2011 Indie Spirit Awards Nominations

Pete Hammond: Indie Spirit Nominations Could Predict Oscar

LOS ANGELES (November 30, 2010) – Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced nominations this morning for the 2011 Film Independent Spirit AwardsEva Mendes and Jeremy Renner served as presenters and 2011 Spirit Awards host Joel McHale was also on hand.  Nominees for Best Feature include 127 Hours, Black Swan, Greenberg, The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone.

Please Give was selected for the Robert Altman Award, which is given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast.

“The artistic side of independent film is stronger than ever, and it’s especially impressive to see the developed craft of extraordinary independent filmmakers who have only gotten better over the years.  Past nominees such as Darren Aronofsky, Noah Baumbach, Danny Boyle, Lisa Cholodenko, Debra Granik, Nicole Holofcener and John Cameron Mitchell continue to create original and compelling films that move and amaze us.” said Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson.

Selected from 220 submissions, this year’s winners will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. on the beach in Santa Monica.  The 26th annual awards show will air exclusively that night on IFC at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.  Winners of the Filmmaker Grants will be highlighted during the Spirit Awards and announced at the 2011 Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch celebration on Saturday, January 15th at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood.

On Wednesday, February 23, a selection of Spirit Award nominees will discuss their films and their craft at Film Independent’s Directors Close-Up, a 5-week series that features conversations with directors and their collaborators.

The Jameson FIND Your Audience Award, a new filmmaker grant, was established this year to help make it possible for one Spirit Award-nominated film to find a broader audience.  Spirit Award-nominated films in need of expanding their marketing and distribution efforts will be considered.  The award includes a $50,000 marketing and distribution grant, funded by Jameson Irish Whiskey.  The grant was designed to meet independent filmmakers’ biggest challenge today: How to get their films out into the marketplace.  A blue-ribbon committee will determine the winner.

2011 SPIRIT AWARD NOMINATIONS BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer, Executive Producers are not listed)

127 Hours Producers: Danny Boyle, Christian Colson, John Smithson
Black Swan Producers: Scott Franklin, Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Brian Oliver
Greenberg Producers: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Scott Rudin
The Kids Are All Right Producers: Gary Gilbert, Philippe Hellmann, Jordan Horowitz, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray, Daniela Taplin Lundberg
Winter’s Bone Producers: Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Anne Rosellini


Darren Aronofsky Black Swan
Danny Boyle 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko The Kids Are All Right
Debra Granik Winter’s Bone
John Cameron Mitchell Rabbit Hole




Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko The Kids Are All Right
Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini Winter’s Bone
Nicole Holofcener Please Give
David Lindsay-Abaire Rabbit Hole
Todd Solondz Life During Wartime

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

Everything Strange and New Director: Frazer BradshawProducers: A.D. Liano, Laura Techera Francia
Get Low Director: Aaron Schneider
Producers: David Gundlach, Dean Zanuck
Night Catches Us Director: Tanya Hamilton
Producers: Sean Costello, Jason Orans, Ronald Simons
The Last Exorcism Director: Daniel Stamm
Producers: Marc Abraham, Tom Bliss, Eric Newman, Eli Roth
Tiny Furniture Director: Lena Dunham
Producers: Kyle Martin, Alicia Van Couvering


Diane Bell Obselidia
Lena Dunham Tiny Furniture
Nik Fackler Lovely, Still
Bob Glaudini Jack Goes Boating
Dana Adam Shapiro, Evan M. Wiener Monogamy

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

Daddy Longlegs Writer/Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh SafdieProducers: Casey Neistat, Tom Scott
Lbs. Director: Matthew BonifacioWriter/Producers: Matthew Bonifacio, Carmine Famiglietti
Lovers of Hate Writer/Director: Bryan PoyserProducer: Megan Gilbride
Obselidia Writer/Director: Diane BellProducers: Chris Byrne, Mathew Medlin
The Exploding Girl Writer/Director: Bradley Rust GrayProducers: Karin Chien, Ben Howe, So Yong Kim



Annette Bening The Kids Are All Right
Greta Gerwig Greenberg
Nicole Kidman Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman Black Swan
Michelle Williams Blue Valentine




Ronald Bronstein Daddy Longlegs
Aaron Eckhart Rabbit Hole
James Franco 127 Hours
John C. Reilly Cyrus
Ben Stiller Greenberg


Ashley Bell The Last Exorcism
Dale Dickey Winter’s Bone
Allison Janney Life During Wartime
Daphne Rubin-Vega Jack Goes Boating
Naomi Watts Mother and Child


John Hawkes Winter’s Bone
Samuel L. Jackson Mother and Child
Bill Murray Get Low
John Ortiz Jack Goes Boating
Mark Ruffalo The Kids Are All Right


Adam Kimmel Never Let Me Go
Matthew Libatique Black Swan
Jody Lee Lipes Tiny Furniture
Michael McDonough Winter’s Bone
Harris Savides Greenberg

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director)

Exit Through the Gift Shop Director: Banksy
Marwencol Director: Jeff Malmberg
Restrepo Directors: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger
Sweetgrass Directors: Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Thunder Soul Director: Mark Landsman


BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the director)

Director: Lance Daly
Mademoiselle Chambon
Director: Stéphane Brizé
Of Gods and Men
Director: Xavier Beauvois
The King’s Speech (United Kingdom) Director: Tom Hooper
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 17th annual Acura 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 funded by Acura.

