DID YOU READ

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.

Underworld

Under Your Spell

10 Otherworldly Romances That’ll Melt Your Heart

Spend Valentine's Day weekend with IFC's Underworld movie marathon.

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Photo Credit: Screen Gems/courtesy Everett Collection

Romance takes many forms, and that is especially true when you have a thirst for blood or laser beams coming out of your eyes.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a werewolf, a superhero, a clone, a time-traveler, or a vampire, love is the one thing that infects us all.  Read on to find out why Romeo and Juliet have nothing on these supernatural star-crossed lovers, and be sure to catch IFC’s Underworld movie marathon this Valentine’s Day weekend.

1. Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine, X-Men series

The X-Men franchise is rife with romance, but the steamiest “ménage à mutant” may just be the one between Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Cyclops (James Marsden), and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Their triangle is a complicated one as Jean finds herself torn between the two very different men while also trying to control her darker side, the Phoenix. This leads to Jean killing Cyclops and eventually getting stabbed through her heart by Wolverine in X-Men: The Last Stand. Yikes!  Maybe they should change the name to Ex-Men instead?


2. Willow/Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon gave audiences some great romances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer — including the central triangle of Buffy, Angel, and Spike — but it was the love between witches Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) that broke new ground for its sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a LGBT relationship.

Willow is smart and confident and isn’t even sure of her sexuality when she first meets Tara at college in a Wiccan campus group. As the two begin experimenting with spells, they realize they’re also falling for one another and become the show’s most enduring, happy couple. At least until Tara’s death in season six, a moment that still brings on the feels.


3. Selene/Michael, Underworld series

The Twilight gang pales in comparison (both literally and metaphorically) to the Lycans and Vampires of the stylish Underworld franchise. If you’re looking for an epic vampire/werewolf romance set amidst an epic vampire/werewolf war, Underworld handily delivers in the form of leather catsuited Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and shaggy blonde hunk Michael (a post-Felicity Scott Speedman). As they work together to stop the Vampire/Lycan war, they give into their passions while also kicking butt in skintight leather. Love at first bite indeed.


4. Spider-man/Mary Jane Watson, Spider-man

After rushing to the aid of beautiful girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the Amazing Spider-man is rewarded with an upside-down kiss that is still one of the most romantic moments in comic book movie history. For Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), the shy, lovable dork beneath the mask, his rain-soaked makeout session is the culmination of years of unrequited love and one very powerful spider bite. As the films progress, Peter tries pushing MJ away in an attempt to protect her from his enemies, but their web of love is just too powerful. And you know, with great power, comes great responsibility.


5. Molly/Sam, Ghost

When it comes to supernatural romance, you really can’t beat Molly and Sam from the 1990 hit film Ghost. Demi Moore goes crazy for Swayze like the rest of us, and the pair make pottery sexier than it’s ever been.

When Sam is murdered, he’s forced to communicate through con artist turned real psychic, Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg in her Academy Award-winning role) to warn Molly she is still in danger from his co-worker, Carl (a pre-Scandal Tony Goldwyn). Molly doesn’t believe Oda is telling the truth, so Sam proves it by sliding a penny up the wall and then possessing Oda so he and Molly can share one last romantic dance together (but not the dirty kind). We’d pay a penny for a dance with Patrick Swayze ANY day.


6. Cosima/Delphine, Orphan Black

It stands to reason there would be at least one complicated romance on a show about clones, and none more complicated than the one between clone Cosima (Tatiana Maslany) and Dr. Delphine Cormier (Evelyne Brochu) on BBC America’s hit drama Orphan Black.

Cosima is a PhD student focusing on evolutionary developmental biology at the University of Minnesota when she meets Delphine, a research associate from the nefarious Dyad Institute, posing as a fellow immunology student. The two fall in love, but their happiness is brief once Dyad and the other members of Clone Club get involved. Here’s hoping Cosima finds love in season four of Orphan Black. Girlfriend could use a break.


7. Aragorn/Arwen, Lord of the Rings

On a picturesque bridge in Rivendell amidst some stellar mood-lighting and dreamy Elvish language with English subtitles for us non-Middle Earthlings, Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) bind their souls to one another, pledging to love each other no matter what befalls them.

Their courtship is a matter of contention with Arwen’s father, Elrond (Hugo Weaving), who doesn’t wish to see his daughter suffer over Aragorn’s future death. The two marry after the conclusion of the War of the Ring, with Aragorn assuming his throne as King of Gondor, and Arwen forgoing her immortality to become his Queen. Is it too much to assume they asked Frodo to be their wedding ring-bearer?


