LOS ANGELES (AP) — The race to Oscar has officially begun, as the slavery exploration “12 Years a Slave” was nominated Tuesday for a leading seven Spirit Awards, which honor independent film.
The Steve McQueen-directed drama is up for best feature, best director, best actor (Chiwetel Ejiofer), best supporting actress (Lupita Nyong'o), best supporting actor (Michael Fassbender), best screenplay (John Ridley) and best cinematography (Sean Bobbitt).
With six nominations, Alexander Payne's black-and-white comedy “Nebraska” is also in the running for best feature, best director, best first screenplay for Bob Nelson, best actor for Bruce Dern, best supporting actor for Will Forte, and best supporting actress for June Squibb.
Omaha native Yolonda Ross was also nominated for best supporting actress for her work in “Go for Sisters.”
Other best-picture contenders include J.C. Chandor's near-wordless shipwreck drama “All Is Lost,” Noah Baumbach's New York tale “Frances Ha” and the Coen brothers' folk music story “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
Though the Spirit Awards were begun to honor lower-budget films outside of Hollywood's mainstream, there is often overlap, and particularly so this year. Many of the 2013 Spirit nominees are expected to be strong Oscar contenders.
Presented by the cinema group Film Independent, the Spirit Awards will be handed out Mar. 1. Nominees were chosen by panels of film professionals. Members of Film Independent, including filmmakers and movie fans, are eligible to vote on the winners.
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