most delightful celebrity presence on twitter.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

I think that Helen Hunt's nomination for Best Supporting Female is the most egregious instance of category fraud, though I also consider Dowd a lead.

Great as they both are, I'd like to see an actual supporting actress claim the prize.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

confused by the inclusion of Sam Rockwell since most everyone agrees that Christopher Walken stole that film

You will bow in the name of Rockwell and like it Mr. Man.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I'm glad "Keep the Lights On" got some nominations, as it reminded me to check the film out (it's available on VOD now!). My favorite nomination of the bunch would be Linda Cardellini's overlooked performance in "Return" which I saw a few months ago on DVD.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P.

Yes for Once Upon a Time , I hope it gets an Oscar nod, it is a great film

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRamification

Mike M. --

I think that Helen Hunt's nomination for Best Supporting Female is the most egregious instance of category fraud, though I also consider Dowd a lead.

That whole group is the biggest lineup of category fraud I've ever seen (with the possible of exception of Toussaint, whom I haven't seen). Hunt? Lead. Dowd? Lead. Marling? Lead. DeWitt? MAJOR LEAD. Seriously, I don't get how you can watch "Your Sister's Sister" and think that Rosemarie DeWitt is a supporting actress in that movie. I'm thrilled to see her nominated (she's actually at the top of my personal ballot in Best Actress at this point in the year), but the categorization is laughable.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

Was The Master completely snubbed or just ineligible?

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonn

Ineligible due to its 35 million budget.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Why was it nominated for Gotham then?

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonn

No Robert DeNiro?!?!? : (

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStu

I think we need a category fraud post, case by case...Hoffman, Lawrence, Dowd, Hunt... Who else?

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I don't see Jennifer Lawrence as category fraud at all. I hear people insisting that it is, and I end up wondering if I saw a completely different movie. She's definitely secondary to Bradley Cooper, but she's a lead nonetheless.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

I'm not informed about the Gotham's. The Independent Spirits have a budget stipulation.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I'm disappointed that there was no love for Sleepwalk with Me, not even in the first feature or first screenplay categories.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGuy Incognito

Happiest for Julia Loktev and Rosemarie Dewitt - though I always considered the latter a lead and never for a second assumed that anyone would consider her otherwise. She had just as much, if not more, screentime as the other two. And more importantly, she was mesmerising. Most actresses would've just stuck to saying their (admittedly fabulous) lines and acted from the neck-up but she brought such a physicality to that role. There are very few - if any - actresses whose next performance I am more looking forward to.

Meantime, I am most miffed at all of the mentions for Keep the Lights on. Self-absorbed misery porn like that must not be encouraged in general, but I was particularly irked by Lindhardt's suffocating narcissism (fyc Worst Actor of the year) and the script's lazy this-happened-then-this-happened-then-this-happened-and-all-of-it-to-me-so-it's-automatically-scintillating approach to character and structure. I appreciate that Sachs wasn't trying to judge his 'characters', but some sort of psychological context or an effort at gleaning meaning and insight rather than pure self-therapy from the situation would've gone a long way.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergoran

I'm cool with Rockwell finally getting some heat. Good news for Bradley Cooper...this gives him some heat and also for Matthew McC and Bruce Willis.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Despite the weird Supporting Actor misses (though I'm excited for Pena/McConaughey!), I really like this batch. I also want to check out the rest of that Actress batch because the Academy could use some stirrings in that pot. Could one of these ladies use this win to claim enough spotlight for a shot? Perhaps critics will single one out. (Come to think of it, unless Wallis dominates with critics, who will be winning those honors? Lawrence?)

