We here at Golden Grouches are a voter for the Independent Spirit Awards. That is, the four of us combine to form one member of Film Independent and we merge our brainpower to submit one ballot. We had a fun time doing it last year, seeking out smaller films and arguing about our votes.

On Tuesday the nominees will be announced and we’ll have our list of films to try to track down in the next three months. The Spirits give us a nice long time to see the films and hopefully give the nominees a box office boost.

It’s tough to know beforehand what has qualified for the Spirits. A film’s budget must come in under $20 million and be primarily American. They don’t publish a list of qualified films so we’re all left doubly guessing for tomorrow. Maybe the films we hope to see on the nomination list were too costly or too Canadian. But we’ve got a few nominees we’re hoping to see show up.

John

My major hope is a Best Actress nomination for Liana Liberato in Trust. I really liked the (David Schwimmer-directed!) film about a girl targeted by an online predator and maybe Catherine Keener and Clive Owen as her parents will garner the awards nominations as the bigger stars, but Liberato is so so good as the victimized teen. The film works because it’s not simply a weepy melodrama. Liberato’s character won’t admit she was a victim and her relationship with her dad becomes fraught. So she’s got the angsty teen thing down! Plus of course the horrible abuse.

I’m not entirely positive 50/50 qualifies, but if it does I’d like to see it get some recognition. It wasn’t as great as I was expecting – I think I sunk it with high expectations – but it’s still a very good and fairly brave film. Any of the actors would be good nominees: Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, and especially Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Jared

If it is eligible, I’d love to see Gregg Araki’s Kaboom get some love.  A divisive movie, to be sure, but it totally worked for me.  It will end up as one of my favorite films of the year, so I’d be tickled pick if it somehow got some top nominations, including a best actor for lead Thomas Dekker.

Super is a dark, twisted, brilliant ordinary guy-turned-superhero flick.  It is best watched with a friend and some good beer (Thanks, Adam!).  I’d love to see its script get a nod and I wouldn’t mind Rainn Wilson for lead and Ellen Page for supporting.  And OK, it is the fanboy in me, but if Judi Dench can get an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, then Nathan Fillion is totally deserving of a nomination for his role here.

One of the few actual contenders I’ve seen is Martha Marcy May Marlene, and I’m pretty sure it is deserving of all the noms it will receive.

I’m guessing Hesher was eligible last year, but if not, Joseph Gordon-Levitt deserves a nom both because he is awesome and because he so completely inhabits this role that’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen from him.

Best Actor is always crowded, but David Hyde Pierce in The Perfect Host is way more under than radar than he should be, in my opinion.  He’s excellent as a…well…I don’t want to spoil anything, but he is super creepy.

And I’m actually pretty down on three likely contenders: Jane Eyre, Win Win, and Take Shelter.  They are all populated with actors I really like, so I’m not necessarily opposed to acting nominations (I think the order in which I’d root fort them is: Michael Shannon, Michael Fassbender, Amy Ryan, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Paul Giamatti).  But I’ll be a little disappointed with any best picture or writing nominations.

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