The Conversation: Reactions to the Spirit Awards Nominations and NYFCC Awards

The Conversation: Reactions to the Spirit Awards Nominations and NYFCC Awards

Nov 29, 2011

Still thinking about the Gotham Awards? Wake up, movie lovers, because it's another day, and with it came the Film Independent Spirit Awards nominations and some more winners courtesy of the New York Film Critics Circle. The latter annoyed a number of people this morning by stringing us along on Twitter, slowly announcing its picks over many hours. This after the organization fussily aimed to be first out of the gate this awards season then delayed a bit in order to see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo yesterday (for nothing, it seems). At least the fake Twitter account of NYFCC head (and infamous contrarian) Armond White provided a lot of humor to ease the pain and anticipation ("BELLFLOWER deemed ineligible for Best Screenplay as it was adapted from the dreams of every hipster ever lived."). In the end, the slight silent tribute The Artist was named Best Feature and we could shrug and move on to the next thing.

Oh right, amidst the dragged out NYFCC tweeting came those Spirit Awards nods, which provided some very big snubs (Like Crazy and Glenn Close among them) and other less upsetting surprises: hooray for Bombay Beach being nominated for the Truer Than Fiction Award and Bellflower for recognition in the low-budget John Cassavetes Award category and definitely Academy-snubbed The Interrupters for its nod for Best Documentary. 

Check out the complete list of Spirit Awards nominations here, and see the NYFCC Awards over here

Obviously between both honoring parties, The Artist, Jessica Chastain and Margin Call are now very big deals heading into Oscar territory. 


What are people saying about the Spirit Award nominations? Here's The Conversation heard around the blogosphere and Twitter: 

Naturally, The Artist’s strong showing has already provoked early controversy, as normally the Spiritsies go to films made by Americans, and both its writer-director and principal stars are French. However, a Film Independent spokesperson has already argued that it qualifies because, in addition to being filmed in America, director Michel Hazanavicius is a permanent U.S. resident. Also, The Artist is awesome, so shut up, everyone. - Sean O'Neal, A.V. Club

I expect that those races will now be won by Jean Dujardin (The Artist) and either Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn) or Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), respectively, and that Christopher Plummer (Beginners) and Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) will prevail in the supporting categories. - Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, in response to the snubs of Clooney and Close.

No "Martha Marcy May Marlene" in first screenplay? Sean Durkin's "Martha Marcy May Marlene" did quite well at the Spirits, nabbing four major nominations. But it's the subtle snubs that hurt, and that came in the form of losing out on a very deserved first screenplay nomination. I mean, sure, it's funny, but can anyone argue that "Cedar Rapids" was a better screenplay than "Martha Marcy"? - Peter Knegt, Indiewire, from a list of The 10 Biggest Surprises of the Spirit Award Nominations

For me, the biggest surprise is the total shut out of Sundance darling Like Crazy. Besides that, I love seeing some recognition going to films that likely won’t get love from Oscar: 50/50, Win Win, Bellflower, Circumstance, etc. - Germain Lussier, /Film

It's fantastic to see such a strong showing for Take Shelter, which snagged four nominations, and something even smaller and weirder like Bellflower, which was recognized for the Cassavetes Award as well as for its cinematography. And even though 50/50 was one of the biggest projects in this lineup, produced by Summit Entertainment, it got virtually ignored when it was released and really deserves the recognition its getting here. - Katey Rich, Cinema Blend

Did I mention Gosling was nominated? Oh, that’s right, I did. The odds of the Sexiest Man Alive runner-up receiving an Oscar nomination for “Drive” seem semi-slim, so it was nice to see him recognized here. Also, the mention of his name gives the Internet something to do, and that’s always nice. - Jen Cheney, Celbritology

Conspicuously absent from the list of nominees are several top Oscar contenders: Midnight in Paris for Best Feature, Woody Allen for Best Director or Best Screenplay, Albert Nobbs star Glenn Close for Best Female Lead, and The Descendants‘ George Clooney for Best Male Lead. That the Spirit Award nominees are decided on by a relatively small group of independent film professionals means that Allen, Close, and Clooney shouldn’t give up hope just yet. - Dave Karger, Entertainment Weekly

