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  • And the 2015 Spirit Award winners are…

    By | February 21, 2015

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    As usual, the 2015 Spirit Award winners for Best Feature (Birdman), Best Director (Richard Linklater, Boyhood), Best Documentary (CITIZENFOUR), Best International Film (Ida), Best Female Lead (Julianne Moore, Still Alice), and Best Male Lead (Michael Keaton, Birdman) all seem like highly probable precursors for the Oscars. So, if they are just going to predict the Oscars, what is the point of the Spirit Awards?

    Where the Spirit Awards have historically garnered attention and respect is in categories such as Best First Feature (Nightcrawler), Best First Screenplay (Dear White People), John Cassavetes Award (Land Ho!), Robert Altman Award (Inherent Vice), Piaget Producer’s Award (Chad Burris, Elisabeth Holm, Chris Ohlson), Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award (H.), and Lenscrafters’ Truer Than Fiction Award (The Kill Team).

    For the last two years I have all but dismissed the Spirit Awards in fear that they sold out and essentially became an “Oscar Jr.”; but after seeing the nominations of Love is Strange, Whiplash, Kumiko, A Most Violent Year, Nightcrawler, Only Lovers Left Alive, and Obvious Child in high profile categories, it became evident that the Spirit Awards wanted to recognize more than just the typical Oscar bait.

    The winner of each category is highlighted below in blue:

    BEST FEATURE

    Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
    Boyhood
    Love is Strange
    Selma
    Whiplash

    BEST DIRECTOR

    Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
    Ava DuVernay (Selma)
    Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman or [The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance])
    Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
    David Zellner (Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter)

    BEST SCREENPLAY

    Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (Big Eyes)
    J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year)
    Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler)
    Jim Jarmusch (Only Lovers Left Alive)
    Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias (Love is Strange)

    BEST FIRST FEATURE

    A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (dir. Ana Lily Amirpour)
    Dear White People (dir. Justin Simien)
    Nightcrawler (dir. Dan Gilroy)
    Obvious Child (dir. Gillian Robespierre)
    She’s Lost Control (dir. Anja Marquardt)

    BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

    Desiree Akhavan (Appropriate Behavior)
    Sara Colangelo (Little Accidents)
    Justin Lader (The One I Love)
    Anja Marquardt (She’s Lost Control)
    Justin Simien (Dear White People)

    JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Best feature made for under $500,000)

    Blue Ruin (dir. Jeremy Saulnier)
    It Felt Like Love (dir. Eliza Hittman)
    Land Ho! (dir. Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens)
    Man From Reno (dir. Dave Boyle)
    Test (dir. Chris Mason Johnson)

    BEST FEMALE LEAD

    Marion Cotillard (The Immigrant)
    Rinko Kikuchi (Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter)
    Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
    Jenny Slate (Obvious Child)
    Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive)

    BEST MALE LEAD

    André Benjamin (Jimi: All Is By My Side)
    Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)
    Michael Keaton (Birdman or [The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance])
    John Lithgow (Love is Strange)
    David Oyelowo (Selma)

    BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

    Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
    Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
    Carmen Ejogo (Selma)
    Andrea Suarez Paz (Stand Clear of the Closing Doors)
    Emma Stone (Birdman or [The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance])

    BEST SUPPORTING MALE

    Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler)
    Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
    Alfred Molina (Love is Strange)
    Edward Norton (Birdman or [The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance])
    J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

    BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

    Darius Khondji (The Immigrant)
    Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman or [The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance])
    Sean Porter (It Felt Like Love)
    Lyle Vincent (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night)
    Bradford Young (Selma)

    BEST EDITING

    Sandra Adair (Boyhood)
    Tom Cross (Whiplash)
    John Gilroy (Nightcrawler)
    Ron Patane (A Most Violent Year)
    Adam Wingard (The Guest)

    BEST DOCUMENTARY

    20,000 Days on Earth (dir. Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard)
    CITIZENFOUR (dir. Laura Poitras)
    Stray Dog (dir. Debra Granik)
    The Salt of the Earth (dir. Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders)
    Virunga (dir. Orlando von Einsiedel)

    BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM

    Force Majeure (dir. Ruben Östlund)
    Ida (dir. Pawel Pawlikowski)
    Leviathan (dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev)
    Mommy (dir. Xavier Dolan)
    Norte, the End of History (dir. Lav Diaz)
    Under the Skin (dir. Jonathan Glazer)

    ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD

    Inherent Vice (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

    SPECIAL DISTINCTION AWARD

    Foxcatcher (dir. Bennett Miller)

    18th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – Honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films.

    Chad Burris
    Elisabeth Holm
    Chris Ohlson

    21st ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – Recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.

    A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (dir. Ana Lily Amirpour)
    H. (dir. Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia)
    The Retrieval (dir. Chris Eska)

    20th ANNUAL LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – Presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition.

    Approaching the Elephant (dir. Amanda Rose Wilder)
    Evolution of a Criminal (dir. Darius Clark Monroe)
    The Kill Team (dir. Dan Krauss)
    The Last Season (dir. Sara Dosa)

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