By
SBS Film

30 Nov 2011 - 4:36 PM  UPDATED 26 Feb 2014 - 4:09 PM

The Artist, which takes audiences back to 1920s Hollywood when talking pictures were arriving, and Take Shelter, about a man desperate to protect his family, have each earned five nominations in the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards.

Both are in the running for best feature and best director and have had some success already: Take Shelter won the grand prize at Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival, and The Artist was the most popular film with audiences at San Sebastian.

Four other films received four nominations it was revealed in Los Angeles this morning: The Descendants, Beginners, Martha Marcy May Marlene and Drive.

Of these six films only Martha Marcy May Marlene is not in the running for the best film prize, but it could take home the award for best first feature. The sixth nomination for best film goes instead to 50/50. Anjelica Huston's nomination for her supporting performance is 50/50's only other nod.

All five men up for best director are drawn from the best film contenders: The Artist's Michel Hazanavicius, Beginners' Mike Mills, Take Shelter's Jeff Nichols, The Descendants' Alexander Payne and Drive's Nicolas Winding Refn. Hazanavicius, Mills and Payne, who worked with two others on the script for The Descendants, were also named for their work on the screenplay.

The awards are billed as a celebration of “artist-driven” and independent filmmaking, and are a great place to find the freshest and most heartfelt stories, some of which have been made on a shoestring. In fact, an imitation shoestring is symbolically incorporated into the trophy design.
Among the nominations for best actor are Jean Dujardin (The Artist), who won best actor at Cannes earlier this year for this performance, Ryan Gosling (Drive), who won an Independent Spirit Award in 2007 for Half Nelson, and veteran actor Woody Harrelson (Rampart), who took out this award in 2010 for The Messenger.

The women to watch include Elizabeth Olsen, for her title role in Martha Marcy May Marlene, and Michelle Williams, for her performance in My Week With Marilyn, the highly anticipated film about the tension on the set of the 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl between the legendary movie star Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Olivier, who directed and also starred in the film.

The Piaget Producers Award, Someone To Watch Award and Truer Than Fiction Award carry grants of US$25,000 for the winners. The Jameson Find Your Audience Award, which includes a US$40,000 marketing and distribution grant, will be given to one of the films nominated in 2012.

The last five best film winners at the Independents Spirit Awards were Black Swan, Precious, The Wrestler, Juno and Little Miss Sunshine.

The presentation ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on February 25, just prior to the Academy Awards.

The full list of winners are as follows and the people listed indicate who the award is presented to:

BEST FEATURE
50/50 – producers Evan Goldberg, Ben Karlin,
Seth Rogen
Beginners – producers Miranda de Pencier, Lars Knudsen,
Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech, Jay Van Hoy
Drive – producers Michel Litvak, John Palermo,
Marc Platt, Gigi Pritzker, Adam Siegel
Take Shelter – producers Tyler Davidson, Sophia Lin
The Artist – producers Thomas Langmann
The Descendants – producers Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

BEST DIRECTOR
Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
Mike Mills – Beginners
Jeff Nichols – Take Shelter
Alexander Payne – The Descendants
Nicolas Winding Refn – Drive

BEST SCREENPLAY
Joseph Cedar – Footnote
Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
Tom McCarthy – Win Win
Mike Mills – Beginners
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash – The Descendants

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Another Earth – director Mike Cahill, producers: Mike Cahill, Hunter Gray, Brit Marling, Nicholas Shumaker
In The Family – director Patrick Wang, producers Robert Tonino, Andrew van den Houten, Patrick Wang
Margin Call – director JC Chandor, producers Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Neal Dodson, Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Zachary Quinto
Martha Marcy May Marlene – Sean Durkin, producers Antonio Campos, Patrick Cunningham, Chris Maybach, Josh Mond
Natural Selection – director Robbie Pickering, producers Brion Hambel, Paul Jensen

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Mike Cahill, Brit Marling – Another Earth
JC Chandor – Margin Call
Patrick deWitt – Terri
Phil Johnson – Cedar Rapids
Will Reiser – 50/50

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
(For the best feature made for under US $500,000)
Bellflower – writer/director Evan Glodell, producers Evan Glodell, Vincent Grashaw
Circumstance – writer/director Maryam Keshavarz, producers Karin Chien, Maryam Keshavarz, Melissa M Lee
Hello Lonesome – writer/director/producer Adam Reid
Pariah – writer/director Dee Rees, producer Nekisa Cooper
The Dynamiter – writer Brad Inglesby, director Matthew Gordon, producers Kevin Abrams, Matthew Gordon, Merilee Holt, Art Jones, Mike Jones, Nate Tuck, Amile Wilson

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Lauren Ambrose – Think Of Me
Rachael Harris – Natural Selection
Adepero Oduye – Pariah
Elizabeth Olsen – Martha Marcy May Marlene
Michelle Williams – My Week With Marilyn

BEST MALE LEAD
Demian Bichir – A Better Life
Jean Dujardin – The Artist
Ryan Gosling – Drive
Woody Harrelson – Rampart
Michael Shannon – Take Shelter

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Jessica Chastain – Take Shelter
Anjelica Huston – 50/50
Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
Harmony Santana – Gun Hill Road
Shailene Woodley – The Descendants

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Albert Brooks – Drive
John Hawkes – Martha Marcy May Marlene
Christopher Plummer – Beginners
John C Reilly – Cedar Rapids
Corey Stoll – Midnight In Paris

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Joel Hodge – Bellflower
Benjamin Kasulke – The Off Hours
Darius Khondji – Midnight In Paris
Guillaume Schiffman – The Artist
Jeffrey Waldron – The Dynamiter

BEST DOCUMENTARY
An African Election – director/producer Jarreth Merz
Bill Cunningham New York – director Richard Press, producer Philip Gefter
The Interrupters – director/producer Steve James, producer Alex Kotlowitz
The Redemption Of General Butt Naked – director/producers Eric Strauss, Daniele Anastasion
We Were Here – director/producer David Weissman

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
A Separation (Iran) – director Asghar Farhadi
Melancholia (Denmark-Sweden-France-Germany) – director Lars Von Trier
Shame (UK) – director Steve McQueen
The Kid With A Bike (Belgium-France-Italy) – directors Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Tyrannosaur (UK) – Paddy Considine

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
Chad Burris – Mosquita Y Mari
Sophia Lin – Take Shelter
Josh Mond – Martha Marcy May Marlene

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Simon Arthur – director of Silver Tongues
Mark Jackson – director of Without
Nicholas Ozeki – director of Mamitas

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Heather Courtney – Where Soldiers Come From
Danfung Dennis – Hell And Back Again
Alma Har'el – Bombay Beach

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
Margin Call – director JC Chandor, casting directors Tiffany Little Canfield, Bernard Telsey, ensemble cast Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto, Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci