Are you ready for some Independent Spirit? That's right, the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards are right around the corner and that means most of the contenders vying for Oscars on Sunday have a shot to win on Saturday as well. This year, in fact, the Spirits may reward some of the great performances, filmmakers and movies that were snubbed in some tight races for Oscar.
“Selma” is up for Best Feature, Best Male Lead (David Oyelowo), Best Supporting Female (Carmen Ejogo), Best Cinematography (Bradford Young) and Best Director (Ava DuVernay). Considering the acclaimed drama has earned almost $50 million at the box office, it's very unlikely it will go home empty-handed (we'll explain why in a minute).
“Nightcrawler” is up for Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal), Best First Feature (Dan Gilroy), Best Screenplay (Dan Gilroy) and Best Editing. This is another critics' favorite that did very well in theaters.
“A Most Violent Year” won the National Board of Review's top honor, but was snubbed across the board by the Academy. The Spirits were much kinder with nods for Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain), Best Screenplay (J.C. Chandor) and Best Editing. It did not fare as well at the box office as many had hoped, but has a chance to head home with a Spirit here.
Of course, when you look over all the nominees you'll notice a lot of “Boyhood,” “Whiplash” and “Birdman” nods. Yep, throw in “American Sniper” and “Grand Budapest Hotel” and you basically would have a dress rehearsal for the Academy Awards. The main difference, however, is anyone can join Film Independent and therefore qualify to vote for the Spirit Awards. That traditionally means movie fans from around the country who haven't always seen all of the nominees get to weigh in. Oh, and there are a lot of them. Thousands. And in case you were unaware, that means the nominees that have the biggest box office usually win. In theory, that means your Best Film winner is “Selma.” If you're making bets, however, “Birdman” or “Boyhood” are the safer picks.
Keeping all that in mind, check out this pundit's predictions for the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards in the embedded gallery below.
Also, look for complete coverage from the Spirit Awards tomorrow on HitFix.