A nostalgic look at the beginning of the independent film movement, a biography of a controversial sex educator, a drama about a young Colombian woman working as a mule for drug dealers, a complex thriller made for pocket change and a comedy-drama set in the California wine country garnered best feature nominations for the 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards.
The best feature nominations, announced Tuesday, for "Baadasssss!," "Kinsey," "Maria Full of Grace," "Primer" and "Sideways" heralded the arrival of the 2004 movie awards season.
The Independent Spirit Awards will be given out on the beach in Santa Monica on Feb. 26, the day before the Academy Awards. Although the Spirit Awards are the indie film community's response to the Oscar -- the ceremony usually features a healthy irreverence for the Academy Awards -- several Independent Spirit Award nominees and winners have gone on to win Oscars, including last year's best actress winner, Charlize Theron, for "Monster."
"Sideways" garnered the most nominations with six, including best director, screenplay, best actor and supporting actress and actor. The Spanish-language drama "Maria Full of Grace" followed with five.
The complex thriller "Primer," which was made by first-time writer-director-actor Shane Carruth for a mere $7,000, received four nominations including best director, supporting actor and screenplay.
The films nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards were selected based on the following criteria: original, provocative subject matter; uniqueness of vision; economy of means with particular attention paid to total budget and individual; and percent of independent financing.
Among the 13-person nominating committee were IFP/Los Angeles Executive Director Dawn Hudson, Times film critic Kenneth Turan and directors Tony Bui, Mark Polish and Alan Rudolph.
Other nominees include:
Director: Shane Curruth, "Primer; Joshua Marston, "Maria Full of Grace"; Alexander Payne, "Sideways"; Walter Salles, "The Motorcycle Diaries"; Mario Van Peebles, "Baadasssss!"
Screenplay: Mario Van Peebles & Dennis Haggerty, "Baadasssss!"; Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke, "Before Sunset"; Tod Williams, "The Door in the Floor"; Bill Condon, "Kinsey"; Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, "Sideways."
First feature: "Brother to Brother," "Garden State," "Napoleon Dynamite," "Saints and Soldiers," "The Woodsman."
First screenplay: Rodney Evans, "Brother to Brother"; Zach Braff, "Garden State"; Joshua Marston, "Maria Full of Grace"; Shane Carruth, "Primer"; Mario F. de la Vega, "Robbing Peter."
John Cassavetes Award (best feature made for $500,000): "Down to the Bone," "Mean Creek," On the Outs," "Robbing Peter," "Unknown Soldier."
Debut performance: Anthony Mackie, "Brother to Brother"; Louie Olivios Jr., "Robbing Peter"; Hannah Pikes, "The Woodsman"; Rodrigo de la Serna, "The Motorcycle Diaries"; David Sullivan, "Primer."
Supporting female: Cate Blanchett, "Coffee and Cigarettes"; Loretta Devine, "Woman Thou Art Loosed"; Virginia Madsen, "Sideways"; Robin Simmons, "Robbing Peter"; Yenny Paola Vega, "Maria Full of Grace."
Supporting male: Thomas Haden Church, "Sideways'; Jon Gries, "Napoleon Dynamite"; Aidan Quinn, "Cavedweller"; Roger Robinson, "Brother to Brother"; Peter Sarsgaard, "Kinsey."
Cinematography: Tim Orr, "Dandelion"; Eric Gautier, "The Motorcycle Diaries"; David Greene, "Redemption"; Ryan Little, "Saints and Soldiers"; Maryse Alberti, "We Don't Live Here Anymore."
Foreign film: "Bad Education," "Oasis," "Red Lights," "The Sea Inside," "Yesterday."
Documentary: "Bright Leaves," "Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed," "Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust," "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster," "Tarnation."
Special Distinction Award to the ensemble cast of "Mean Creek": Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck and Carly Schroeder.