2014 Independent Spirit Awards predictions
It may be raining. It may be chilly. One thing is for sure, the drinks will be flowing and the giant tent that is the annual home for the Independent Spirit Awards will be buzzing.
This year's show will be hosted by comedian and actor Patton Oswalt. The star of "Big Fan" and "Young Adult" is no stranger to entertaining massive and difficult audiences. Oswalt ruled Comic-Con's Hall H a few years ago when he had the tough task of making Disney's slate at the time more exciting than it actually was. He's also following a fantastic hosting performance by Andy Samberg last year. Here's hoping the Spirits can actually deliver two great shows in a row (it tends to lean toward a good show every other year).
Like the Golden Globes, and the SAG Awards to an extent, the Spirits mostly focus on the awards presentations. Over the past decade the star power has increased and winning a Spirit is a more respected honor than ever before. It's not just a fun little brunch party the Saturday before the Academy Awards.
The dirty little secret about the Spirits, however, is they are usually much easier to predict. The nominees are selected by committee, which is intended to make sure they truly reflect the independent film community. The winners, on the other hand, are voted on by the Film Independent membership, which is a much broader group. That means if there is any question who might win a category, all you need to know is that the more popular nominee (i.e., box office) or nominee from the more popular film will take it. The Spirit winners, in many ways, are about eyeballs, although there is always a surprise or two. John Hawkes ("The Sessions") beating Bradley Cooper ("Silver Lining Playbook") for Best Male Lead last year is an excellent example. And on the flip side, "Silver Linings" dominating the 2013 winners list, including an improbable win for director and film over "Beasts of the Southern Wild," only proves box office dictates the Spirits' winners circle.
With that in mind, check out some predictions for the 2014 edition of the show.
John Cassavetes Award
"This is Martin Bonner"
Who should win: "Crystal Fairy"
Potential Upset: "Computer Chess"
Who will win: "Crystal Fairy"
Why: Honestly, this is a huge guess. The Michael Cera flick was a Sundance title that played a ton of festivals and barely made more than "Chess" at the box office (and we mean barely). It's a pick 'em, but we're going with Cera's, um, star power.
Best International Film
"Blue is the Warmest Color"
"The Great Beauty"
"A Touch of Sin"
Who should win: "The Great Beauty"
Potential Upset: "The Great Beauty"
Who will win: "Blue is the Warmest Color"
Why: No Cesars upset here. Most of the voters haven't seen "Great Beauty" and "Blue" has been in theaters since October. It was also a nice $2.1 million hit for IFC Films. Yes, people. It's that simple.
"The Act of Killing"
"20 Feet from Stardom"
Who should win: "The Act of Killing"
Potential Upset: "The Square"
Who will win: "20 Feet from Stardom"
Why: This is a tough one. "20 Feet" was a huge hit for a documentary these days, but it's not a reach to suggest that Film Independent members probably over index as Netflix subscribers. That means the chances of them catching "The Square" in the comfort of their homes is more likely than not. In theory, "20 Feet" should win, but don't be surprised if "The Square" takes it.
Who should win: "Upstream Color"
Potential Upset: "Frances Ha"
Who will win: "Upstream Color"
Why: Yeah, don't ask why "12 Years A Slave," "Nebraska" or "Inside Llewyn Davis" aren't here. Head scratcher. "Frances Ha" could take this one, but "Upstream Color" succeeds in its craft and the editing of the film was an integral part of Shane Carruth's vision.
Who should win: "Spring Breakers"
Potential Upset: "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Who will win: "12 Years A Slave"
Why: "Spring Breakers" has a chance, but "12 Years" should take this one.