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Nominees: Spirit Awards hoist a glass to ‘Sideways’

'Maria' graces with 5, 'Kinsey' scores 4

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This article was updated at 7:17 p.m.

With 14 nominations, Fox Searchlight leads the contenders for the 20th annual Independent Spirit Awards, paced by “Sideways,” which received a nom in each of the six major categories Tuesday.

Runner-up for an individual film was Fine Line Features’ “Maria Full of Grace,” which earned five noms. Scoring four apiece were Searchlight’s “Kinsey” and three pics that rep the scrappier side of the indie scene: Rodney Evans’ first feature, “Brother to Brother”; Sundance Grand Jury prize winner “Primer”; and Mario de la Vega’s “Robbing Peter,” which has no distributor.

Latter film qualified through its screening at this summer’s Los Angeles Film Festival.

Sony Pictures Classics’ “Baaadasssss!,” Focus Features’ “The Motorcycle Diaries” and Newmarket Films’ “The Woodsman” each took three noms.

Foreign features usually qualify only for the category of foreign film. But a pic such as the Spanish-lingo “Motorcycle” can qualify as an American narrative feature if two of the three key creative positions (director, writer, producer) are filled by U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

“Sideways,” with a budget touted as $16 million, was the most expensive of any nominated feature. The IFP nominating committee generally considers only films budgeted at $15 million and under but has the prerogative to waive that guideline.

Absent from the lineup was Miramax Films. Although the company did jointly acquire “Garden State” with Fox Searchlight at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Miramax handled the pic’s international distribution.

In many cases, other high-profile indie films were not submitted for consideration because their budgets exceeded the IFP’s usual $15 million cap.

The five bids for “Maria” included feature for producer Paul Mezey and director and first screenplay for Joshua Marston.

“I hope to make every film until the day I die with him,” said Marston of Mezey. They are developing two projects together.

“There’s an embarrassment of riches,” said Dawn Hudson, executive director of IFP/Los Angeles. “I don’t think our nominations covered all of the good independent films out there.”

Searchlight’s “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Garden State” each earned two. Also scoring two apiece were Paramount Classics’ “Mean Creek,” Focus’ “The Door in the Floor,” Magnolia Pictures’ “Woman Thou Art Loosed” as well as “Down to the Bone,” “On the Outs” and “Saints and Soldiers,” each of which lack a distrib.

Two television movies also took double noms: Showtime Networks’ “Cavedweller” and Fox Entertainment Television’s “Redemption,” both of which bowed at qualifying festivals.

The ensemble cast of “Mean Creek” was singled out for an award of special distinction, praising them for “performances so uniformly unselfish … it became impossible to single any one of them out from their extraordinary achievement together.”

Warner Independent Pictures made its first appearance at the Spirits with two pics, “We Don’t Live Here Anymore,” nominated for cinematography, and “Before Sunset,” nommed for screenplay.

Nominated for the $20,000 Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award were Jem Cohen (“Chain”), Bryan Poyser (“Dear Pillow”) and Jennifer Reeves (“The Time We Killed”).

Nominees for the Bravo/American Express producers award are Gina Kwon (“The Good Girl”), Danielle Renfrew (“November”) and Sean C. Covel and Chris Wyatt (“Napoleon Dynamite”).

And the nominees are…

FEATURE
“Baadasssss!” –Mario Van Peebles, producer.
“Kinsey” — Gail Mutrux, producer.
“Maria Full of Grace” — Paul Mezey, producer.
“Primer” — Shane Carruth, producer.
“Sideways” — Michael London, producer.

DIRECTOR
Shane Carruth — “Primer”
Joshua Marston — “Maria Full of Grace”
Alexander Payne — “Sideways”
Walter Salles — “The Motorcycle Diaries”
Mario Van Peebles — “Baadasssss!”

