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Birdman flies for indie awards

Alejandro G. Inarritu’s Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, to give it its full title, takes off ahead of the pack with six nominations for Film Independent’s 2015 Spirit Awards.


Birdman: don’t turn around

The awards line up some titles likely to be familiar to, or even recognised by, NZ filmgoers – but very few which screened outside of the NZIFF. Boyhood, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter, Leviathan and Love is Strange all screened in this year’s festival. Norte, The End of History and Only Lovers Left Alive both screened in the NZIFF’s 2013 edition. Not a NZIFF title, but a firm festival favourite elsewhere, Ana Lily Amirpour’s Iranian vampire feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night picks up a hat-trick of nods, including a nod for the US$25,000 Someone to Watch award for Amirpour

Among distributors, Sony Pictures Classics was by far the largest beneficiary of the noms, collecting 15 for his films like Love Is Strange and Whiplash. A24, repped by A Most Violent Year and Obvious Child, and Fox Searchlight, which released Birdman, collected six noms each.

The Spirit Awards ceremony traditionally runs a day ahead of the Oscars, which for 2015 will be 22 February (NZ time).

The nominees are:

Best Feature
(Award given to the Producer, Executive Producers are not awarded.)
Love Is Strange

Best First Feature
(Award Given To The Director And Producer)
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Dear White People
Obvious Child
She’s Lost Control

John Cassavetes Award
(Award Given To The Best Feature Made For Under $500,000; Award Given To The Writer, Director And Producer)
Blue Ruin
It Felt Like Love
Land Ho!
Man From Reno

Best Director
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Ava Duvernay, Selma
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
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 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

Best Cinematography
Darius Khondji, The Immigrant
Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
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 Male Lead
André Benjamin, Jimi: All Is By My Side
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton – Birdman
John Lithgow, Love Is Strange
David Oyelowo, Selma

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 Supporting Male
Riz Ahmed, Nightcrawler
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Alfred Molina, Love Is Strange
Edward Norton, Birdman
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

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

Best International Film
Force Majeure (Sweden)
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Mommy (Canada)
Norte, The End Of History (Philippines)
Under The Skin (United Kingdom)

Best Documentary
(Award Given To The Director And Producer)
20,000 Days On Earth
Stray Dog
The Salt Of The Earth

Robert Altman Award
(Award Given To One Film’s Director, Casting Director And Ensemble Cast)
Inherent Vice

Special Distinction Award

Piaget Producers Award

Honors emerging producers who demonstrate creativity, tenacity, and vision. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget. The finalists are:
Chad Burris
Elisabeth Holm
Chris Ohlson

Lenscrafters Truer Than Fiction Award
Presented to an emerging director of non-union features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters. The finalists are:
Sara Dosa, The Last Season
Dan Krauss, The Kill Team
Darius Clark Monroe, Evolution Of A Criminal
Amanda Rose Wilder, Approaching The Elephant

Kiehl’s 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 funded by Kiehl’s. The finalists are:
Ana Lily Amirpour, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia, H
Chris Eska, The Retrieval