The Independent Spirit Awards nominations were announced Tuesday, honoring what Film Independent's voting members believe are the best among smaller-budgeted films. The honors recognize movies made for $20 million or less and, unlike the Academy Awards, the Spirits have categories such as Best First Feature, First Screenplay, and Someone To Watch. The Spirit Awards also recall the legacy of independent filmmakers with honors in the names of John Cassavettes and Robert Altman.
This year, the ceremony — which is put on by the non-profit Film Independent — turns 30 years old. Ahead of the nominations, John Waters — a perennial attendee and former host of the ceremony — posted this birthday video.
Some highlights from the nominations:
Six nominations for "Birdman" — The film by Alejandro G. Iñárritu has been praised for its acting and cinematography. In his interview with The Frame, Iñárritu talks about convincing Michael Keaton that he wasn't mocking him with his script, which is about an actor past his prime plagued by the superhero he once played.
Five nods for "Boyhood" — The now-famous Richard Linklater movie that was shot over 12 years, and shows a boy and his family go through normal life changes, has become a front runner in the awards talk.
Five nominations for "Selma" — The MLK biopic is directed by Ava DuVernay, who was also nominated for a Spirit directing award. The film doesn't open until Christmas Day, but a surprise screening at the AFI Fest gave voters a chance to get glimpse and they liked what they saw.
Two nods for "Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter" — It premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, but hasn't yet come out. Still, it garnered nominations in the Best Director category and Best Female Lead.
No nominations for "Wild" — The film, directed by last year's Spirit Award success story, Jean-Marc Vallee ("Dallas Buyers Club"), stars Reese Witherspoon in an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's best-selling book and was predicted to get a few nominations.
Actors with Spirit nominations and high Oscar chances include:
Julianne Moore got a nomination for Best Female lead as a woman suffering from early onset Alzheimer's in "Still Alice."
Patricia Arquette got a nomination for Best Supporting Female for playing the mom in "Boyhood."
JK Simmons got a nomination for Best Supporting Male for his turn as an abusive music teacher in "Whiplash."
The Spirit Awards recognize newcomers with the Someone to Watch category:
Among the nominees this year is Ana Lily Amirpour for her film, "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night." The Iranian vampire western was shot in California, but is in Farsi. In her interview with The Frame, Amirpour spoke about being an early fan of horror film and watching her surgeon father amputate a leg.
Find the complete list of nominations at the Spirit Awards website.