8. Lafayette/Jesus, True Blood

True Blood quickly became the go-to show for supernatural sex scenes featuring future Magic Mike strippers (Joe Manganiello) and pale Nordic men with washboard abs (Hi Alexander Skarsgård!), but honestly, there was a little something for everyone, including fan favorite Bon Temps medium, Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis).

In season three, Lafayette met his mother’s nurse, Jesus, and the two began a relationship. As they spend more time together and start doing V (short for Vampire Blood), they learn Jesus is descended from a long line of witches and that Lafayette himself has magical abilities. However, supernatural love is anything but simple, and after the pair join a coven, Lafayette becomes possessed by the dead spirit of its former leader. This relationship certainly puts a whole new spin on possessive love.


9. Nymphadora Tonks/Remus Lupin, Harry Potter series

There are lots of sad characters in the Harry Potter series, but Remus Lupin ranks among the saddest. He was bitten by a werewolf as a child, his best friend was murdered and his other best friend was wrongly imprisoned in Azkaban for it, then THAT best friend was killed by a Death Eater at the Ministry of Magic as Remus looked on. So when Lupin unexpectedly found himself in love with badass Auror and Metamorphmagus Nymphadora Tonks (she prefers to be called by her surname ONLY, thank you very much), pretty much everyone, including Lupin himself, was both elated and cautiously hopeful about their romance and eventual marriage.

Sadly, the pair met a tragic ending when both were killed by Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts, leaving their son, Teddy, orphaned much like his godfather Harry Potter. Accio hankies!


10. The Doctor/Rose Tyler, Doctor Who

Speaking of wolves, Rose “Bad Wolf” Tyler (Billie Piper) captured the Doctor’s hearts from the moment he told her to “Run!” in the very first episode of the re-booted Doctor Who series. Their affection for one another grew steadily deeper during their travels in the TARDIS, whether they were stuck in 1950s London, facing down pure evil in the Satan Pit, or battling Cybermen.

But their relationship took a tragic turn during the season two finale episode, “Doomsday,” when the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose found themselves separated in parallel universes with no way of being reunited (lest two universes collapse as a result of a paradox). A sobbing Rose told a holographic transmission of the Doctor she loved him, but before he could reply, the transmission cut out, leaving our beloved Time Lord (and most of the audience) with a tear-stained face and two broken hearts all alone in the TARDIS.

Alison at the Wedding/Matt Getting Married

Alison at the Wedding/Matt Getting Married (photo)

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Podcaster, IFC News on-air host and general man about town Matt Singer is getting hitched, and in honor of his impending nuptials, this week’s podcast takes a look at significant film wedding scenes, two of our favorite wedding movie clichés, and the heated discussions that have sprung from this year’s major marital-themed picture, Jonathan Demme’s “Rachel Getting Married.”

Download: MP3, 32:26 minutes, 29.7 MB

Subscribe to the podcast: [iTunes] [XML]

The Gothams big heart “Ballast.”

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10202008_ballast.jpgLance Hammer’s self-distributed Sundance hit “Ballast” is the favorite amongst the Gotham Awards nominees, with the film’s four nominations including Best Feature, Best Ensemble Performance, Best Breakthrough Director and Best Breakthrough Actor.

The Gothams are now officially called the “Gotham Independent Film Awards,” and while their criteria for which films can be nominated are not as stringent as those of the Spirit Awards, which give a budget cap, this year’s awards have been limited to films that have received a “theatrical release through a specialty division of a studio, an independent distributor or via self-distribution” — no more “The Departed.”

The full list of nominees can be found at indieWIRE; here are the nominees for Best Feature:

Best Feature

Ballast
Lance Hammer, director; Lance Hammer, Nina Parikh, producers (Alluvial Film Company)

Frozen River
Courtney Hunt, director; Heather Rae, Chip Hourihan, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)

Synecdoche, New York
Charlie Kaufman, director; Anthony Bregman, Charlie Kaufman, Spike Jonze, Sidney Kimmel, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)

The Visitor
Tom McCarthy, director; Mary Jane Skalski, Michael London, producers (Overture Films)

The Wrestler
Darren Aronofsky, director; Scott Franklin, Darren Aronofsky, producers (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

[Photo: “Ballast,” Alluvial Film Company, 2008]

+ “Ballast” Leads Gotham Awards With Four Nominations (indieWIRE)

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