“Spotlight” Cleans Up At The Indie Spirits

Though it’ll face more competition tomorrow night at the Oscars, Spotlight won big at tonight’s Film Independent Spirit Awards.

The film beat out nomination count leaders Carol and Beasts of No Nation for Best Film, Screenplay and Director.

Carol, however, did pick up a Best Cinematography trophy, while newcomer Abraham Attah and Idris Elba won in their respective categories.

Tangerine actress Mya Taylor made history by being the first trans actress to win an award. After being ignored all season, it was great to see her get up on stage and accept her win. Someone cast this woman in more movies please! She has screen presence for days.

Room actress Brie Larson completed her major awards collection by winning Best Female Lead. An Oscar tomorrow night will complete her SAG-BAFTA-Globe-Indie Spirit combination.

See the full list of winners below.

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Best Performances of The Year: 2015

This year’s awards season started off with so much promise and a wealth of contenders. You had inspired choices like Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria cleaning up with the critics, Idris Elba on the cusp of his first Oscar nomination for Beasts of No Nation and Michael B. Jordan having a true breakout moment in Creed. You had films like Chi-RaqThe End of the TourTangerine and Love & Mercy all of which were brilliant, but ultimately passed over in favor of mindless Oscar bait. In the end, the Academy’s narrow scope once again limited the possibilities of what was possible to a mindless lineup that required no imagination. In doing so, they saw the revival of #OscarsSoWhite for the second consecutive year.

But what if the Academy thought outside their narrow bubble? What if they used their imaginations and rewarded actually great performances, instead of the ones with the biggest campaigns behind them? I imagine we would see Mya Taylor’s brilliantly rendered Alex from Tangerine, instead of Jennifer Jason-Leigh’s half-baked “feminist” take on a battered woman in The Hateful Eight. Or maybe Benicio Del Toro’s menacing Alejandro from Sicario over Christian Bale’s hammy, phoned in performance in The Big Short.

2015 gave us so many amazing films with fully realized performances, that still live on despite the Academy’s ignorance.

Here’s my acting ballot. Who really deserved a nomination this year. 

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The 10 Best Movies Of 2015

There was a lot to see this year at the movies, and looking back at everything I’ve seen, it’s a fool’s errand to try and list 10 of the best films. Even some of the ones I wasn’t crazy about had some absolutely amazing aspects that left me stunned. From Charlize Theron completely owning every bit of the amazingly crazy Mad Max: Fury Road, to Saoirse Ronan’s growing into a leading lady before our very eyes in Brooklyn, and of course the immaculately constructed “Carol” (Is there anything Cate Blanchett can’t do?). The Martian came close to dismantling the record Gravity set just 2 years ago, while Johnny Depp found his way back to critical acclaim, and the Rocky franchise found new life in director Ryan Coogler and star Michael B. Jordan. Oh, yeah, maybe you heard about that little indie movie called Star Wars: The Force Awakens that broke a dozen box office records.

So what films made the cut? And which films came close? Let’s take a look.

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