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Todd Haynes's Carol leads Independent Spirit nominations


Story by Jack Foley

TODD Haynes’ period drama Carol leads the nominations for the 31st Independent Spirit Awards, which were prematurely announced on Tuesday.

The lesbian drama nabbed six nominations, including best picture and director. Its two stars, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, also scored nominations for best female lead.

Two films received five nominations: Netflix’s first feature film, Beasts of No Nation, and Tom McCarthy’s acclaimed journalistic thriller Spotlight. Both of those films shared nods for best picture and director, while Ghanaian actor Abraham Attah, who makes his film debut in Beasts of No Nation, was shortlisted in the best actor category.

The awards, which celebrate the best in American independent film, also gave four nominations to iPhone movie Tangerine, including best picture and director (for Sean Baker). The micro-budgete film follows two transgender prostitutes in Los Angeles as they try to get by on Christmas Eve. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, where it made headlines for the way in which it was made.

Its two transgender actors – Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor – were also recognised in the acting categories.

Another film to receive four nominations was Charlie Kaufman’s stop-motion wonder Anomalisa, which was shortlisted for picture, director and supporting actress for Jennifer Jason Leigh’s voice work.

The nominations, which were prematurely announced before the news conference to unveil them, are frequently seen as a useful indicator of which films may feature prominently in the annual Oscar race.

However, there were some notable snubs, including Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, which failed to land nominations for picture or director, despite attracting three nominations (including one for star, Brie Larson), as well as Brooklyn and The Danish Girl, which were expected to feature prominently in the international feature category.

The 31st Spirit Awards will be presented the day before the Oscars on February 27, 2016.

The nominations at a glance

Best feature
Beasts of No Nation

Best director
Sean Baker, Tangerine
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
Todd Haynes, Carol
Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, Anomalisa
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
David Robert Mitchell, It Follows

Best screenplay
Charlie Kaufman, Anomalisa
Donald Margulies, The End of the Tour
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight
S Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk

Best first feature
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
James White
Manos Sucias
Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Best first screenplay
Jesse Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Joseph Carpignano, Mediterranea
Emma Donoghue, Room
Marielle Heller, The Diary of a Teenage Girl
John Magary, Russell Harbaugh, Myna Joseph, The Mend

Best male lead
Christopher Abbott, James White
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind
Jason Segel, The End of the Tour
Koudous Seihon, Mediterranea

Best female lead
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Rooney Mara, Carol
Bel Powley, The Diary of A Teenage Girl

Best supporting male
Kevin Corrigan, Results
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Richard Jenkins, Bone Tomahawk
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes

Best supporting female
Robin Bartlett, H.
Marin Ireland, Glass Chin
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anomalisa
Cynthia Nixon, James White
Mya Taylor, Tangerine

Best documentary
Best of Enemies
Heart of Dog
The Look of Silence
The Russian Woodpecker

Best international film
Embrace the Serpent
Son of Saul

Best cinematography
Beasts of No Nation
It Follows
Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Best editing
Beasts of No Nation
Heaven Knows What
It Follows

John Cassavetes award (best feature under $500,000)
Christmas, Again
Heaven Knows What
Out of My Hand

Robert Altman award (best ensemble)

Someone to watch award
Chloe Zhoa
Felix Thompson
Robert Machoian & Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck