Tue. Sep 22nd, 2020

Spirit Awards Nominations Predictions: Bet on ‘Beale Street,’ ‘BlacKkKlansman,’ ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’

When John Bailey, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said the Oscars were starting to look like the Independent Spirit Awards he was right. He meant it as a dig; since 2010 five of the last eight winners of the Spirit Award for Best Feature went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. A paradigm shift to indie fare permeated the previous studio stranglehold on the industry’s top prize, especially as the Academy’s base become wider and more diverse.

This year could follow that path once again as some of the year’s top independent films such as If Beale Street Could Talk, BlacKkKlansman and Can You Ever Forgive Me?likely double dip and perform strongly with bodies voting bodies. Two other top Oscar contenders, ROMA and The Favourite, will only compete in the International Film category. A Star Is Born, another major Oscar contender, won’t show up here with its $36M budget. The rules for qualifying here, same as the Gothams, is having a budget at or under $20M. But we’ve seen some, let’s say very creative math when it comes to sneaking in (I’m looking at you, Silver Linings Playbook). Beautiful Boy from Amazon isn’t expected to show up since it has a $25M but I’ll just say I won’t be surprised if the streamer found a way to get it qualified. The Hate U Give and Green Book, another big Oscar contender, came in at $23M but again, don’t put it past the big studios to want in on one of awards seasons’ biggest and earliest set of nominations announcements.

Weirdly, Best Feature seems a little easier to predict than other categories, especially acting, which is just overflowing with possibilities, especially Lead Actress.

There’s no question that lead actresses have had one of their best years in recent memory and the sheer amount of contenders here, even when you remove ineligible Oscar contenders like Lady Gaga, Viola Davis or Olivia Colman, the list of alts and next ups is bigger than my final five predictions. It’s really that open. Not since 2006 has this category not had an eventual Best Actress Oscar nominee and only once since 2010 has the winner here not won the Oscar (Isabelle Huppert for 2016’s Elle). So making up a list of five is delicate balance of who do I think Spirit Awards voters will go for but also who are the Best Actress Oscar frontrunners that will make the biggest mark here. No matter what, there will be some terrible snubs.   

Here are my predictions for tomorrow’s Film Independent Spirit Awards and follow my Twitter as I’ll be live-tweeting the nominations from the press conference announcement at the W Hotel in Los Angeles.

FEATURE
BlacKkKlansman
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
First Reformed
If Beale Street Could Talk
Leave No Trace

ALT: Boy Erased, Madeline’s Madeline, You Were Never Really Here

DIRECTOR
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Debra Granik, Leave No Trace
Josephine Decker, Madeline’s Madeline

ALT: Paul Schrader, First Reformed; Lynne Ramsay, You Were Never Really Here

LEAD ACTOR
Ben Foster, Leave No Trace
Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased
Stephan James, If Beale Street Could Talk
John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

ALT: John Cho, Searching; Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate; Lucas Hedges, Ben is Back; Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here; Charlie Plummer, Lean on Pete; Robert Redford, The Old Man & the Gun; Lakeith Stanfield, Sorry To Bother You

LEAD ACTRESS
Glenn Close, The Wife
Toni Collette, Hereditary
Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade
Regina Hall, Support the Girls
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

ALT: Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Kindergarten Teacher; Kathryn Hahn, Private Life; Helena Howard, Madeline’s Madeline; Nicole Kidman, Destroyer; Kiki Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk; Carey Mulligan, Wildlife; Rosamund Pike, A Private War; Julia Roberts, Ben is Back; Charlize Theron, Tully

SUPPORTING MALE
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Josh Hamilton, Eighth Grade
Brian Tyree Henry, If Beale Street Could Talk
Alex Wolff, Hereditary

ALT: Robert Forster, What They Had; Paul Giamatti, Private Life; Jonah Hill, He Won’t Get Far on Foot; Jonathan Pryce, The Wife

SUPPORTING FEMALE
Kayli Carter, Private Life
Ann Dowd, Hereditary
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace
Natalie Portman, Vox Lux

ALT: Miranda July, Madeline’s Madeline; Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased; Haley Lu Richardson, Support the Girls; Rachel McAdams, Disobedience; Sissy Spacek, The Old Man & the Gun

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
Sorry to Bother You

SCREENPLAY
BlacKkKlansman
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
First Reformed
If Beale Street Could Talk
Private Life

ALT:, Leave No Trace, Support the Girls, Tully

FIRST FEATURE
Eighth Grade
Hereditary
Sorry To Bother You
Thoroughbreds
Wildlife

ALT: Mid90s, Blindspotting, Searching, We the Animals, Skate Kitchen

FIRST SCREENPLAY
Blindspotting
Eighth Grade
Hereditary
Sorry To Bother You
Thoroughbreds

ALT: What We Had

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Hereditary
If Beale Street Could Talk
Mandy
Vox Lux
We the Animals

ALT: At Eternity’s Gate, First Reformed, Madeline’s Madeline

EDITING
BlacKkKlansman
Hereditary
If Beale Street Could Talk
Madeline’s Madeline
Searching

ALT: Leave No Trace, Mandy, You Were Never Really Here

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Bisbee ‘17
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Minding the Gap
RBG
Shirkers

ALT: Free Solo, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

INTERNATIONAL FILM
Border (Sweden)
Cold War (Poland)
The Favourite (UK)
ROMA (Mexico)
Shoplifters (Japan)

ALT: Capernaum (Lebanon), Burning (South Korea), Girl (Belgium)

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