12 Years a Slave and Nebraska lead Spirit nods

America’s Film Independent organisation likes to keep the industry guessing – it’s one of the first of Awards Season to announce its nominations and one of the last to hold its ceremony; the annual Spirit Awards won’t be handed out until 1st March, just one day before the Oscars brings the upcoming Awards Season to a close.

And the film with the most Spirit nominations more than a quarter of a year away, is the latest highly acclaimed work by the British director Steve McQueen, whose previously impressed and shocked fans and critics alike with Hunger and Shame.

12 Years a Slave, starring his regular collaborator Michael Fassbender and the acclaimed British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor will be up for seven awards, including Best Feature, Best Director, Best Male Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female and Best Screenplay.

Just one nomination behind it is Alexander Payne’s latest, Nebraska, with six, including ones for the director himself and the lead actor Bruce Dern, who took the corresponding award at Cannes.

Another Cannes favourite, JC Chandor’s maritime thriller All Is Lost, has four nods, including one for the director, whose previous film Margin Call was also a hit at the Spirits. This film’s star Robert Redford’s single-handed performance sees the founder of one of independent film’s biggest supporters, Sundance, up for recognition by its West Coast cousin.

Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine is up for three awards, including Cate Blanchett as the Best Female Lead and Britain’s Sally Hawkins in a supporting role.

The Coen Brother’s low key folk music comedy Inside Llewyn Davis is also up for awards in three categories, as are the lower profile films Fruitvale Station and Short Term 12.

As well as a number of categories honouring film-makers early on in their careers, this year the Spirits are branching out with a new below-the-line category, adding Best Editing to Best Cinematography.

And another awards anomaly sees one of UK Screen’s best films of 2012, The Hunt, up for this year’s Best Foreign Film at the Spirits.

The full list of nominations for the 29th Film Independent Spirit Awards:


12 Years a Slave

All Is Lost

Frances Ha

Inside Llewyn Davis



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 & Richard Linklater – Before Midnight

Nicole Holofcener – Enough Said

Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber РThe Spectacular Now

John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave


Blue Caprice


Fruitvale Station

Una Noche



Lake Bell – In A World

Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Don Jon

Bob Nelson – Nebraska

Jill Soloway – Afternoon Delight

Michael Starrbury – The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)

Computer Chess

Crystal Fairy

Museum Hours

Pit Stop

This is Martin Bonner


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 Redford – All Is Lost


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


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


20 Feet From Stardom

After Tiller

Gideon’s Army

The Act of Killing

The Square


A Touch of Sin (China)

Blue is the Warmest Colour (France)

Gloria (Chile)

The Great Beauty (Italy)

The Hunt (Denmark)

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD¬†(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