10 items from 2017
The Independent Spirit Awards may not garner the same attention as the Oscars, but they offer a much broader survey of the previous year in film. There are some overlaps in major categories — the lauded trifecta of “Moonlight,” “La La Land” and “Manchester By the Sea” remains in place. However, there are also a number of other 2016 highlights, from “American Honey” to “Swiss Army Man,” that won’t make it to the Academy Awards. That gives us one last chance to cast a wider net. Per tradition, we reached out to our community of critics and journalists from publications around the country to ask them two questions for every category: Who will on Saturday — and who should?
Read More: 2017 Independent Spirit Awards Nominations
Among the 119 respondents, the majority felt pretty strongly that “Moonlight” deserved to win best feature, and confident that it would. The majority also supported the possibility of »
- Eric Kohn
In its earliest days, the Film Independent Spirit Awards’ choices appeared to emanate from a parallel universe to those of the Academy Awards. In its first decade, the fledgling organization’s best picture winner lined up with the Oscars only once, but the distinction went even further that that: Aside from both awards bodies naming “Platoon” best picture in 1986, there was not a single overlap between the Academy and the Indie Spirits’ nominees for the latter’s first nine editions.
Needless to say, things have changed. The American indie film movement managed to break its way into the august halls of the Academy in the 1990s, gradually took over, and the Spirit Awards have never seemed quite so radical since then. For the past three years in a row, the Spirits and the Oscars have lined up in the best pic category, and only three times in the current millennium »
- Andrew Barker
One week a month, Watch This offers movie recommendations inspired by new releases or premieres. This week: With the Academy Awards a few days away, we look back at some of the unlikeliest Oscar nominees, picking a different major category every day.
Woman In The Dunes (1964)
Now that the Academy nominates between five and 10 movies for Best Picture every year, there are rarely any surprises in the adjacent Best Director roster; only once this decade has a filmmaker (Bennett Miller) scored a nomination despite his film (Foxcatcher) being left out of the Picture race. But back when only five movies competed for the top prize, complete overlap between the two categories wasn’t as inevitable. In its prouder moments, the directing branch of the Academy would smuggle some real auteurs into its lineup, from American mavericks like John Cassavetes, David Lynch, and Spike Jonze to the same class ...
- A.A. Dowd
We learned early last month that Nick Kroll and John Mulaney are co-hosting the Independent Spirit Awards, and now IndieWire can exclusively announce the presenters at this Saturday’s ceremony. Nine actors will be lending their talents to the proceedings: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, Kerry Washington, Miles Teller, Samuel L. Jackson, Freida Pinto, Fred Armisen and Amanda Peet.
In addition, Gary Clark Jr. is serving as the one-man house band for the ceremony, the Spirit Awards’ 32nd. The awards will be broadcast live on IFC at 5 p.m. Est this Saturday. Full list of nominees below.
- Michael Nordine
I had such a great experience on Red White & Blue for so many different reasons that it was only natural that, at some point, I’d return to Austin. With Tim League (exec producer), Paul Knauss (co-producer) and Karen Hallford (casting director) I’ve got a great bunch of friends who also happen to be great collaborators and they form the core of both films’ Austin based crew and most probably without them neither films would have happened. Beyond that, I love the unique style of Austin, the food, the music, »
- Phil Wheat
The awards season gives the industry a chance not only to celebrate the best in cinematic achievement over the past year, but also to highlight some of the smaller gems that people might’ve missed. And the Indie Spirit Awards go the extra mile with their annual John Cassavetes Award, which goes to the best film made for under $500,000. The movies might not have big money behind them, but they’re no less worth seeking out, and one nominee you can catch up with right now is “Hunter Gatherer.”
Read More: The 25 Best Films Of 2016
Directed by Josh Locy, and starring Andre Royo, George Sample III, Kellee Stewart, and Ashley Wilkerson, the story follows a man newly released from prison who finds hope in the future from an unlikely new friend.
- Kevin Jagernauth
Earlier this January, Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” won Best Picture — Drama at the 74th Golden Globes after racking up widespread critical acclaim since its world premiere at Telluride last September. The film has recently racked up eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. In honor of his new film and all the recent accolade, the Criterion Collection invited Barry Jenkins to check out the famed Criterion Closet and pick out some films to take home. Watch the video below.
Read More: National Society of Film Critics Names ‘Moonlight’ Best Picture of 2016
Jenkins picks out a host of films from the closet that have special significance for him. Some of these films include the “John Cassavetes: Five Films” box set, which Jenkins describes as “foundational”; Krzysztof Kieślowski’s ten-hour long “Dekalog,” a film Jenkins once bought on Ebay because he “felt like he had to see it”; Mathieu Kassovitz’s “La Haine, »
- Vikram Murthi
Dustin Guy Defa makes his Sundance Film Festival feature debut with “Person to Person,” and he doesn’t know what to expect. He’s had a lot of disappointments in his life, ranging from being the kind of penniless artist whose survival demands long-term couch surfing to overcoming a nightmare family of origin. (It yielded his 2011 Sundance short, “Family Nightmare.”)
However, “Person To Person” also gives real weight to the time-worn trope that values the journey over the destination. With a cast that includes names like Michael Cera and”Broad City” star Abbi Jacobson as well as indie filmmaking stalwarts like David Zellner and Benny Safdie, it reflects the success he’s had building his place in independent filmmaking and the joy he brings with it. “It comes through loud and clear in his work,” said filmmaker David Lowery, a longtime Defa fan. “It’s the reason why his movies »
- Eric Kohn
Nearly three decades after he first became interested in adapting Shusaku Endo’s novel, Martin Scorsese has finally released “Silence.” It’s far from his first overtly religious film, preceded as it is by both “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “Kundun.” In a new interview with Commonweal, the director touches on another spiritual drama he never had the chance to make in which Jesus comes to present-day New York. (via The Playlist)
“The popular representation of Jesus in the mind of the average moviegoer was coming out of Cecil B. DeMille. Pretty much all films made on religious subject matter were biblical epics. And the best one, of course, was Pasolini’s ‘Gospel According to St. Matthew,'” explains Scorsese. “My original idea was in the early ‘60s. I had realized you »
- Michael Nordine
David’s Quick Take for the tl;dr Media Consumer:
Faces holds a singular and pivotal status as one of the most significant breakthrough films of the 1960s. It played a crucial role in establishing a truly independent movement in American cinema. In depicting with unforgettable rawness the misery and repression endemic in a certain portion of the affluent middle class suburbia of its era, Faces offered an alternative, though still embryonic, creative counter-force to the Hollywood system that was in a confused, decadent situation when the film was released in 1968, following two and a half years of scrappy efforts to edit and assemble footage shot in the summer of 1965. Director John Cassavetes used money he earned as an actor to fund the project, and drew similar commitments from a wide array of friends, colleagues and connections, including those most intimately involved in the making of the film, to pursue »
- David Blakeslee
10 items from 2017
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