The film award season will officially kick off on Tuesday, November 30, with the announcement of the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Since they are the first awards to be announced, the Spirit Awards are hard to predict, not least because the nominated films are chosen from submissions which are not publicly available. If a production company does not submit a film, it cannot be elegible.
The Rules of Elegibility of the Spirit Awards establish that any submitted film must be at least 70 minutes long and that the cost of the completed film, including post, must be less than $20 million. Except for the category of Best Foreign Film, all nominations go to American productions. Unlike in most of the other film awards, the British go foreign in the Spirits.
There is a special category, the John Cassavetes Award, for films with budgets under $500,000.
The influence of the Spirit Awards on the rest of season is relative. Past winners and nominees, however, have gone on to score high with the critics and the Oscars. Among them, last year’s winner Precious and its stars Gabourey Sibide and Mo’Nique; Melissa Leo (Frozen River), Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Sean Penn (Milk) or Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker).
The 2011 Spirit Awards Nominations will be announced by Eva Mendes and Jeremy Renner on Tuesday, November 30, at 8:00 AM PT/11:00 AM ET. The 26th Film Independent Spirit Awards ceremony will be held in Santa Monica on Saturday, February 26, on the eve of the Oscars.
Here are my 2011 Spirit Award Nominations Predictions. I might well get all wrong, but that’s the fun of predicting awards. I’m specially clueless in the Foreign Film category, where there is no way to know which films may have been submitted for consideration.
The Kids Are All Right
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
Coen Brothers, True Grit
Debra Granik, Winter’s Bone
Eric Mendelson, 3 Backyards
Robert Duvall in Get Low
Aaron Eckhart in Rabbit Hole
James Franco in 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine
John C. Reilly in Cyrus
Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman in Black Swan
Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine
Christian Bale in The Fighter
John Hawkes in Winter’s Bone
Bill Murray in Get Low
Sam Rockell in Conviction
Mark Ruffalo in The Kids Are All Right
Barbara Hershey in Black Swan
Melissa Leo in The Fighter
Kirsten Stewart in Welcome to the Rileys
Mia Wasikowska in The Kids Are All Right
Diane Wiest in Rabbit Hole
Blue Valentine, D. Cianfrance, J. Curtis & C. Delavigne
The Kids Are All Right, L. Cholodenko & S. Blumberg
Please Give, Nicole Holofcener
True Grit, Coen Brothers
Winter’s Bone, D. Garnik & A. Rosellini
BEST FOREIGN FILM
Animal Kingdom (Australia)
Another Year (UK)
The King’s Speech (UK)
Of Gods and Men (France)
BEST FIRST FEATURE
Jack Goes Boating
Welcome to the Rileys