12 Years a Slave Leads the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards
The Independent Spirit Awards, the awards ceremony preferred by most cineastes for its tendency to award the "real" best films of the year, free from all the Oscar buzz brouhaha, were announced today and – get this – almost every prize went to the Oscar frontrunner.
Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor went to Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club. Cate Blanchett won Best Actress for Blue Jasmine, and Best Supporting Actress went to Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave, the film that also won the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Steve McQueen), Best Screenplay (John Ridley) and Best Cinematography (Sean Bobbitt). Best Documentary also went to Oscar frontrunner 20 Feet from Stardom, about the plight of underappreciated background singers in classic rock and pop.
Each of those categories included multiple nominees who were ignored by the Academy, or at least didn't get enough votes to crack the Top 5 at the Oscars, and yet were ultimately passed over in favor of their more popular, buzzworthy competition. Perhaps they're really that good; there's no reason to assume a conspiracy is afoot, obviously, but it certainly is a curious overlap.
For those who only care about the Independent Spirit Awards as part of the larger "Oscar Season" tapestry and not as an individual entity (be honest, that's a lot of people), this only solidifies the frontrunners in the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Documentary categories. But 12 Years a Slave's primary competition for Best Picture and Best Director – American Hustle and Gravity – were ineligible for the Independent Spirit Awards, and Sean Bobbitt didn't make the Oscar short list for Best Cinematography. John Ridley is still the frontrunner for the Best Adapted Screenplay category, but his competition is very different at the Oscars.
Other prominent winners include Blue is the Warmest Color, the acclaimed French drama that was shut out of the Academy Awards entirely but won Best International Film at the Independent Spirit Awards. Best Editing went to an other film the Oscars ignored, Short Term 12, and Nebraska and Fruitvale Station took home the awards for Best First Screenplay and Best First Feature, two categories that don't exist at the Academy Awards.
The complete list of Independent Spirit Awards winners, including the 17th Annual Piaget Producers Award, The Robert Altman Award, The John Cassavetes Award, The 20th Annual Someone to Watch Award and The 19th Annual Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award, are as follows:
Best Feature: 12 Years a Slave
Best Director: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Best Male Lead: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Female Lead: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Best Supporting Male: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Supporting Female: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Best Documentary: 20 Feet from Stardom
Best Cinematography: Sean Bobbitt, 12 Years a Slave
Best Screenplay: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
Best Editing: Nat Sanders, Short Term 12
Best International Film: Blue is the Warmest Color
Best First Feature: Fruitvale Staton
Best First Screenplay: Bob Nelson, Nebraska
17th Annual Piaget Producers Award: Toby Halbrooks & James M. Johnston
Robert Altman Award: Mud
John Cassavettes Award: This is Martin Bonner
20th Annual Someone to Watch Award: Shaka King, director of Newlyweeds
19th Annual Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award: Jason Osder, director of Let the Fire Burn