Really happy to see much love being showered upon Take Shelter and this is an outstanding selection of supporting actors. Nice of them to toss Heather Courtney a bone for the Truer than Fiction award, but Where Soldiers Come From which played at Film Independent’s LA Film Festival should’ve been in the documentary category. - Craig Kennedy, Living in Cinema

Obviously, the Spirits march to the beat of their own drum somewhat -- hence nominations for the teeny-tiny likes of "Gun Hill Road," "In The Family" and "Think of Me," further down the list, and we wouldn't want it to any other way. But "Take Shelter"'s success does bode well for Michael Shannon's Best Actor chances in more mainstream ceremonies, while conversely Michael Fassbender's absence (and indeed, the almost total lack of attention for "Shame," bar a token Best International Film nod, seems to be a poor signifier for that film, and for its star (although we wonder if it was eligible, although if "The Artist" was, surely it would be too?) - Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist

@MorganSpurlock: Congrats to my main man Steve James & Kartemquin for their Independent Spirit Award nomination for The Interrupters! Much deserved!

@peterknegt: dear Glenn Close, FUCK YOU. Love, the Spirit Awards

@AlbertBrooks: Was just told about N.Y.F.C.C. and Spirit Awards! THANK YOU. I feel like Herman Cain at a Dallas Cheerleader convention.


What are people saying about the NYFCC Awards? Here's The Conversation heard around the blogosphere and Twitter: 

I don't put much stock in these awards as it's clearly evident the intent was to be first, gain attention as a result and hope their picks would be influential throughout the duration of the 2011 awards season. So be it, and I'll list the winners, which were announced today via the org's Twitter feed and I've added The Artist to my "Oscar Overture" as the first film to gain recognition from a critical organization and/or high profile award show, but I personally can't respect it. - Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon

The major criticism I saw this morning of the New York Film Critics Circle and their live-voting awards show, as broadcast to the world by several member Twitter accounts, was that they seem to be placing a higher priority on being first than any other element of being relevant. Then again, their choice for best picture — Michel Hazavanicius’ silent smash The Artist – is the talk of The Town this awards season, so it doesn’t seem out of left field or completely irrelevant that they chose to honor it with both Best Pic and Best Director. - Neil Miller, Film School Rejects

So what if the New York critics didn’t get a chance to see everything before voting today? They saw Tree of Life! (Clearly.) - Jen Yamato, Movieline

If the group was trying to send a message to the Academy with its timing and its selections, the principal beneficiaries were probably Albert Brooks and Brad Pitt, both of whose films were released earlier in the year. The Academy certainly does not need nudging to pay attention to, say, "The Artist" or Meryl Streep. - Steve Pond, The Wrap

After all the whining, this group – with the exception of one award – really could have given out these awards on October 1… as Maryl [sic] Streep is the only winner whose film was not either in theaters of [sic] at Toronto before that date. The question, I suppose, is whether the group’s collective sphincter tightened around the mess of the early vote. - Dave Poland, The Hot Blog

NYFCC has handed its Best Director prize to Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist. WHAT?? For making a highly engaging curio, a nostalgic bauble...a shimmering, silver-toned audience pleaser? And in so doing blowing off the efforts of Bennett Miller, Alexander Payne, Terrence Malick (which I could totally live with) and others? This is a major NYFCC embarassment. - Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere

@PetalumaFilms: good thing the DRAGON TATTOO and WAR HORSE studios kowtowed to the NYFCC demands for early access

@Movieline: Thanks for that special 'Dragon Tattoo' screening, but no thanks.

@EriktheMovieman: Maybe every other critic's group can now vote EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE as Best Picture just to spite #NYFCC

@scott_tobias: In what universe is MARGIN CALL (a perfectly fine movie) a better first effort than MARTHA MARCY ETC?

@kristapley: UGH. RT @NYFCC2011 Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist"

@TheFilmStage: Ugh. RT @TFSfeed New York Film Critics Name ‘The Artist’ the Best Film of 2011

@House_Next_Door: Meh.

@james_callahan: What a cop out.

@AwardDaily: Heard through the grapevine that it was down to Melancholia vs. The Artist for the NYFCC



Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic) to join The Conversation.



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