Indie Spirit Awards: Your First Look at This Year's Potential Oscar Contenders

Indie Spirit Awards: Your First Look at This Year's Potential Oscar Contenders

Nov 25, 2014

The Indie Spirit Award nominations have officially arrived on the scene, signaling a busy few months full of various groups from around the country (and the world) announcing their own picks for the best of the year in movies. The Indie Spirit Awards honor films that were American productions (except where noted) and made for less than $20 million, so while this list definitely represents some of the best movies of the year, there are others -- like The Imitation Game, Wild, The Theory of Everything and Unbroken, to name a few -- that we expect to see in the mix as the Academy Awards approach.

Still, the Indie Spirits are pretty good at predicting awards buzz -- 12 Years a Slave won Best Feature last year and it went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars -- so use it as an early awards guide, sure, but also use it as one helluva movie recommendation list. 2014 was a fantastic year for movies, and this list of nominees is proof of that. If we had one piece of advice, it'd be to see all these movies. They're all worth a watch.

The full list of nominations is below. The Indie Spirit Awards will air live on IFC on February 21 at 5 p.m. ET.


BEST FEATURE - (Award given to the Producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole
Producers: Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland
Love is Strange
Producers: Lucas Joaquin, Lars Knudsen, Ira Sachs, Jayne Baron Sherman, Jay Van Hoy
Producers: Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey
Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michael Litvak

Damien Chazelle - Whiplash
Ava DuVernay - Selma
Alejandro G. Iñárritu - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Richard Linklater - Boyhood
David Zellner - Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

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 FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Producers: Justin Begnaud, Sina Sayyah
Dear White People
Director/Producer: Justin Simien
Producers: Effie T. Brown, Ann Le, Julia Lebedev, Angel Lopez, Lena Waithe
Director: Dan Gilroy
Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak
Obvious Child
Director: Gillian Robespierre
Producer: Elisabeth Holm
She’s Lost Control
Director/Producer: Anja Marquardt
Producers: Mollye Asher, Kiara C. Jones

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

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 awarded.
Blue Ruin
Writer/Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Producers: Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani
It Felt Like Love
Writer/Director/Producer: Eliza Hittman
Producers: Shrihari Sathe, Laura Wagner
Land Ho!
Writers/Directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens
Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy
Man From Reno
Writer/Director: Dave Boyle
Writers: Joel Clark, Michael Lerman
Producer: Ko Mori
Writer/Director/Producer: Chris Mason Johnson
Producer: Chris Martin

Marion Cotillard - The Immigrant
Rinko Kikuchi -Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Jenny Slate - Obvious Child
Tilda Swinton - Only Lovers Left Alive

André Benjamin - Jimi: All Is By My Side
Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
John Lithgow - Love is Strange
David Oyelowo - Selma

Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Jessica Chastain - A Most Violent Year
Carmen Ejogo - Selma
Andrea Suarez Paz - Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Emma Stone - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Riz Ahmed - Nightcrawler
Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
Alfred Molina - Love is Strange
Edward Norton - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
J.K. Simmons - Whiplash

Darius Khondji - The Immigrant
Emmanuel Lubezki - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Sean Porter - It Felt Like Love
Lyle Vincent - A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Bradford Young - Selma

Sandra Adair - Boyhood
Tom Cross - Whiplash
John Gilroy - Nightcrawler
Ron Patane - A Most Violent Year
Adam Wingard - The Guest

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)
20,000 Days on Earth
Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
Producers: Dan Bowen, James Wilson
Director/Producer: Laura Poitras
Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky
Stray Dog
Director: Debra Granik
Producer: Anne Rosellini
The Salt of the Earth
Directors: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders
Producer: David Rosier
Director/Producer: Orlando von Einsiedel
Producer: Joanna Natasegara

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
Force Majeure
Director: Ruben Östlund
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Director: Xavier Dolan
Norte, the End of History
Director: Lav Diaz
Under the Skin
(United Kingdom)
Director: Jonathan Glazer

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – (Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)
Inherent Vice
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Casting Director: Cassandra Kulukundis
Ensemble Cast: Josh Brolin, Martin Donovan, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Joaquin Phoenix, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio Del Toro, Katherine Waterston, Michael Kenneth Williams, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon

Director/Producer: Bennett Miller
Producers: Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik
Writers: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Actors: Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum

18th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 18th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, 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
Elisabeth Holm
Chris Ohlson

21st ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 21st annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, 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 Since 1851.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia
The Retrieval
Director: Chris Eska

20th ANNUAL LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 20th annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters.
Approaching the Elephant
Director: Amanda Rose Wilder
Evolution of a Criminal
Director: Darius Clark Monroe
The Kill Team
Director: Dan Krauss
The Last Season
Director: Sara Dosa




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