‘Birdman’ tops Independent Spirit Award nominations

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Associated Press

“Birdman,” a dark comedy about show business, took flight Tuesday with a leading six nominations for the 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Star Michael Keaton and director Alejandro González Iñárritu picked up nominations for the film from Fox Searchlight.

Nods also went to its supporting actors Emma Stone and Edward Norton and to cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.

Collecting five nominations each were the coming-of-age drama “Boyhood,” the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic “Selma,” and the noir thriller “Nightcrawler.”

Other films recognized in the best feature category included “Whiplash” and “Love Is Strange,” both of which received four nominations.

Rosario Dawson and Diego Luna announced the nominees live from the W Hotel in Hollywood. The awards recognize achievements in independent film, and Oscar hopefuls are sprinkled throughout each category.

Nods in the male lead category went to David Oyelowo for his portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma;” Jake Gyllenhall for his turn as a sociopathic freelance reporter in “Nightcrawler;” John Lithgow for “Love Is Strange;” and André Benjamin for “Jimi: All Is By My Side.”

Female lead nominations included Julianne Moore for her role as an Alzheimer’s patient in “Still Alice;” Marion Cotillard for the turn of the century drama “The Immigrant;” Tilda Swinton for the vampire pic “Only Lovers Left Alive;” Jenny Slate for the abortion comedy “Obvious Child” and Rinko Kikuchi for “Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter.”

In addition to Iñárritu, directing nominations went to Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash”), Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”) and David Zellner (“Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter”).

Noticeably absent from the slate was the Alan Turing biopic “The Imitation Game” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, and “Wild” starring Reese Witherspoon, both of which are expected to be contenders for other major awards.

Film Independent would not comment on whether “The Imitation Game” was eligible for nominations.

It did honor “Foxcatcher” with its Special Distinction Award and “Inherent Vice” with the Robert Altman Award. For unspecified reasons, neither film was eligible for individual nominations.

The Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything,” starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, was also missing from the slate because it is not an American film

The Spirit Awards tries to recognize films outside the mainstream, but recent winners have tended to overlap with Academy Awards nominees.

Last year, the Spirit Awards winners matched the Academy Awards winners in several top categories, including best picture (“12 Years a Slave”), best actor (Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club”), and best actress (Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine”).

Winners will be revealed at an awards ceremony on Feb. 21. 2015, a day before the Academy Awards. The Spirit Awards ceremony will air live on IFC from Santa Monica.

This year’s 341 submissions were judged on such guidelines as uniqueness of vision, originality of subject matter, economy of means, and percentage of financing from independent sources. Only films with a budget of $20 million or lower are considered.

Nominations are decided by members of Film Independent, which include critics, filmmakers, actors, festival programmers, past winners and nominees, and members of Film Independent’s board of directors.

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