The Spirit Awards nominations were announced this morning.  The press had Anthony Mackie and Kate Beckinsale reading the list, while us mere mortals waited breathlessly for the official twitter feed to update.  Seems like a tossup to me.  In any case, the Spirit Award nominations are officially the start of Oscar season!  Yay!  It was so kind of them for wait until I bought a new laptop.

As a reminder/disclosure, the Grouches vote for the Spirit Awards.  So if anyone representing some of the harder to see films (especially for us out in DC) wants to send us a screener, we won’t complain!

You can find the nominees here.  As the tweets started rolling out, I sent a confused message to John: The Artist was eligible?  A point you’ll also find made in this quite excellent take on the biggest surprises of the nominations.  Frankly, it is pretty silly that no one quite knows which films are and aren’t eligible for the Spirit Awards.  If the Oscars can make such a list available, you can too, Spirit Awards.

The Grouches were surprised at how mainstream, relatively speaking, the nominations seemed to be.  Naturally, there were the out of left picks picks that have become the signature of the Spirit Awards – I doubt pretty much anyone had heard of Think of Me, I’m a fervent Lauren Ambrose supporter and I hadn’t heard of it.  But a significant majority of the noms are at least in the Oscar conversation.

There’s also a lot of overlap between categories, there aren’t very many films with a single nomination.  Even three out of the five nominees in the John Cassevetes category (films made for under $500,000) received a nomination elsewhere.  I’m not sure what to make of that.  Maybe the committee got it right.  But it seems unimaginative at best and lazy at worst.

The article I linked above hit the major snubs: Clooney, Close, Like Crazy, Midnight in Paris for most categories.  There are always going to be snubs, this batch seems relatively tame.

But enough negatives!  Oscar season has kicked off with an intriguing bunch of movies.  They may not all turn out to be winners, (cough, Cedar Rapids) but it is going to be a lot of fun exploring them.

And in case you are wondering, I’m actively ignoring the New York critics awards that were also announced this morning.  New York bias aside, their refusal to wait until all 2011 likely eligible films had, you know, BEEN COMPLETED was absurd.  I realize this whole process is ridiculous, but to me, if you are naming best in class without having at least the chance to see the whole class, you’ve completely abandoned any pretense that you are interested in the movies.