2014 Independent Spirit Award Nominations Led by '12 Years a Slave' with 7 Noms

2014-spirit-awards-nominationsThe 2014 Independent Spirit Award nominations were announced this morning and it was a big day for 12 Years a Slave leading the way with seven nominations followed by Alexander Payne's Nebraska with six and All is Lost with four. Those three films were joined by Fruitvale Station and Frances Ha in the Best Feature category as I felt the nominations were nicely spread around with very worthy titles getting attention.

I didn't notice too many surprises and Short Term 12 certainly had a nice showing with three nominations including noms for both Brie Larson and Keith Stanfield. I love seeing the nomination for Melonie Diaz for Fruitvale Station as it seems Octavia Spencer is going to get most of the Oscar attention for that film despite the fact Diaz is the more deserving of the two.

I guess if you did want to say there was a surprise I would probably go with the nomination for Will Forte (Nebraska) as I'm not sure there is all that much that's "award worthy" about his performance, but then again, I wasn't the biggest fan of the film so I may not be the best person to comment.

The 2014 Spirit Awards will be hosted by Patton Oswalt and held on Saturday, March 1 in Santa Monica. The full list of nominees is directly below.


  • 12 Years a Slave
  • All is Lost
  • Frances Ha
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Nebraska


  • Shane Carruth (Upstream Color)
  • J.C. Chandor (All is Lost)
  • Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
  • Jeff Nichols (Mud)
  • Alexander Payne (Nebraska)


  • Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine)
  • Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater (Before Midnight)
  • Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said)
  • Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (The Spectacular Now)
  • John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)


  • Blue Caprice
  • Concussion
  • Fruitvale Station
  • Una Noche
  • Wadjda


  • Lake Bell (In a World...)
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon)
  • Bob Nelson (Nebraska)
  • Jill Soloway (Afternoon Delight)
  • Michael Starrbury (The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete)


Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the Writer, Director, and producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.

  • Computer Chess - writer / director Andrew Bujalski
  • Crystal Fairy - writer / director Sebastian Silva
  • Museum Hours - writer / director Jem Cohen
  • Pit Stop - writer / director Yen Tan
  • This is Martin Bonner - writer / director Chad Hartigan


  • Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
  • Julie Delpy (Before Midnight)
  • Gaby Hoffmann (Crystal Fairy)
  • Brie Larson (Short Term 12)
  • Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now)


  • Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
  • Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis)
  • Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station)
  • Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Robert Redfor (All is Lost)


  • Shane Carruth & David Lowery (Upstream Color)
  • Jem Cohen & Marc Vives (Museum Hours)
  • Jennifer Lame (Frances Ha)
  • Cindy Lee (Una Noche)
  • Nat Sanders (Short Term 12)


  • Melonie Diaz (Fruitvale Station)
  • Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
  • Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)
  • Yolonda Ross (Go For Sisters)
  • June Squibb (Nebraska)


  • Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
  • Will Forte (Nebraska)
  • James Gandolfini (Enough Said)
  • Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Keith Stanfield (Short Term 12)


  • Sean Bobbitt (12 Years a Slave)
  • Benoit Debie (Spring Breakers)
  • Bruno Delbonnel (Inside Llewyn Davis)
  • Frank G. Demarco (All is Lost)
  • Matthias Grunsky (Computer Chess)


  • 20 Feet from Stardom
  • After Tiller
  • Gideon's Army
  • The Act of Killing
  • The Square


  • A Touch of Sin
  • Blue is the Warmest Color
  • Gloria
  • The Great Beauty
  • The Hunt


The 17th annual Piaget Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.

  • Toby Halbrooks & James M. Johnston, Jacob Jaffke, Andrea Roa, Frederick Thornton


The 20th annual Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.

  • Aaron Douglas Johnston (My Sister's Quinceañera)
  • Shaka King (Newlyweeds)
  • Madeline Olnek (The Foxy Merkins)


The 19th annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging Director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.

  • Kalyanee Mam (A River Changes Course)
  • Jason Osder (Let the Fire Burn)
  • Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez (Manakamana)


Given to one film's Director, casting Director, and its ensemble cast

  • Mud - Director: Jeff Nichols
    Casting Director: Francine Maisler
    Ensemble Cast: Joe Don Baker, Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Tye Sheridan, Paul Sparks, Bonnie Sturdivant, Reese Witherspoon

  • Morpheos

    The shocker for me is that the film that bored me the most this year - Gloria- is nominated, while The Past is not. That's disappointing. But I am a bit happy that Frances Ha didn't do that well. It's the kind of film that gives independent film a bad name. Pretentious cr**.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      In what way do you consider Frances Ha pretentious?

      • Morpheos

        Start with the dialogue. Baumbach also said he wanted to give the film a pretense of it being a "first film". And think about the excuse she gives the boyfriend when asks her to move in with him. If ever there was a pretentious excuse used by a character that was it. It makes the characters unrelatable to me. And right there before even five minutes into the film the writing and direction has pushed me away instead of closer.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

          I guess I just don't understand how that makes it pretentious. I've seen several films where I found the characters unrelatable and I think that's a valid argument against a film, I just don't understand how that makes it pretentious.

          As for Baumbach's comment, every director has a goal and/or vision for his/her film, how is Baumbach's goal any more pretentious than anyone else?

