The nominations for the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards have been announced, and while that would normally be the perfect occasion to make a lot of sarcastic jokes about what constitutes an “independent” movie these days, let’s just take a minute to note the quality (as opposed to the budgets/pedigree) of this year’s selections. Birdman, A Most Violent Year, and Nightcrawler may be heavy on Hollywood talent, but they’re also extremely well-made, relatively adventurous dramas. They’re indie in sensibility, which is more than can be said about some years’ nominees.
Birdman, a film that’s actually about the collision of artistic and commercial pursuits, leads the pack with six nominations. That includes Best Feature, for which it will compete with such excellent alternatives as Boyhood, Whiplash, and Love Is Strange. (Selma is also nominated.) Elsewhere, voters spread the love to other worthy works, including The Immigrant (for which Marion Cotillard scored a Best Female Lead nod) and Blue Ruin (one of five genuinely, inarguably independent films competing for the John Cassavetes Award). Coolest surprise choice: an editing nomination for The Guest, Adam Wingard’s wild genre pastiche.
Derailing some of the potential arguments over what got snubbed, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Foxcatcher, and Inherent Vice were all deemed ineligible. Still, Inherent Vice did get a consolation price, of sorts: The Robert Altman Award, in honor of its sprawling, game ensemble).
A full list of nominations can be found here. The awards will be handed out on February 21, surely to the same people and films that will win Oscars the following day.