ACTRESS
Kimberly Elise — “Woman Thou Art Loosed”
Vera Farmiga — “Down to the Bone”
Judy Marte — “On the Outs”
Catalina Sandino Moreno — “Maria Full of Grace”
Kyra Sedgwick — “Cavedweller”

ACTOR
Kevin Bacon — “The Woodsman”
Jeff Bridges — “The Door in the Floor”
Jamie Foxx — “Redemption”
Paul Giamatti — “Sideways”
Liam Neeson — “Kinsey”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett — “Coffee and Cigarettes”
Loretta Devine — “Woman Thou Art Loosed”
Virginia Madsen — “Sideways”
Robin Simmons — “Robbing Peter”
Yenny Paola Vega — “Maria Full of Grace”

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Thomas Haden Church — “Sideways”
Jon Gries — “Napoleon Dynamite”
Aidan Quinn — “Cavedweller”
Roger Robinson — “Brother to Brother”
Peter Sarsgaard — “Kinsey”

SCREENPLAY
“Baadasssss!” –Mario Van Peebles, Dennis Haggerty, writers.
“Before Sunset” –Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, writers.
“The Door in the Floor” — Tod Williams, writer.
“Kinsey” — Bill Condon, writer.
“Sideways” — Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor, writers.

FIRST FEATURE
“Brother to Brother” –Rodney Evans, director; Rodney Evans, Jim McKay, Isen Robbins, Aimee Schoof, producers.
“Garden State” –Zach Braff, director; Pamela Abdy, Gary Gilbert, Dan Halsted, Richard Klubeck, producers.
“Napoleon Dynamite” — Jared Hess, director; Jeremy Coon, Sean C. Covel, Chris Wyatt, producers.
“Saints and Soldiers” –Ryan Little, director; Adam Abel, Ryan Little, producers.
“The Woodsman” — Nicole Kassell, director; Lee Daniels, producer.

FIRST SCREENPLAY
“Brother to Brother” –Rodney Evans, writer.
“Garden State” — Zach Braff, writer.
“Maria Full of Grace” — Joshua Marston, writer.
“Primer” — Shane Carruth, writer.
“Robbing Peter” — Mario F. de la Vega, writer.

DEBUT PERFORMANCE
Anthony Mackie — “Brother to Brother”
Louie Olivos Jr. — “Robbing Peter”
Hannah Pilkes — “The Woodsman”
Rodrigo de la Serna — “The Motorcycle Diaries”
David Sullivan — “Primer”

CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Dandelion” — Tim Orr
“The Motorcycle Diaries” — Eric Gautier
“Redemption” — David Greene
“Saints and Soldiers” — Ryan Little
“We Don’t Live Here Anymore” — Maryse Alberti

FOREIGN FILM
“Bad Education” –Pedro Almodovar, director; Spain.
“Oasis” -Lee Chang-Dong, director; South Korea.
“Red Lights” — Cedric Kahn, director; France.
“The Sea Inside” — Alejandro Amenábar, director; Spain.
“Yesterday” — Darrell James Roodt, director; South Africa.

DOCUMENTARY
“Bright Leaves” –Ross McElwee, director.
“Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed” — Shola Lynch, director.
“Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust” — Menachem Daum, Oren Rudavsky, directors.
“Metallica: Some Kind of Monster” — Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky, directors.
“Tarnation” — Jonathan Caouette, director.

SPECIAL DISTINCTION
“Mean Creek” — Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck and Carly Schroeder, ensemble cast.

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
“Down to the Bone” –Debra Granik, director; Debra Granik, Richard Lieske, writers; Susan Leber, Anne Rosellini, producers.
“Mean Creek” –Jacob Aaron Estes, writer-director; Susan Johnson, Rick Rosenthal, Hagai Shaham, producers.
“On the Outs” –Lori Silverbush and Michael Skolnik, directors; Lori Silverbush, writer; Lori Silverbush, Michael Skolnik, producers.
“Robbing Peter” –Mario F. de la Vega, writer-director; T. Todd Flinchum, Lisa Y. Garibay, Mario F. de la Vega, producers.
“Unknown Soldier” –Ferenc Toth, writer-director; Sean Bachrodt, Seth Eisman, Chachi Senior, Ferenc Toth, producers.

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Jem Cohen — director “Chain”
Bryan Poyser — director “Dear Pillow”
Jennifer Reeves — director “The Time We Killed”

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman — “Born Into Brothels”
Shola Lynch — “Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed”
Jehane Noujaim — “Control Room”
Carlos Sandoval, Catherine Tambini — “Farmingville”

PRODUCERS AWARD
Gina Kwon — “Me, You and Everyone We Know,” “The Motel”
Danielle Renfrew — “November,” “Groove”
Sean C. Covel, Chris Wyatt — “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Think Tank”

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