          • Morpheos

            Compare Baumbach with Allen. They both write about the same class of people. But where Allen gives them insecurities and humour and mixes up Baumbach only seem to write people who put up a pretense of class instead of being classy. His characters, especially the lead characters come of as douches instead of quirky (see the line about the lease) or The Squid and the Whale. Frances Ha reminded me of the black and white film within Notting Hill. It could've been tolerable as a short. But as a full feature it's like a film that drowns one in it's unrealness.

            Gerwig delivered a better performance in Damsels In Distress than she does here.

            One final note; I've noticed that British films and American films portray class differently. With brits it's about estate, family line etc. But what they read or some name-dropping of some artist/painter, knowledge about classic musicians and their works is not the main thing that marks class. With American films it's the exactly what marks class. Baumbach puts the class of the characters he writes about at the front instead of their character. He does it well. But I've never seen a character in his films that I found relatable. Or perhaps relatable. Perhaps empathize? After the first twenty-thirty minutes I couldn't care less if a car came down the road and killed of the character and the story ended or not.

            On class I'll paraphrase Tywin Lannister: Any character who must constantly emphasize his/her class, is of no true class.

  • Mykael

    Shane Carruth & David Lowery(Upstream Color)
    Jem Cohen & Marc Vives(Museum Hours)
    -Missing in editing category.

    • Mykael

      Oops, extremely sorry. Though for a second that two names were missing at first. My bad. You've got it.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Hudsucker/ Hudsucker

    Surprised the Coens didn't get a Screenplay nomination.

  • http://www.cinemaconfessions.com/ Gautam Anand

    Overall, decent list of nominations considering there were so many great independent films this year. Especially, happy to see Shane Carruth in Best Director list. Though disappointed that Before Midnight didn't make the Best Picture shortlist. It certainly deserved to be in Top 5 more than Frances Ha or even Nebraska.

    I am also wondering whether films like Upstream Color and Short Term 12 too small for even Indie Spirits to nominate in Best Feature. It seems they went with comparatively bigger names when it came to Best Feature.

  • http://www.cinemaconfessions.com/ Gautam Anand

    Ha. Just noticed that 3 out of 4 films that were awarded A+ by Brad make it to Best Feature. If Before Midnight was nominated, all 4 would have found place in Best Feature.

    Tell us Brad, you can reveal it now that you were on nominating panel. :)

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/jleahy/ Jarrett Leahy

      If Brad was on the panel, the first film he would have definitely made sure was nominated for Best Picture would have been Before Midnight. I'm disappointed it wasn't.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

    Solid nominations, I'd say. 12 Years a Slave is probably the best film I've seen all year, All is Lost is really good, and Frances Ha is solid; but I didn't like it as much as most. I'm really excited to see Nebraska and Inside Llewyn Davis.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/beatandres/ andrés

    how much is the budget of upstream color? is not under 500,000 to be nominated for the john cassavetes award?

    Happy to see a nomination for Benoit Debie and Spring Breakers, one of the best cinematography of all year.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/beatandres/ andrés

      Where is the nomination for James Franco?..really.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ian/ Ian

    I think two of the most enigmatic potential Best Picture nomination contenders left are Nebraska and August Osage County. While these obviously aren't Academy voters, this might be an early sign of what directions those two movies are headed in. Overall this is a good list, though I would absolutely put Before Midnight in Best Feature. And it seems that Julie Delpy gets all the attention for that franchise with none for Ethan Hawke, though the Best Actor field is clearly stacked. It's a shame foreign movies can't generally be included though I think there are some loopholes.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

      At least Hawke and Delpy are equally important to Before Midnight. To me one of the best anecdotal examples for Laremy's "men get more and bigger roles" thing was that Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for Walk the Line and Joaquin Phoenix didn't.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Art/ Art

    Glad to see the love for Mud, one of my favorite films of the year thus far. It's a long shot but hope Nichols keeps getting recognized by some of the other award ceremonies. This gets me more excited for 12 Years a Slave and Inside Llewyn Davis.

    -Mud for receiving the Robert Altman Award (I enjoyed 8.1/10)

    -Frances Ha getting a nomination for Best Feature nomination. (I enjoyed 7.9/10)

    -No screenplay nomination for the Coens
    -No feature nomination for Before Midnight
    -No nomination for Julia Louis-Dreyfus

    -No nomination Gretta Gerwig
    Curious to see how it will affect their Oscar and Golden Globe chances

  • childerolandusa

    The Past getting passed over is absurd.

  • http://letterboxd.com/ragingtaxidrver/ RagingTaxiDriver

    Disappointed Mud didn't get a Feature nom

  • andyluvsfilms

    I shall keep my fingers crossed for The Hunt and Upstream Color, as for the docs, i haven't heard of Gideon's Army so i shall have to check it out, this for me is the best thing about the awards season, undiscovered gems can come to light.

  • Brett McNeill

    I don't know of it's too mainstream or not but I'm disappointed The Way Way Back didn't show up here. Especially Sam Rockwell for his performance :( I hope he's not shunned everywhere

  • http://hauntedbyhumans.wordpress.com J.R.Meehl

    Glad to see Carruth in here. Loved Upstream Color. He won't win, but good to see him nominated.