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When the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards nominations are announced less than 12 hours from now many of the nominations won't surprise you. "Silver Linings Playbook," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Moonrise Kingdom" should all receive multiple nods. The question is where will the Spirit nominating committees pull a fast one? Because, let's face it, they always do. Whether it's deciding "The Artist" qualifies as an American production (don't get me started on this one) or basically ignoring "Midnight in Paris" or giving "The Last Station" a best feature nod, half of the Spirit nominations are almost never what you expect. That being said, they are somewhat predictable in their unpredictableness. Here are five things you should look for when the nominations are revealed at 10 AM PST.
"Bernie" will feel the love
Not only was Richard Linklater's "Bernie" a surprise critical and box office hit - after all of the traditional mini-majors such as Searchlight, Focus and Sony Classics passed on it - but it was also the opening night film of the 2011 LA Film Festival. Guess who runs the LA Film Festival? Film Independent, the same organization that runs the Spirit Awards. "Bernie" is hands down the most successful world premiere the annual June festival has ever had. Now, "Bernie's" nominations will be determined by the American Narrative nominating committee, but you can bet they know the film's history. And hey, it's a great movie, but if you're surprised it makes the cut over something else, now you know.
Sundance Film Festival pictures dominate
Let us count the ways…last year at least 13 Sundance films were nominated. In 2011, 12 films. In 2010, four of the five best film nominees debuted at Sundance. The two organizations are so intertwined that when a grand jury prize winner such as "Like Crazy" is shut out (such as last year) it's truly shocking.
Paul Thomas Anderson hasn't been nominated since "Hard Eight" in 1998
Anyone thinking there will be a "Master" sweep may be highly mistaken. The limit for an indie budget is supposed to be $20 million according to the Spirit Awards rules (although it's at the committee's discretion). At a reported $30 million, there is no way "The Master" would qualify. Sadly, a slew of Indie Spirit Award nods is exactly what the picture's Oscar campaign needs right now.
LA made films have made a comeback
After pretty much a decade of ignoring LA-based films for productions shot on the East Coast or elsewhere, a recent trend has found Los Angeles area pictures landing multiple nominations. "Drive," "Bellflower," "Rampart," "The Kids Are All Right," "Greenberg," "Mother and Child" and "Beginners" are all LA-centric pictures that have earned multiple nods over the past few years. Watch out for "End of Watch" and "Sound of My Voice" to benefit from that trend this year.
Indies with commercial pedigree do well
In another good sign for "End of Watch" as well as "Bernie" and "The Perks of Being A Wallflower," indies with a slight commercial bent have increasingly done well over the past few years. "50/50," "Drive" and "The Descendants" landed multiple nominations last year. In 2011 it was "Black Swan," "The Kids Are All Right" and "Winter's Bone." In 2010, "Precious" and "500 Days of Summer" dominated the nominations, but even "Adventureland" and "Paranormal Activity" received nods.
Look for complete coverage of the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards nominations Tuesday on HitFix.