The clash between the two top awards bestowed for independent films — the Indie Spirits and the Gothams — would sure make for a dishy indie movie.
The timing of the announcement of Spirit nominations this morn in Los Angeles was not coincidental. In case you didn't notice, the Gotham Awards will be bestowed tonight by the Spirit's rival awards group out on the opposite coast — in Brooklyn, New York. I will be attending tonight and bringing you live coverage, so remember to check back with this blog later for breaking news and backstage tattle.
The Gothams and Spirits used to be bestowed by the east and west coast branches of the same organization, the Independent Feature Project, but the Californians broke off from New York and three other IFP groups in 2006 and renamed their branch FIND (short for Film Independent).
Such geographic squabbling isn't unusual in ego-mad showbiz. That's how we ended up with two separate TV academies on different coasts bestowing the same Emmy Award, which they own jointly. Believe it or not, the Writers Guild of America is actually two separate groups — east and west coast — joined in name only. Each branch has a separate governing body.
Sometimes the Gothams and Spirits hail the same films, like best-picture winner "Sideways," but they usually try to go their separate ways. Perhaps that is what's behind the Spirits' strange snubs today of "Into the Wild," "Away from Her," "Lars and the Real Girl" and "Gone Baby Gone." None of those noteworthy indies got any nominations from the Spirits.
Turns out that the only one of those films eligible for Spirit recognition was "Lars." Its snub is suprising considering that star Ryan Gosling won best actor last year for "Half Nelson." "Into the Wild" and "Gone Baby Gone" weren't eligible because they cost more than $20 million to produce. "Away from Her" is a Canadian production. It wasn't submitted for Spirits consideration, but, if it had been, it would've had to compete in the foreign-film race.
The only film nominated for best picture by both the Gothams and Spirits is "I'm Not There," which romped today at the Spirits' noms.
The Spirit nominations had lots of wacky twists. The only actor nominated for "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" is the one who received the least praise from film critics: Marisa Tomei.
Instead of being nommed for "Devil," Philip Seymour Hoffman got a best-actor bid for "The Savages," which is also up for best director and screenplay but not picture. Snubbed is Hoffman's costar Laura Linney, who was nommed two years ago for "The Squid and the Whale."
Also noticeably missing from the Spirits' list of best-actress possibilities: Keri Russell, star of "Waitress," which did receive a nom in the screenplay race.
Photos: Paramount Vantage/ Weinstein