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Four Independent Films Dominate Spirit Nominations

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Miguel Arteta’s dark, homosexual-themed comedy “Chuck and Buck,” Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream,” Kenneth Lonergan’s family drama “You Can Count on Me” and Julian Schnabel’s story of Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, “Before Night Falls,” dominated Wednesday’s nominations for Independent Spirit Awards with five apiece.

Best feature nominees include “Before Night Falls,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “George Washington,” “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” and “Requiem for a Dream.” Although “Crouching Tiger” is Taiwan’s entry for an Oscar and it is in Chinese, the film did not qualify for an Indie Spirit nomination as a foreign film because it was produced mainly by an American company, James Schamus’ Good Machine.

Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger”), Christopher Guest (“Best in Show”), Aronofsky, Schnabel and Arteta were nominated for best director.

Many of the Indie Spirit filmmakers and actors were also nominated for Golden Globes earlier this month.

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Best first feature nominations included “Girlfight,” “Love & Basketball,” “The Visit,” “You Can Count on Me” and “Boiler Room.” Best female lead nominations included Joan Allen for her role as a vice presidential nominee in DreamWorks’ “The Contender,” Ellen Burstyn for her part in Artisan Entertainment’s “Requiem for a Dream,” Sanaa Lathan in New Line Cinema’s “Love and Basketball,” Laura Linney in Paramount Classics’ “You Can Count on Me” and Kelly MacDonald in Lion’s Gate’s “Two Family House.” Linney, Allen and Burstyn were also nominated for Golden Globes.

Javier Bardem (who also got a Golden Globe nod) was nominated as best male lead for “Before Night Falls,” along with Adrien Brody in “Restaurant,” Billy Crudup in “Jesus’ Son,” Hill Harper in “The Visit” and Mark Ruffalo in “You Can Count on Me.”

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“Dancer in the Dark,” “In the Mood for Love,” “The Terrorist,” “A Time for Drunken Horses” and “The War Zone” were all nominated for best foreign film.

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The 16th Annual Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by the Independent Feature Project West, an organization founded 26 years ago to help nurture independent film. The awards have grown from a small occasion where only a few actors would meet at a local restaurant to a high-profile event complete with paparazzi and big name stars. Today’s nominations vary wildly in budget from the $500,000 “George Washington” to the $14-million production “Crouching Tiger.”

Winners will be announced March 24 at ceremonies held under a tent on the beach in Santa Monica, with director John Waters serving as emcee. The awards selection committee nominated 38 films this year, the most ever.


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