Two independent film awards announce winners and nominees

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The Independent Culture

Tuesday, the 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards announced the nominations for its upcoming awards show in Los Angeles, and on Sunday in New York, the 19th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards were presented to winners.

The tradition of the Spirit Awards, an alternative to the blockbuster glamour of the Oscars, will be presented two days prior to the Academy Awards on Friday, March 5, 2010. The Spirit Award nominations for 2009 were announced by Matt Dillon ( Crash) and Taraji P. Henson ( The Curious Case of Benjamin Button):

Best Feature Film
(500) Days of Summer (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel)
Amreeka (Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem)
Precious (Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique)
Sin Nombre (Marco Antonio Aguirre, Leonardo Alonso)
The Last Station (Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer)

Best Director
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen - A Serious Man
Lee Daniels - Precious
Cary Joji Fukunaga - Sin Nombre
James Gray - Two Lovers
Michael Hoffman - The Last Station

Best Screenplay
Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman - The Messenger
Michael Hoffman - The Last Station
Lee Toland Krieger - The Vicious Kind
Greg Mottola - Adventureland
Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber - (500) Days Of Summer

Best First Feature
A Single Man - Director: Tom Ford
Crazy Heart - Director: Scott Cooper
Easier With Practice - Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Paranormal Activity - Director: Oren Peli
The Messenger - Director: Oren Moverman

Best Female Lead
Maria Bello - Downloading Nancy
Nisreen Faour - Amreeka
Helen Mirren - The Last Station
Gwyneth Paltrow - Two Lovers
Gabourey Sidibe - Precious

Best Male Lead
Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
Colin Firth - A Single Man
Joseph Gordon-Levitt - (500) Days Of Summer
Souleymane Sy Savane - Goodbye Solo
Adam Scott - The Vicious Kind

Best Documentary
Anvil! The Story of Anvil - Director: Sacha Gervasi
Food, Inc. - Director: Robert Kenner
More Than A Game - Director: Kristopher Belman
October Country - Directors: Donal Mosher, Michael Palmieri
Which Way Home - Director: Rebecca Cammisa

Best Foreign Film
A Prophet - Director: Jacques Audiard (France)
An Education - Director: Lone Scherfig (UK/France)
Everlasting Moments - Director: Jan Troell (Sweden)
Mother - Director: Bong Joon-Ho (South Korea)
The Maid - Director: Sebastian Silva (Chile)

Selected from 240 submissions the films with the most nominations included, The Last Station (5), Precious (5), The Messenger (4).

Also, A Serious Man directed by Ethan and Joel Coen was selected for the Robert Altman Award, given to the film's director(s), casting director and ensemble cast.

This year's winners will be unveiled during a celebration at LA Live's outdoor plaza venue in downtown Los Angeles. The ceremony will be telecast live on cable television's IFC (Independent Film Channel).

On Sunday, November 30, the winners at the Gotham Independent Awards in New York City included The Hurt Locker, Sin Nombre and Precious.

Though there appears to be a rivalry between the two independent film award events, since splitting from the same organization in 2006, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker was not submitted or eligible for the Spirit Awards, which may account for its absence.

Often these nominees and winners signal favorite contenders at the Golden Globes and Oscars, such as last year's The Wrestler. The Golden Globes nominations will be announced on December 17, 2009 and the Academy Awards nominations unveiled on February 2, 2010.