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The Film Independent Spirit Awards

The Film Independent Spirit Awards, also referred to as the "indie Oscars" has announced its nomination list today, giving added fuel to the awards season. Top nominees include FROZEN RIVER (Courtney Hunt), BALLAST (Lance Hammer) and RACHEL GETTING MARRIED (Jonathan Demme). Other films competing for the Best Feature Award include THE WRESTLER (Darren Aronofsky) and WENDY AND LUCY (Kelly Reichardt).

FROZEN RIVER, which won the top prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, boasted six nominations: three for cast members Melissa Leo, Misty Upham and Charlie McDermott and two for writer/director Courtney Hunt. The film's producer Heather Rae was also nominated for the Piaget Producer's Award, along with fellow nominees Jason Orans ("Year of the Fish," "Goodbye Solo") and Lars Knudsen and Jay Von Hoy ("Treeless Mountain," "I'll Come Running").

RACHEL GETTING MARRIED also received six nominations, including acting nods for "stars Anne Hathaway, Debra Winger and Rosemarie deWitt. BALLAST received nominations for the actors Tarra Riggs and JimMyron Ross. Both films also received nominations for Best Director and Best First Screenplay. Other multiple nominees included MILK (Gus Van Sant), THE VISITOR (Tom McCarthy) and VICKI CRISTINA BARCELONA (Woody Allen).

2008 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD NOMINATIONS

BEST FEATURE
Rachel Getting Married (Neda Armian, Jonathan Demme, Marc Platt)
The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin)
Wendy and Lucy (Larry Fessenden, Neil Kopp, Anish Savjani)
Ballast (Lance Hammer, Nina Parikh)
Frozen River (Chip Hourihan, Heather Rae)

BEST DIRECTOR
Tom McCarthy, The Visitor
Jonathan Demme, Rachel Getting Married
Courtney Hunt, Frozen River
Ramin Bahrani, Chop Shop
Lance Hammer, Ballast

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Afterschool (Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin, Josh Mond)
Medicine for Melancholy (Barry Jenkins, Justin Barber)
Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, Anthony Bregman, Spike Jonze, Sidney Kimmel)
Sleep Dealer (Alex Rivera, Anthony Bregman)
Sangre De Mi Sangre (Christopher Zalla, Per Melita, Benjamin Odell)

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000; award given to the writer, director, and producer)
Prince of Broadway (Sean Baker, Darren Dean)
Take Out (Sean Baker, Shih-Ching Tsou)
The Signal (David Bruckner, Dan Bush, Jacob Gentry, Alexander Motlagh)
Turn the River (Chris Eigeman, Ami Armstrong)
In Search of a Midnight Kiss (Alex Holdridge, Seth Caplan, Scoot McNairy)

BEST SCREENPLAY
Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, Sugar
Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche, New York
Howard A. Rodman, Savage Grace
Christopher Zalla, Sangre De Mi Sangre

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Lance Hammer, Ballast
Courtney Hunt, Frozen River
Jonathan Levine, The Wackness
Jenny Lumet, Rachel Getting Married

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Summer Bishil, Towelhead
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Tarra Riggs, Ballast
Michelle Williams, Wendy and Lucy

BEST MALE LEAD
Javier Bardem, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Sean Penn, Milk
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
Rosie Perez, The Take
Misty Upham, Frozen River
Debra Winger, Rachel Getting Married

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
James Franco, Milk
Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker
Charlie McDermott, Frozen River
JimMyron Ross, Ballast
Haaz Sleiman, The Visitor

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Maryse Alberti, The Wrestler
Lol Crawley, Ballast
James Laxton, Medicine for Melancholy
Harris Savides, Milk
Michael Simmonds, Chop Shop

BEST DOCUMENTARY
The Order of Myths (Margaret Brown)
Up the Yangtze (Yung Chang)
Encounters at the End of the World (Werner Herzog)
The Betrayal (Ellen Kuras & Thavisouk Phrasavath)
Man on Wire (James Marsh)

BEST FOREIGN FILM
The Class (Laurent Cantet)
Gomorra (Matteo Garrone)
Secret of the Grain (Abdellatif Kechiche)
Hunger (Steve McQueen)
Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas)

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
Heather Rae (Frozen River)
Jason Orans (Goodbye Solo, Year of the Fish)
Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy (Treeless Mountain, I'll Come Running)

ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Lynn Shelton (My Effortless Brilliance)
Nina Paley (Sita Sings the Blues)
Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy)

LACOSTE TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Darius Marder (Loot)
Sacha Gervasi (Anvil! The Story of Anvil)
Margaret Brown (The Order of Myths)

The Film Independent Spirit Awards will be given out on Saturday, February 21 in Santa Monica, one day before the Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.



Sandy Mandelberger, Awards Watch Editor

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