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Best Male Lead
After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father (Bruce Dern) thinks he’s struck it rich, and wrangles his son (Will Forte) into taking a road trip to claim the fortune. Shot in black and white across four states, Nebraska tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America.
FILM 12 Years a Slave
12 Years A Slave is based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life.
FILM Dallas Buyers Club
An imperfect man fights for survival during an uncertain time in America. Inspired by true events, Ron Woodroof’s story of strength is told in Dallas Buyers Club, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée from an original screenplay by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack. Spirit Award winner Matthew McConaughey portrays the real-life character, whose self-interest is galvanized into something much more.
A son of Texas, Ron Woodroof is an electrician and rodeo cowboy. In 1985, he is well into an unexamined existence with a devil-may-care lifestyle. Suddenly, Ron is blindsided by being diagnosed as H.I.V.-positive and given 30 days to live. Yet he will not, and does not, accept a death sentence.
His crash course of research reveals a lack of approved treatments and medications in the U.S., so Ron crosses the border into Mexico. There, he learns about alternative treatments and begins smuggling them into the U.S., challenging the medical and scientific community including his concerned physician, Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner). An outsider to the gay community, Ron finds an unlikely ally in fellow AIDS patient Rayon (Jared Leto), a transsexual who shares Ron’s lust for life. Rayon also shares Ron’s entrepreneurial spirit: seeking to avoid government sanctions against selling non-approved medicines and supplements, they establish a “buyers club,” where H.I.V.-positive people pay monthly dues for access to the newly acquired supplies. Deep in the heart of Texas, Ron’s pioneering underground collective beats loud and strong. With a growing community of friends and clients, Ron fights for dignity, education, and acceptance. In the years following his diagnosis, the embattled Lone Star loner lives life to the fullest like never before.
Michael B. Jordan
FILM Fruitvale Station
Fruitvale Station follows the true story of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 22- year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being a better son to his mother (Octavia Spencer), whose birthday falls on New Year’s Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz), who he hasn’t been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to Tatiana (Ariana Neal), their beautiful four year-old daughter. Crossing paths with friends, family, and strangers, Oscar starts out well, but as the day goes on, he realizes that change is not going to come easily. His resolve takes a tragic turn, however, when BART officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year’s Day. Oscar’s life and tragic death would shake the Bay Area – and the entire nation – to its very core.
FILM Inside Llewyn Davis
Inside Llewyn Davis follows a week in the life of a young folk singer at a crossroads, struggling to make it in the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac)—guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter—is beset by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, some of them of his own making. Living at the mercy of both friends and strangers, scaring up what work he can find, Llewyn journeys from the baskethouses of the Village to an empty Chicago club—on a misbegotten odyssey to audition for a music mogul—and back again.
FILM All Is Lost
All Is Lost, an open-water thriller about one man’s battle for survival against the elements after his sailboat is destroyed at sea.
Deep into a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, an unnamed man (Redford) wakes to find his 39-foot yacht taking on water after a collision with a shipping container left floating on the high seas. With his navigation equipment and radio disabled, the man sails unknowingly into the path of a violent storm. Despite his success in patching the breached hull, his mariner’s intuition, and a strength that belies his age, the man barely survives the tempest.
Using only a sextant and nautical maps to chart his progress, he is forced to rely on ocean currents to carry him into a shipping lane in hopes of hailing a passing vessel. But with the sun unrelenting, sharks circling and his meager supplies dwindling, the ever-resourceful sailor soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face.
Watch Fred and Kristen Bell host the Spirit Awards LIVE tonight 5p ET, followed by an encore at 10p.
The 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards air LIVE on Sat, Feb 21 5p ET/2p PT
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