Nominations for the 30th
But that sort of griping (and, really, you try to get "Selma" made and then get back to me about how that goes) misses the bigger picture. This is a fantastic group of nominees -- the best-feature set included "Love Is Strange" and "Whiplash" along with "Birdman," "Boyhood" and "Selma" -- that stand as a required viewing list for any movie lover in 2014.
"Birdman," starring Michael Keaton as a movie actor known for playing an iconic superhero, trying to reignite his career by staging a Broadway play, led the day with six nominations, including acting nods for Keaton, Edward Norton and
The recognition arrives at a propitious time for "Birdman." The film, currently playing in 862 theaters, has seen sluggish ticket sales in recent days, earning just $1.85 million at the box office last weekend. Tuesday's good news should direct a few more people toward seeing it.
Last year, for the first time, all four Spirit acting winners (
Could that happen again? Possibly. Keaton faces a tough challenge with the likes of
To be eligible for the Spirit Awards, films must be American productions, which Film Independent defines as movies either having American citizens credited in two of the three categories of director, writer and producer or a movie set primarily in the United States with an American company providing at least 70% of its financing.
That ruled out such films as
But "The Imitation Game," the historical drama about British mathematician Alan Turing and his team of WWII code-breakers, was eligible because its financing came from Teddy Schwarzman's New York-based Black Bear Pictures and it has an American producer (Schwarzman) and screenwriter (Graham Moore).
This isn't going to affect the film's Oscar chances. No movie has had a better academy screening this year. But its exclusion might indicate a feeling in the air that voters are looking for something that feels new and alive this year, another reason for the makers of "Boyhood" and "Birdman" to be enjoying Tuesday's announcement.