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

goran -- agreed. I get that people responded to it because of its honesty but confessional cinema needs to be shaped into dramatic narrative. This is just felt like a diary to me, unconcerned with whoever was reading it.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

So happy to see nominations for Beasts. I can't remember the last time I felt this invested in an Oscar hopeful. Rachel Getting Married? Brokeback Mountain? Also very happy to see Rashida Jones pick up a nod for Celeste And Jesse Forever. And I'm happy to see Bradley Cooper here, as he was really the most surprising part of Silver Linings Playbook for me.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTB

I'm very happy for Brit Marling. If we're being honest here, she should be competing in lead thanks to the structure of the film. The first act of Sound of My Voice is the male investigator; the second act is Marling's cult leader; the third act is the female investigator. Even if you ignore the structure, she is the center of everything that happens in the film and drives the action.

There are a ton of great leads in sci-fi films this year. They're just not going to get much action in awards season. Noomi Rapace (Prometheus), Aubrey Plaza (Safety Not Guaranteed), the ladies of Cloud Atlas (Halle Berrie and Doona Bae being the strongest arguments for leading ladies), and Brit Marling just off the top of my head. Horror leads have been weak (if only The Loved Ones actually did a US release and not a few midnight screenings before being dumped to VOD) and Fantasy has been almost non-existent outside of the Snow White adaptations.

Then you have a lot of strong work in unremarkable roles like Mila Kunis in Ted and Emily Blunt in Salmon Fishing...

It's looking like the rare year where I'm going to struggle more with a Best Actor list (shoot, even a Supporting Actor list) than a Best Actress list. That makes me sad.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Thrilled that End of Watch received at least a nom; I thoroughly enjoyed that movie, in fact, it's in my top ten of the year. That said, Michael Pena is as much a supporting actor in this movie as Helen Hunt was in The Sessions

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterG.ShaQ

As I've tweeted today: Nothing says "independent spirit" like an Oscar-nominated director casting actors from two of the highest grossing movies of all time in a romantic comedy. :/

The John Cassavetes category is always my unofficial best picture category. I've only seen "Mosquita y Mari" (and it's fabulous), but I've been interested in the others for a long time now. Especially "The Color Wheel", "Starlet" and "Middle of Nowhere". None of which have local distribution. :(

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Pleased to see Switzerland's "Sister" nominated even if it hasn't the ghost of a chance. Some scenes have unexpectedly stuck with me longer than I might have thought when I saw it at LFF.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmes

How is Perks of Being a Wallflower up for Best FIRST Feature? I remember being somewhat surprised to hear that Chbosky had directed something before, so now I'm very surprised to see this. What's even more baffling is that that's the film's only nomination - none for its three stars, none for its screenplay.

I was glad for the love for Beasts of the Southern Wild (still probably my #1 of the year - Argo, Perks, and Cloud Atlas are fighting it), but was disappointed to see no love for Dwight Henry or the screenplay. Also glad to see the Moonrise Kingdom love, but disappointed that the only acting nom was for Bruce Willis. Don't get me wrong, he's great, but what about Ed Norton? Tilda Swinton? Frances McDormand? Not to mention the two kid leads!

Here's hoping this is the start of Matthew McConaughey's resurgence in the Best Supporting Actor category. GOOD GOD, but he was great in Magic Mike!

November 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Mcconaughey will be there, globes will nod him and he is a charmer plus it sets up next years 2 oscar hopefuls for him.

November 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermark

Yeah Matt's big year will probably be next year for The Dallas Buyers Club

November 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

@Nathaniel and @goran -- I understand the concerns being positioned here thematically about Keep the Lights On, but do neither of you appreciate Thure Lindhardt's remarkable work in the central role? It is fantastically lived in, full of minute detail and yet unafraid to explode when the occasion finally warrants it. The performance is in a totally different vein from the performances that we're seeing on the circuit this year, and I don't mean that to knock any of those contenders (with the exception of Bradley Cooper who is doing serviceable but not entirely impressive work in SLP). But Lindhardt manages a true masterclass in creating and enlivening the intimate details of one unexceptional man's life. Just astounding.

Also, Zachary Booth is treated as a bit of the manic pixie dreamgay, but watch his eyes in the film's late scenes, particularly at the Christmas dinner in the cabin, the fallout in the hotel, and the final goodbye scenes. Really great work there.

