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The 2009 Spirit Award Nominations

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Jason Bateman and Sandra Oh braved the early call time this morning in Los Angeles to announce this year’s nominees for the Spirit Awards. The awards will take place on February 21st, and will be broadcast live and uncut on IFC at 5pm ET/2pm PT. Here are the nominees:

Best Feature

“Ballast”
Producers: Lance Hammer, Nina Parikh

“Frozen River”
Producers: Chip Hourihan, Heather Rae

“Rachel Getting Married”
Producers: Neda Armian, Jonathan Demme, Marc Platt

“Wendy and Lucy”
Producers: Larry Fessenden, Neil Kopp, Anish Savjani

“The Wrestler”
Producers: Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin

Best Director

Ramin Bahrani, “Chop Shop”

Jonathan Demme, “Rachel Getting Married”

Lance Hammer, “Ballast”

Courtney Hunt, “Frozen River”

Thomas McCarthy, “The Visitor”

Best First Feature

“Afterschool”
Director: Antonio Campos
Producers: Sean Durkin, Josh Mond

“Medicine for Melancholy”
Director: Barry Jenkins
Producer: Justin Barber

“Sangre de Mi Sangre”
Director: Christopher Zalla
Producers: Per Melita, Benjamin Odell

“Sleep Dealer”
Director: Alex Rivera
Producer: Anthony Bregman

“Synecdoche, New York”
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Producers: Anthony Bregman, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Sidney Kimmel

John Cassavetes Award (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)

“In Search of a Midnight Kiss”
Writer/Director: Alex Holdridge
Producers: Seth Caplan and Scoot McNairy

“Prince of Broadway”
Director: Sean Baker
Writers: Sean Baker, Darren Dean
Producer: Darren Dean

“The Signal”
Writer/Directors: David Bruckner, Dan Bush, Jacob Gentry
Producers: Jacob Gentry and Alexander Motiagh

“Take Out”
Writer/Directors/Producers: Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou

“Turn the River”
Writer/Director: Chris Eigeman
Producer: Ami Armstrong

Best First Screenplay

Dustin Lance Black, “Milk”

Lance Hammer, “Ballast”

Courtney Hunt, “Frozen River”

Jonathan Levine, “The Wackness”

Jenny Lumet, “Rachel Getting Married”

Best Screenplay

Woody Allen, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, “Sugar”

Charlie Kaufman, “Synecdoche, New York”

Howard A. Rodman, “Savage Grace”

Christopher Zalla, “Sangre de Mi Sangre”

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 Crowley, “Ballast”

James Laxton, “Medicine for Melancholy”

Harris Savides, “Milk”

Michael Simmonds, “Chop Shop”

Best Documentary

“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)”
Director: Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath

“Encounters at the End of the World”
Director: Werner Herzog

“Man on Wire”
Director: James Marsh

“The Order of Myths”
Director: Margaret Brown

“Up the Yangtze”
Director: Yang Chung

Best Foreign Film

“The Class” (France)
Director: Laurent Cantet

“Gomorrah” (Italy)
Director: Matteo Garrone

“Hunger” (UK/Ireland)
Director: Steve McQueen

“Secret of the Grain” (France)
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche

“Silent Light” (Mexico/France/Netherlands/Germany)
Director: Carlos Reygadas

Robert Altman Award (Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)

“Synecdoche, New York”
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Casting Director: Jeanne McCarthy
Ensemble Cast: Hope Davis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Tom Noonan, Dianne Wiest, Michelle Williams

Someone to Watch Award

Barry Jenkins, “Medicine for Melancholy”

Nina Paley, “Sita Sings the Blues”

Lynn Shelton, “My Effortless Brilliance”

Truer Than Fiction Award

Margaret Brown, “The Order of Myths”

Sacha Gervasi, “Anvil! The Story of Anvil”

Darius Marder, “Loot”

Producers Award

Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy, “Treeless Mountain” and “I’ll Come Running”

Jason Orans, “Goodbye Solo” and “Year of the Fish”

Heather Rae, “Frozen River” and “Ibid”

[Photo: Lance Hammer’s “Ballast,” Required Viewing, 2008]

For more on this year’s Independent Spirit Awards, check out the official site here.

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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