We always approach awards season with a mix of fear, dread and excitement, and one of our earliest questions each time around is: Will this year’s nominees feel like homework or fun? The Film Independent Spirit Awards nominees, the first of many lists leading up to the Oscars, has just been released today, and if this is a sign of thing to come, the answer is “fun.” We certainly haven’t seen all of the nominees yet, and by its nature, this is an awards show that often contains a number of obscure titles and actors, but it looks like the indie world is also on board with some of the crowd-pleasers we’ve fallen in love with this year: Among the Best Feature nominees are Silver Linings Playbook, Moonrise Kingdom and Beasts of the Southern Wild. Beasts‘ remarkable breakout star, 8-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, roared her way to a Best Female Lead nod, along with Silver Linings‘ Jennifer Lawrence. We’re rooting for Best First Feature to go to Perks of Being a Wallflower’s Stephen Chbosky and his producers. Twenty-nine-year old Zoe Kazan, who wrote and starred in Ruby Sparks, is the sole girl at the Screenplay party. But perhaps the best surprise of all is in the Supporting Male category, where Matthew McConaughey is nominated for playing strip-club owner Dallas in Magic Mike. Take that, everyone who thinks independent film is all about quietly contemplating the grass grow and talking in funny accents.
The Spirit Awards air Saturday, February 23, at 10 p.m. ET on IFC.
[Photos: The Weinstein Company, Focus Features, Warner Bros.]