Spirit Award Nominations And New York Critics Winners Announced

And with that, the Oscar race is on!

Tuesday (Nov 29) morning was a busy one for the films hoping to vie for Academy Awards in February. The New York Film Critics Circle listed its winners and the Film Independent Spirits announced its nominations simultaneously in a couple hours of dizzying Oscar buzz.

Both awards are usually the earliest indication of which films could lead the pack when it comes time to announce the Academy Award nominees in January. The NYFCC were so early this year, in fact, that they had to delay their awards until after screening David Fincher’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” to which they awarded nothing.

Perhaps the biggest story coming out of both announcements was the emergence of Michael Hazanavicius’s ode to golden-era silent film, “The Artist,” as perhaps an early front-runner for Best Picture. The film had earned raves during the festival circuit a few months ago, but faced minor backlash during it’s limited release last week. Now with a Best Picture and Best Director win from the NYFCC, “The Artist” is the film to beat.

A welcome surprise came with Brad Pitt’s NYFCC Best Actor win for both “Moneyball” and “Tree of Life.” Meryl Streep earned the first of her expected many wins for “The Iron Lady.”

While the Spirit Awards focus on smaller films, the nominations cemented “Beginners” status as the indie charmer hit of the year. The movie, which stars Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer, surprised the night before when it won Best Ensemble and shared Best Picture with “Tree of Life” at the Gotham Independent Film Awards.

Check out both the winners from the New York Film Critics Circle and Spirit Award nominations below.

Spirit Award Nominations

Best Feature
Take Shelter
The Artist
The Descendants

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Mike Mills, Beginners
Jeff Nichols, Take Shelter
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive

Best Screenplay
Joseph Cedar, Footnote
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Tom McCarthy, Win Win
Mike Mills, Beginners
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, The Descendants

Best First Feature
Another Earth
In the Family
Margin Call
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Natural Selection Director

Best First Screenplay
Mike Cahill, Brit Marling, Another Earth
J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Patrick deWitt, Terri
Phil Johnston, Cedar Rapids
Will Reiser, 50/50

John Cassavetes Award – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000
Hello Lonesome
The Dynamiter

Best Female Lead
Lauren Ambrose, Think of Me
Rachael Harris, Natural Selection
Adepero Oduye, Pariah
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

Best Male Lead
Demián Bichir, A Better Life
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Ryan Gosling, Drive
Woody Harrelson, Rampart
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter

Best Supporting Female
Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter
Anjelica Huston, 50/50
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Harmony Santana, Gun Hill Road
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Best Supporting Male
Albert Brooks, Drive
John Hawkes, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
John C. Reilly, Cedar Rapids
Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris

Best Cinematography
Joel Hodge, Bellflower
Benjamin Kasulke, The Off Hours
Darius Khondji, Midnight in Paris
Guillaume Schiffman, The Artist
Jeffrey Waldron, The Dynamiter

Best Documentary
An African Election
Bill Cunningham New York
The Interrupters
The Redemption of General Butt Naked
We Were Here

Best International Film
A Separation
The Kid With a Bike

New York Film Critics Circle Winners

Best First Feature: “Margin Call”
Best Nonfiction Film: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain for “Tree of Life,” “The Help” and “Take Shelter”
Best Actress: Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady”
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks for “Drive”
Best Actor: Brad Pitt for “Moneyball,” and “Tree of Life”
Best Foreign Language Film: “A Separation”
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius for “The Artist”
Best Screenplay: Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin for “Moneyball”
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki for “Tree of Life”
2011 Special Award to be given posthumously to filmmaker Raoul Ruiz
Best Picture: “The Artist”

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