Friday, March 5, 2010

Independent Spirit Awards Picks

i love the spirit awards for all the reasons IFC wants me to like them. it is an awards show that attempts not to take itself seriously but nominates people and films that the oscars pass by. usually though, the winners are oscar films but quirky comedies that dont have a shot of winning best picture but are a lock for best screenplay (sideways, little miss sunshine, etc). ive seen most of these films so ill give you picks and some commentary

Best Documentary
Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008)
Food, Inc. (2008)
More Than a Game (2008)
October Country (2009)
Which Way Home (2009)

I've seen four of these (october country...not yet). i am leaning towards Food, Inc. because it did cause some amazing discussion and social change though Anvil! was beloved by all. Still, I'm thinking Food has this one.

Best Foreign Film
An Education (2009)
Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick (2008)
Madeo (2009)
La nana (2009)
Un prophète (2009)

I've seen three of these and my guess is going to be the one I haven't seen yet, Un Prophete. British films like An Education have notoriously difficult shots at Best Foreign Film because while technically, it's foreign, there aren't subtitles.

Best First Feature
Crazy Heart (2009)
Easier with Practice (2009)
The Messenger (2009/I)
Paranormal Activity (2007)
A Single Man (2009)

I can tell you who is NOT going to win this: Paranormal Activity. It was good but too many people are comparing it to Blair Witch which means the ghastly after effects of all involved sliding back into obscurity. A Single Man was outstandingly shot and overlooked. Tom Ford used his remarkable his photographic eye for one of the most uniquely shots debuts in a while. There's your winner

Best Cinematography
The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans (2009): Peter Zeitlinger
Cold Souls (2009): Andrij Parekh
A Serious Man (2009): Roger Deakins
Sin nombre (2009): Adriano Goldman
Treeless Mountain (2008): Anne Misaw

I've seen all of these and I can't decide whether I liked Sin Nombre or Cold Souls more in terms of cinematography. In Souls, the stark sterility of the appearance in the Soul and the Soul Extractor were essential to a successful film and Sin Nombre was a wonderful trip through downtrodden Mexico. Also, Treeless Mountain was stark and had some lovely sunsets. On the other hand, A Serious Man is the Coen Brothers. Yeah, I'm going with that one.

Best First Screenplay
Amreeka (2009): Cherien Dabis
Cold Souls (2009): Sophie Barthes
Crazy Heart (2009): Scott Cooper
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Geoffrey Fletcher
A Single Man (2009): Tom Ford, David Scearce

This is a tough category too. Amreeka was brilliantly written and took a tough subject matter (Palestinian immigrants trying to set up a new life in the US) and made it sad, poignant, and funny at times. On the other hand, Precious was popular but did receive a lot of backlash after the initial fawning. Cold Souls was brilliantly clever but was a bit reminscient of Eternal Sunshine. Crazy Heart was good but I didn't was as emotional as it could have been. Right, I'm saying a Single Man on this one too but Amreeka might take it.

Best Screenplay
(500) Days of Summer (2009): Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Adventureland (2009): Greg Mottola
The Messenger (2009/I): Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman
The Last Station (2009): Michael Hoffman
The Vicious Kind (2009): Lee Toland Krieger

(500) Days is a lock. Adventureland could upset but I highly doubt it.

Best Director
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen for A Serious Man (2009)
Lee Daniels for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
Cary Fukunaga for Sin nombre (2009)
James Gray for Two Lovers (2008)
Michael Hoffman for The Last Station (2009)

If there is something better the Coen Brothers, it's underappreciated Coen Brothers. This one is pretty much a lock too though I was very impressed by the direction in Sin Nombre and Two Lovers, the latter of which was one of the most pleasant film suprises of recent years for me. Still, Coens.

Best Supporting Male
Jemaine Clement for Gentlemen Broncos (2009)
Woody Harrelson for The Messenger (2009/I)
Christian McKay for Me and Orson Welles (2008)
Ray McKinnon for That Evening Sun (2009)
Christopher Plummer for The Last Station (2009)

While the idea of Clement winning makes me very very happy (he sang Too Many Dicks on the Dancefloor!) Woody Harrelson is a lock and probably would be a strong candidate for the Oscar if Christophe Waltz didn't give one of the most memorable performances in history.

Best Supporting Female
Mo'Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
Dina Korzun for Cold Souls (2009)
Samantha Morton for The Messenger (2009/I)
Natalie Press for Fifty Dead Men Walking (2008)
Mia Wasikowska for That Evening Sun (2009)

Mo'Nique is going to win the Oscar and should. She is also going to win the Spirit award and should. Though I did think Samantha Morton was excellent. Of course, she is always excellent. Weep not for Mia Wasikowska, she plays the lead in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland so she will be ok.

Best Male Lead
Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart (2009)
Colin Firth for A Single Man (2009)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt for (500) Days of Summer (2009)
Souleymane Sy Savane for Goodbye Solo (2008)
Adam Scott for The Vicious Kind (2009)

This is a tough one. Bridges is the sentimental favorite and the likely Oscar winner but Firth and Levitt have strong shots at this. I am going to say Bridges but I think that this race is fairly close

Best Female Lead
Maria Bello for Downloading Nancy (2008)
Nisreen Faour for Amreeka (2009)
Helen Mirren for The Last Station (2009)
Gwyneth Paltrow for Two Lovers (2008)
Gabourey Sidibe for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)

Precious is going to win but I protest this. I thought Maria Bello was amazing and I'm wondering how the hell Tilda Swinton was snubbed for Julia. Sidibe was good but strictly ordinary and her performance did not have the same sort of emotional punch that Mo'Nique had.

Best Feature
(500) Days of Summer (2009)
Amreeka (2009)
The Last Station (2009)
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
Sin nombre (2009)

I would like to see Sin Nombre or Amreeka win because I really liked them a lot. Precious has a small chance but I think that (500) Days of Summer, a movie beloved by all and starring poster children of indie films will win.

i didnt proofread this blog entry so im sorry if there are a shit ton of words missing. i type stream of conciousness and leave out words frequently.