'Moonrise Kingdom,' 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' Top Indie Spirit Awards Nominations

On the heels of their wins at Monday night's Gotham Awards, Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" and Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" are among the nominees in the Best Feature category at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Spirit Awards nominees, which were announced on Tuesday morning by actors Anna Kendrick. Zoe Saldana and Common, also included "Bernie," "Keep the Lights On" and "Silver Linings Playbook."

That last film was something of a surprise nominee, because its reported budget was higher than the $20 million limit set by Spirit Awards rules. The jury has some discretion in qualifying films, but every film with a budget of more than $15 million is required to submit the top sheet from its final budget report to determine eligibility.

In a year in which the major studios have reclaimed the awards picture, releasing such high-profile, critically-acclaimed contenders as "Argo," "Lincoln," "Les Miserables," "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Life of Pi," the leading independent-film awards appear more peripheral to the Oscar race than they have been in recent years.

Last year, Oscar nominees "The Artist" and "The Descendants" were nominated for Best Feature, with "The Artist" defying the showbiz adage "win on Saturday, lose on Sunday" by taking the top Spirit Award one day before winning the Best Picture Oscar. In fact, six of last year's Spirit Award winners – including director Michel Hazanavicius, actor Jean Dujardin and Supporting Actor Christopher Plummer – won at both ceremonies.

The previous year, four out of the five Spirit Awards nominees in the Best Feature category also received Oscar Best Picture noms.

Nominations for the Spirit Awards are made by juries of about a dozen filmmakers and critics. The main jury, the American Narrative Nominating Committee, picks nominees in the majority of categories.

Generally, the awards are restricted to films made for less than $20 million and judged to be "independent" in nature by a jury. Winners are chosen by all members of Film Independent, which is open both filmmakers and to movie fans who pay an annual fee.

The 28th Film Independent Spirit Awards will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 23, in its usual location of a tent on Santa Monica beach.

More to come.

The nominees:

BEST FEATURE Beasts of the Southern Wild Bernie Keep the Lights On Moonrise Kingdom Silver Linings Playbook

BEST DIRECTOR Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom Julia Loktev, The Loneliest Planet David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook Ira Sachs, Keep the Lights On Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

BEST SCREENPLAY Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom Zoe Kazan, Ruby Sparks Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook Ira Sachs, Keep the Lights On

BEST FIRST FEATURE Fill the Void Gimme the Loot Safety Not Guaranteed Sound of My Voice The Perks of Being a Wallflower

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY Rama Burshtein, Fill the Void Derek Connolly, Safety Not Guaranteed Christopher Ford, Robot & Frank Rashida Jones & Will McCormack, Celeste and Jesse Forever Jonathan Lisecki, Gayby

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD - Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Breakfast with Curtis Middle of Nowhere Mosquita y Mari Starlet The Color Wheel


Linda Cardellini


Emayatzy Corinealdi

Middle of Nowhere

Jennifer Lawrence

Silver Linings Playbook

Quvenzhané Wallis

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Mary Elizabeth Winstead



Jack Black


Bradley Cooper

Silver Linings Playbook

John Hawkes

The Sessions

Thure Lindhardt

Keep the Lights On

Matthew McConaughey

Killer Joe

Wendell Pierce



Rosemarie DeWitt

Your Sister's Sister

Ann Dowd


Helen Hunt

The Sessions

Brit Marling

Sound of My Voice

Lorraine Toussaint

Middle of Nowhere


Matthew McConaughey

Magic Mike

David Oyelowo

Middle of Nowhere

Michael Péna

End of Watch

Sam Rockwell

Seven Psychopaths

Bruce Willis

Moonrise Kingdom


Yoni Brook

Valley of Saints

Lol Crawley


Ben Richardson

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Roman Vasyanov

End of Watch

Robert Yeoman

Moonrise Kingdom

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

How to Survive a Plague

DIRECTOR: David France

PRODUCERS: David France, Howard Gertler

Marina Abramovi_: The Artist is Present

DIRECTOR: Matthew Akers

PRODUCERS: Maro Chermayeff, Jeff Dupre

The Central Park Five

DIRECTORS/PRODUCERS: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon

The Invisible War

DIRECTOR: Kirby Dick

PRODUCERS: Tanner King Barklow, Amy Ziering

The Waiting Room


PRODUCERS: Linda Davis, William B. Hirsch

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)



DIRECTOR: Michael Haneke

Once Upon A Time in Anatolia


DIRECTOR: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Rust And Bone


DIRECTOR: Jacques Audiard



DIRECTOR: Ursula Meier

War Witch

(Democratic Republic of Congo)

DIRECTOR: Kim Nguyen

16th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD - The 16th annual Piaget Producers Award 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.

Nobody Walks

PRODUCER: Alicia Van Couvering

Prince Avalanche

PRODUCER: Derrick Tseng

Stones in the Sun

PRODUCER: Mynette Louie

19th ANNUAL SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD - The 19th annual 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.


DIRECTOR: David Fenster

Gimme the Loot


Electrick Children

DIRECTOR: Rebecca Thomas

STELLA ARTOIS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD - The 18th annual Truer Than Fiction Award 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.


DIRECTOR: Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel

The Waiting Room

DIRECTOR: Peter Nicks

Only the Young

DIRECTOR: Jason Tippet & Elizabeth Mims

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD - (Given to one film's director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)


Director: Sean Baker

Casting Director: Julia Kim

Ensemble Cast: Dree Hemingway, Besedka Johnson, Karren Karagulian, Stella Maeve, James Ransone

Related Articles:

Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom' Wins Best Feature at Gotham Film Awards

Film Independent Sets Spirit Awards for Feb. 23