Hossein Keshavarz Dog Sweat
Laurel Nakadate The Wolf Knife
Mike Ott Littlerock


PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 14th 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.

In-Ah Lee Au Revoir Taipei
Adele Romanski The Myth of the American Sleepover
Anish Savjani Meek’s Cutoff


AVEENO® TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 16th annual AVEENO® 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 funded by AVEENO®.

Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor Sweetgrass
Jeff Malmberg Marwencol
Lynn True, Nelson Walker Summer Pasture


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

Please Give Director: Nicole Holofcener
  Casting Director: Jeanne McCarthy
  Ensemble Cast: Ann Guilbert, Rebecca Hall, Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Lois Smith, Sarah Steele


  1. I think it’s between Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, and Natalie Portman for Best Actress at the Oscars.

  2. where is the love for BURIED?

    great script from Chris Sparling.

    brilliant directing from Rodrigo Cortes.

    amazing performance from Ryan Reynolds.

  3. Two of the five best first films nominated are not first films. Tiny Furniture and The Last Exorcism. Explain that please?

  4. Ryan Gosling was robbed. He made Blue Valentine watchable. Michelle Williams was good but it was Ryan Gosling’s movie.

    1. ryan gosling is wonderfully talented and i wish his bright star would burn even brighter. he’s wicked smart, compassionate and socially conscious. the guy just needs the right part…

  5. In the Best Pic/Dir categories, a lot of good here – really dig Black Swan/Winter’s Bone/Rabbit Hole/127 Hours though I do think The Kids Are Alright is severely overrated. Haven’t seen Greenberg yet. Actress is strong this year – Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lawrence and Michelle Williams all do brilliant work that could have won the Oscar in another year imo.

  6. I liked the film, but I also don’t understand why TINY FURNITURE was nominated for Best First Feature when this is not her first feature?

    Since it is so hard to get first features made, which gives this award so much meaning, I think they should at least explain this to be fair.

  7. Couldn’t agree more about BURIED. Amazing screenplay by Sparling, great acting by Reynolds, outstanding direction by Cortes. Oh yeah, and the whole movie takes place in a box. I’m yet to see ANY film top that this year.

  8. “Thunder Soul”, directed by Mark Landsman, was one of the most inspiring and
    outstanding documentary films I have ever seen. It is a well deserved nomination.

  9. A fairly lackluster list. “I Am Love” not on the list anywhere in any category? It’s the best film of the year. Even the foreign films and docs aren’t very interesting choices. This is depressing.

  10. Saw Winter’s Bone 3 weeks ago and could barely sit through it. Nicely shot and well acted but no engaging plot.

    You couldn’t pay me to sit through the over the top camp fest that was Black Swan.

    And people wonder why no one watches the Oscars anymore?

    I did very much enjoy Rabbit Hole, Get Low, and The Kids Are All Right. Would love to see Bening or Moore finally get the Oscar but Hollywood’s hip cool culture which always favors the younger females (just look at the posts above) will DQ them.

  11. For the most part the nominations are wonderful, but…

    HOW DO YOU NOMINATE MICHELLE WILLIAMS AND NOT RYAN GOSLING? I’m sorry, but’s so wrong. It’s also odd that Bill Murray gets in but ROBERT DUVALL was passed over.

    Thrilled to see Natalie Portman and Black Swan nominated and James Franco and 127 Hours as well.

  12. This is such crap. Danny Boyle? Darren Aronovsky? Ben Stiller? These are industry titans with studio sized budgets made by “indy” divisions at major studios. Why not make this an opportunity to showcase TRUE indy films. So sad…. They are great directors and incredible talents, but to put them in the same camp as WINTER’S BONE and so many other terrific indy films is total crap. Boo Spirit Awards.

  13. How in the world did Greenberg make the cut for best feature and Blue Valentine didn’t? Am I missing something here? Greenberg was mediocre at best and even though it was a serious turn for Ben Stiller, he wasn’t very convincing. Ryan Gosling DEFINATELY should have been nominated in the best male lead category. And I also agree with the above sentiments for Buried, it definately should have gotten some love here.

  14. Lovely, Still was the surprise film of the year for me. You don’t see what’s coming and it was done very skillfully. Bravo.

  15. Where is the ethnic diversity??? Big names in large budget indies!!! They are selling out to get ratings for the show. There were many deeply layered performances in truly indie films that had limited P&A budgets, and were over looked. Smaller lower budgeted films that showcase talent, not star power, are the essence of indie film making. Making interesting films with limited resources, that is the key! Give the “little guy” a shot! Jeez!

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