Arts & Entertainment

Independent Spirit Awards presented tonight; 'Precious,' 'The Last Station' lead nominations

(L-R) Screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher, actress Gabourey Sidibe, director Lee Daniels, actress Mo'Nique, actress Paula Patton, and producers Simone Sheffield, Gary Magness and Sarah Siegel-Magness of 'Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire,' pose during the 41st NAACP Image awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on Feb. 26, 2010 in Los Angeles.
(L-R) Screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher, actress Gabourey Sidibe, director Lee Daniels, actress Mo'Nique, actress Paula Patton, and producers Simone Sheffield, Gary Magness and Sarah Siegel-Magness of 'Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire,' pose during the 41st NAACP Image awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on Feb. 26, 2010 in Los Angeles.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NAACP

The historical tale "The Last Station" and gritty teen drama "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' by Sapphire" each have five nominations to lead the pack heading into tonight's presentation of the 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Both films are nominated for best feature, along with the romantic comedy "(500) Days of Summer" and immigration tales "Amreeka" and "Sin Nombre."

The awards, which honor smaller-budget independent films, will be presented at the L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles.

Lee Daniels, who directed "Precious," and Michael Hoffman, who helmed "Last Station," are both nominated for best director. Mo'Nique, who has won Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards and is nominated for an Oscar for her role as an abusive mother in "Precious," is nominated for best supporting female.

Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, who plays the abused teen in "Precious," and Helen Mirren of "Last Station," about the last year in the life of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, are nominated for best actress. They are both up for the best-actress Oscar on Sunday.

Joining them among Spirit Award nominees are Gwyneth Paltrow for the drama "Two Lovers," Maria Bello for "Downloading Nancy" and Nisreen Faour for "Amreeka," about a Palestinian mother and son who move to Illinois to start a new life.

The lead actor race has Joseph Gordon-Levitt of "(500) Days of Summer" up against Oscar favorite Jeff Bridges of "Crazy Heart" and Oscar nominee Colin Firth of "A Single Man." They are joined by Adam Scott of "The Vicious Kind" and Souleymane Sy Savane from "Goodbye Solo."

"Last Station" also has nominations for Hoffman for best screenplay, as well as for veteran Canadian actor and Oscar nominee Christopher Plummer for supporting actor.

"Precious" also has a nomination for screenwriting for Geoffrey Fletcher.

Several winners of past Spirit Awards have earned Academy Awards, including Penelope Cruz for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "Juno" screenwriter Diablo Cody last year.

During tonight's ceremony, Joel and Ethan Coen's "A Serious Man," which loosely updates the Biblical story of Job, will receive the Robert Altman Award, given to a film's director, casting director and ensemble cast.

To be eligible for a Spirit Award, films must be at least 70 minutes long, and cost less than $20 million.

The films must have been shown in a commercial theater for at least one week during 2009 or have been shown at one of the qualifying festivals -- Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, New York, Sundance, Telluride or Toronto.

Here is a complete list of nominees: