AWARDS: 2008 Independent Spirit Awards – The Nominees

Nominees for the 2008 Spirit Awards were announced the morning of Tuesday, November 27. They are:


BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer – Executive Producers are not listed)

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Jon Kilik

I’m Not There
Producers: Christine Vachon, John Sloss, John Goldwyn, James D. Stern

Producers: Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Mason Novick, Russell Smith

A Mighty Heart
Producers: Dede Gardner, Andrew Eaton, Brad Pitt

Paranoid Park
Producers: Neil Kopp, David Cress


Todd Haynes, I’m Not There
Tamara Jenkins, The Savages
Jason Reitman, Juno
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Gus Van Sant, Paranoid Park

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)

2 Days in Paris
Director: Julie Delpy
Producers: Julie Delpy, Christophe Mazodier, Thierry Potok

Great World of Sound
Director: Craig Zobel
Producers: Melissa Palmer, David Gordon Green, Richard Wright, Craig Zobel

The Lookout
Director: Scott Frank
Producers: Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Laurence Mark, Walter Parkes

Rocket Science
Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Producers: Effie T. Brown, Sean Welch

Director: Rajnesh Domalpalli
Producer: Latha R. Domalapalli

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 listed)

August Evening
Writer/Directpr: Chris Eska
Producers: Connie Hill, Jason Wehling

Owl and the Sparrow
Writer/Director: Stephane Gauger
Producers: Nguyen Van Quan, Doan Nhat Nam, Stephane Gauger

The Pool
Director: Chris Smith
Producer: Kate Noble
Writer: Chris Smith & Randy Russell

Quiet City
Director: Aaron Katz
Producers: Brendan McFadden, Ben Stambler
Writers: Aaron Katz, Erin Fisher, Cris Lankenau

Shotgun Stories
Writer/Director: Jeff Nichols
Producers: David Gordon Green, Lisa Muskat, Jeff Nichols


Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Tamara Jenkins, The Savages
Fred Parnes & Andrew Wagner, Starting Out in the Evening
Adrienne Shelly, Waitress
Mike White, Year of the Dog


Jeffrey Blitz, Rocket Science
Zoe Cassavetes, Broken English
Diablo Cody, Juno
Kelly Masterson, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
John Orloff, A Mighty Heart


Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart
Sienna Miller, Interview
Ellen Page, Juno
Parker Posey, Broken English
Tang Wei, Lust, Caution


Pedro Castaneda, August Evening
Don Cheadle, Talk To Me
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Savages
Frank Langella, Starting Out in the Evening
Tony Leung, Lust, Caution


Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
Anna Kendrick, Rocket Science
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Margot at the Wedding
Tamara Podemski, Four Sheets to the Wind
Marisa Tomei, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead


Chiwetel Ejiofor, Talk To Me
Marcus Carl Franklin, I’m Not There
Kene Holliday, Great World of Sound
Irrfan Khan, The Namesake
Steve Zahn, Rescue Dawn


Mott Hupfel, The Savages
Janusz Kaminski, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Milton Kam, Vanaja
Mihai Malaimare, Jr., Youth Without Youth
Rodrigo Prieto, Lust, Caution

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director)

Crazy Love
Director: Dan Klores

Lake of Fire
Director: Tony Kaye

Manufactured Landscapes
Director: Jennifer Baichwal

The Monastery
Director: Pernille Rose Grønkjær

The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair
Directors: Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the director)

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Director: Cristian Mungiu

The Band’s Visit
Director: Eran Kolirin

Lady Chatterley
Director: Pascale Ferran

Director: John Carney

Directors: Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi

(Given to one film’s director, casting director and its ensemble cast)
I’m Not There
Director: Todd Haynes
Casting Director: Laura Rosenthal
Ensemble Cast: Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw, Marcus Carl Franklin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Bruce Greenwood

IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award
The 14th annual IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.

Ramin Bahrani, director of Chop Shop
Ronnie Bronstein, director of Frownland
Lee Isaac Chung, director of Munyurangabo

Truer Than Fiction Award
The 12th annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant attention.

Laura Dunn for The Unforeseen
Gary Hustwit for Helvetica
John Maringouin for Running Stumbled

Producers Award
The 11th annual Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films.

Anne Clements, producer of Ping Pong Playa and Quinceañera
Alexis Ferris, producer of Cthulhu and Police Beat
Neil Kopp, producer of Paranoid Park and Old Joy


All in all an interesting and eclectic group of films. Still, some major stunners among the bunch, the biggest of which is perhaps the unbelievable and almost complete shutout of the year’s most successful indie, Waitress, with the exception of the nomination for the late Adrienne Shelly for Best Screenplay.

And Gus Van Zant’s Paranoid Park grabbed two top nominations, Best Feature and Best Director, despite fairly scathing reviews at Sundance last January. A couple people I know have seen it, and they’re split on it – one loved it, one hated it. So it’s not a cut and dried piece of work. As a voter in the Spirit Awards, I am glad it got nominated because i’ve wanted to see it since Sundance – if skateboarding is involved, i’m interested, despite Wassup Rockers in 2006 – and now i’ll have the chance to see it before it comes out next March.

I’m also disapponted, that Wristcutters: A Love Story was shut out, but that was to be expected, as it was submitted while on the festival circuit and landed a first time director nomination for Goran Dukic last year. But I was hoping that Fierce People would get something out of it, but alas, it was not to be.

The 2008 Spirit Awards will be handed out on the beach in Santa Monica, live on Saturday, February 23, 2008, one day before the 2008 Academy Awards.

Stay tuned to PNR throughout awards season as we bring you all the nominations and best of lists as the awards season ramps up!