In terms of the structural elements of the film, I'm most impressed that Sachs manages to slowly turn our attention around on Lindhardt's character. I initially suspected we were watching the portrait of an addict, the Paul character, through the boyfriend's eyes. Halfway through the film, and certainly by its end, I was astonished by how the movie was in fact about Lindhardt's own compulsive behavior.

Also, I know its total emo-depressive shlock, but I actually love the Arthur Russell music played as score. And I thought Julianne Nicholson managed a lovely little featured performance that has me even more excited for her Ivy in August Osage County.

On the whole, I felt that "Keep the Lights On" and "How to Survive a Plague" were significant additions to the recent years of exciting gay cinema. I acknowledge garson's complaint about the "torture porn" thematics of KTOL, but I think the filmmaking itself and particularly the acting are well-above the cut and far above the 90s cinema that plays forefather to it. And HTSAP, until its final epilogue which I found sort of strange, is a vital piece of documentary filmmaking, regardless of subject matter.

November 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I appreciated "Keep the Lights On" as self-therapy and as an honest portrait of a doomed relationship> What I liked most are the performances, especially Thure Lindhardt, who plays his character as innocent and sweet yet completely complicit in the failure of the relationship. His waivering and acquiescent personality contributed to their failings and Lindhardt did a great job of conveying this without making him out to be a martyr. I do agree that the film lacked dramatic drive. What keeps it from being a great film like "Weekend" is that it is shiftless and shapeless (much like the characters). It lurches and meanders, but nonetheless it gets a lot of things right, especially the fact that some relationships don't end with emotional fireworks but rather end in hushed conversations of mutual understanding.

November 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

@steve - couldn't agree with you more.

So happy for Ira Sachs and especially for Thure Lindhardt. I am thrilled for them.

November 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

No Dwight Henry? What a terrible snub that is. Guess there's no chance for his Oscar nomination. For all the talk that Quvenzhane Wallis is receiving (and it's all earned--good for her!), not having Henry in the conversation is sad. Now they'll do something lazy like nominate Alan Arkin or Robert DeNiro for sleepwalking through their easy roles.

November 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaulie

Were neither Arbitrage nor Bachelorette eligible? So many good moments and performances in both of those films.

November 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Were neither Arbitrage nor Bachelorette eligible? So many good moments and worthy performances in both of those films.

November 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Thure Lindhardt's performance in "Keep the Lights On" is the best male lead performance of the year, and the film is second only to "The Deep Blue Sea" for best film of the year.

Conversely, the only awards "Beasts of the Southern Shakey Handheld Camera Silliness" should be competing for are Razzies.

November 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

Steve - No, actually, I'm totally serious when I say Lindhart gave the performance that pissed me off more than any other this year. And look, obviously mine isn't the consensus position, so by all means, ignore my raving.

But I didn't glean any nuance out of that - only self-pity, narcissism and Melrose-Place-level dragging-out-of-every-gesture (not that I wanna knock MP, but there's a time and a place, you know). And I just couldn't get past the way he kept resorting to the same face expression of "oh my god this is so much to process right now in this moment and there is a camera filming it all and that's like so awesome I'm gonna drag it out as much as possible because it give me pleasure - I mean, no wait - because it makes my character more tangible". His on-screen partner was wooden but he was harmless. Lindhart on the other hand - well, I just wanted to punch him.

He didn't bother me so much in Brotherhood (though I hated that movie just as much).

I quite like Julianne Nicholson in general, but she had nothing to do in this movie. She was just an expository device. Just like every character other than the two leads.

On the other hand "How to Survive a Plague" was excellent, searing and rousing (and this coming from a man who never wanted to see another AIDS doc again). That's my candidate for queer film of the year. By some margin.

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergoran

I'm so glad Middle of Nowhere got four nominations. It's really terrific, and in particular Emayatzy Corinealdi is brilliant (and also drop-dead gorgeous).

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDevil Shark

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