There is no doubt that the human experience feels more isolated and isolating now than it ever has. We’re more connected yet less connected than we ever have been. Our avatars seem to thrive while our human bodies continue to live out our mortal lives.
While we are more connected to one another than ever before, the films that have captured the zeitgeist so far this year deal with isolation, survival, fear and futility. Many of us have people we’ve known all our lives updating us on Facebook about the image of themselves they want the world to see, all filtered through the fantasy lens of happiness. A picture of a smiling couple on their wedding day, toasting the sunset in Belize, mid-jump into a pool on a summer’s day. Every artfully filtered alternate existence constructed on Facebook and Instagram only makes our own lives seem more dull by comparison.
The Spirit Awards are a vital part of the awards race now, much more so than they were a decade ago. But because independent film is one of the only avenues for interesting, non-generic Hollywood films, the Spirit Awards are becoming a big event unto themselves. As Oscar continues to adhere to their tradition of rewarding safe, crowd pleasing entertainment, the Spirit Awards are freer in how they choose, what they reward and whether those wins ultimately mean something without the added label of “Oscar.” The interesting thing about it is that now they do. Being a Spirit Award winner holds more cache apart from Oscar, similar to the Golden Globes. The Spirit Award voters aren’t industry insiders nor are they film critics; they are a mixture of all of the above.
The nominating committee are:
Experts in the field. Three nominating committees are made up of members of the film community – one each for American Narrative films, Documentary films and International Narrative films. Committees may include film critics, film programmers, actors, producers, directors, writers, cinematographers, editors, past nominees and winners, and members of Film Independent’s Board of Directors. There are three additional committees for our Piaget Producers, Someone to Watch and Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction grant awards. For these Awards, three nominees, including the winner, will be selected by a committee of experts in the field.
And the nominees are:
Ø A PLACE AT THE TABLE
Ø FAR OUT ISN’T FAR ENOUGH: THE TOMI UNGERER STORY
Ø LIFE ACCORDING TO SAM
Ø WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS
Ø WHICH WAY IS THE FRONT LINE FROM HERE? THE LIFE AND TIME OF TIM HETHERINGTON
The PGA traditionally does not line up with Oscar. Last year only two went on to be nommed for Oscar:
Last year’s nominees and winner:
Winner (also Oscar winner): Searching for Sugar Man (2012)
A People Uncounted (2011)
The Gatekeepers (2012)
The Island President (2011)
The Other Dream Team (2012)