Spirit Award noms offer Oscar clues

Noms help build buzz on possible contenders

If the Spirit Award nominations confirm one thing, it’s that this awards season continues down a path of uncertainty.

However, a few clues about what the Academy could choose in January have emerged. Both Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” and Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist” will get a boost from their Spirit noms, helping both films remain a significant part of the conversation. Sean Durkin’s “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” for which Fox Searchlight has high awards hopes, is sure to move up in the ranks of contenders by earning first feature, director and lead actress noms. Meanwhile, “Beginners” could be a real Oscar contender now that it adds a Spirit nom to the Gotham Award it won Monday.

A few nominated films whose buzz seemed to be quieting probably got a boost from the screeners that recently went out, including “Pariah,” “Take Shelter” and “Margin Call.”

Notable omissions among the nominees include Paramount’s “Like Crazy,” a largely improvised film from Drake Doremus that had been getting good buzz heading into the season; Oscilloscope’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” which has had a significant awards push for star Tilda Swinton; and Fox Searchlight’s “Tree of Life,” a Terrence Malick film that divided critics but earned a Gotham Award Monday.

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