‘Take Shelter,’ ‘The Artist’ top contenders for Spirit Awards

This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Writer-director Jeff Nichols’ apocalyptic drama ‘Take Shelter’ and the black-and-white silent film ‘The Artist’ emerged as top contenders for Film Independent’s 2012 Spirit Awards on Tuesday morning, earning five nominations each. Both films were nominated in the feature category, along with ’50/50,’ ‘Beginners,’ ‘Drive’ and ‘The Descendants.’

The Spirit Awards, in their 27th year, reflected the wide-open nature of this awards season, with ‘Beginners,’ ‘The Descendants,’ ‘Drive’ and ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ all collecting four nominations apiece.


In the female lead category, Michelle Williams was nominated for her role in ‘My Week With Marilyn,’ along with Elizabeth Olsen for ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene,’ Lauren Ambrose for ‘Think of Me,’ Rachael Harris for ‘Natural Selection’ and Adepero Oduye for ‘Pariah.’

Ryan Gosling was nominated for male lead in ‘Drive,’ as were Demian Bichir for ‘A Better Life,’ Jean Dujardin for ‘The Artist,’ Woody Harrelson for ‘Rampart’ and Michael Shannon for ‘Take Shelter.’

In the directing category, Film Independent acknowledged Michel Hazanavicius (‘The Artist’), Mike Mills (‘Beginners’), Nichols (‘Take Shelter’), Alexander Payne (‘The Descendants’) and Nicolas Winding Refn (‘Drive’).

J.C. Chandor’s ‘Margin Call’ received the Robert Altman Award, which is given to one film for director, casting director and ensemble cast.

The Film Independent committee evaluated 270 movies, all of which had budgets less than $20 million.

Last year’s Spirit Awards top nominees were ‘Winter’s Bone’ and ‘The Kids Are All Right.’ Both films went on to be nominated for four Academy Awards, including best picture.

The Spirit Awards will take place Feb. 25 in Santa Monica.

[Updated at 10:55 a.m. Nov. 29] A full list of the nominees follows on the jump:

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the producer; executive producers are not listed)

’50/50': Producers: Evan Goldberg, Ben Karlin, Seth Rogen.
‘Beginners’: Producers: Miranda de Pencier, Lars Knudsen, Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech, Jay Van Hoy.
‘Drive’: Producers: Michel Litvak, John Palermo, Marc Platt, Gigi Pritzker, Adam Siegel.
‘Take Shelter’: Producers: Tyler Davidson, Sophia Lin.
‘The Artist’: Producer: Thomas Langmann.
‘The Descendants’: Producers: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor.

Michel Hazanavicius: ‘The Artist’
Mike Mills: ‘Beginners’
Jeff Nichols: ‘Take Shelter’
Alexander Payne: ‘The Descendants’
Nicolas Winding Refn: ‘Drive’

Joseph Cedar: ‘Footnote’
Michel Hazanavicius: ‘The Artist’
Tom McCarthy: ‘Win Win’
Mike Mills: ‘Beginners’
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash: ‘The Descendants’

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
‘Another Earth’: Director: Mike Cahill; producers: Mike Cahill, Hunter Gray, Brit Marling, Nicholas Shumaker.
‘In the Family’: Director: Patrick Wang; producers: Robert Tonino, Andrew van den Houten, Patrick Wang.
‘Margin Call’: Director: J.C. Chandor; producers: Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Neal Dodson, Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Zachary Quinto.
‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’: Director: Sean Durkin; producers: Antonio Campos, Patrick Cunningham, Chris Maybach, Josh Mond.
‘Natural Selection’: Director: Robbie Pickering; producers: Brion Hambel, Paul Jensen.

Mike Cahill, Brit Marling: ‘Another Earth’
J.C. Chandor: ‘Margin Call’
Patrick deWitt: ‘Terri’
Phil Johnston: ‘Cedar Rapids’
Will Reiser: ’50/50'

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD -- Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive producers are not listed.
‘Bellflower’: Writer-director: Evan Glodell; producers: Evan Glodell, Vincent Grashaw
‘Circumstance’: Writer-director: Maryam Keshavarz; producers: Karin Chien, Maryam Keshavarz, Melissa M. Lee
‘Hello Lonesome’: Writer-director-producer: Adam Reid
‘Pariah’: Writer-director: Dee Rees; producer: Nekisa Cooper
‘The Dynamiter’: Writer: Brad Inglesby; director: Matthew Gordon; producers: Kevin Abrams, Matthew Gordon, Merilee Holt, Art Jones, Mike Jones, Nate Tuck, Amile Wilson

Lauren Ambrose: ‘Think of Me’
Rachael Harris: ‘Natural Selection’
Adepero Oduye: ‘Pariah’
Elizabeth Olsen: ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’
Michelle Williams: ‘My Week With Marilyn’

Demián Bichir: ‘A Better Life’
Jean Dujardin: ‘The Artist’
Ryan Gosling: ‘Drive’
Woody Harrelson: ‘Rampart’
Michael Shannon: ‘Take Shelter’

Jessica Chastain: ‘Take Shelter’
Anjelica Huston: ’50/50'
Janet McTeer: ‘Albert Nobbs’
Harmony Santana: ‘Gun Hill Road’
Shailene Woodley: ‘The Descendants’

Albert Brooks: ‘Drive’
John Hawkes: ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’
Christopher Plummer: ‘Beginners’
John C. Reilly: ‘Cedar Rapids’
Corey Stoll: ‘Midnight in Paris’

Joel Hodge: ‘Bellflower’
Benjamin Kasulke: ‘The Off Hours’
Darius Khondji: ‘Midnight in Paris’
Guillaume Schiffman: ‘The Artist’
Jeffrey Waldron: ‘The Dynamiter’

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)
‘An African Election’: Director-producer: Jarreth Merz
‘Bill Cunningham New York’: Director: Richard Press; producer: Philip Gefter
‘The Interrupters’: Director-producer: Steve James; producer: Alex Kotlowitz
‘The Redemption of General Butt Naked’: Director-producers: Eric Strauss, Daniele Anastasion
‘We Were Here’: Director-producer: David Weissman

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
‘A Separation’: (Iran) Director: Asghar Farhadi
‘Melancholia’: (Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany) Director: Lars von Trier
‘Shame’: (UK) Director: Steve McQueen
‘The Kid With a Bike’: (Belgium/France/Italy) Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
‘Tyrannosaur’: (UK) Director: Paddy Considine

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD -– The 15th annual Piaget Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.
Chad Burris: ‘Mosquita y Mari’
Sophia Lin: ‘Take Shelter’
Josh Mond: ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD –- The 18th annual Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.
Simon Arthur: ‘Silver Tongues’
Mark Jackson: ‘Without’
Nicholas Ozeki: ‘Mamitas’

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD -– The 17th annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of nonfiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.
Heather Courtney: ‘Where Soldiers Come From’
Danfung Dennis: ‘Hell and Back Again’
Alma Har’el: ‘Bombay Beach’

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD -- (Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)
‘Margin Call’: Director: J.C. Chandor; casting director: Tiffany Little Canfield, Bernard Telsey; ensemble cast: Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto, Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci


Silent film could be next Oscar underdog

Michael Shannon talks fatherhood and the end of the world

-- Rebecca Keegan