Silver Linings Playbook: Spirit Awards eligibility and the $20m Budget Cap
The Spirit Awards 2013 nominations offered a few curiosities. Chief among those is probably the inclusion of David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook among the nominees. Reportedly made for $21 million, Silver Linings Playbook should have been ineligible for the Spirit Awards, which have a $20m production-budget cap. (Image: Silver Linings Playbook Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence.)
Apparently, that rule isn't all that strict ("Any variations are at the sole discretion of the nominating committees and Film Independent"), or there are loopholes – rebates, tax deductions and the like – that allowed the Weinstein Company release to sneak in. But then again, remember earlier this year, when a French movie named The Artist – also a Weinstein Company release – won the US-indie-dedicated Spirit Award for Best Feature? [See also: "Silver Linings Playbook lands key Spirit Award nominations.]
Also of interest, movies representing one country for the Academy Awards may represent another for the Spirit Awards' Best International Film. Admittedly, not that it matters all that much when it comes to the Spirit Awards, as the same country can be nominated for more than one film. Anyhow, Kim Nguyen's War Witch is a Canadian entry at the Oscars, but is listed as a Democratic Republic of Congo entry for the Spirit Awards. Michael Haneke's Amour is Austrian at the Oscars – thus allowing The Intouchables to be the French entry – but Haneke's Paris-set drama is French at the Spirit Awards.
Emayatzy Corinealdi: Awards-season contender
After having been named Breakthrough Performer – instead of favorite Quvenzhané Wallis (for Beasts of the Southern Wild) – at the Gotham Awards last night, Middle of Nowhere's Best Actress Spirit Award nominee Emayatzy Corinealdi has now become a de facto awards-season contender. And in case Corinealdi gets singled out by the likes of, say, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and/or the National Society of Film Critics, she may end up with SAG Award and Academy Award nominations as well. That is, if AFFRM / Participant Media have done a good job in getting screeners to SAG and Oscar voters.
Matthew McConaughey has two Spirit Award acting nominations: Best Actor (or Best Male Lead, in Spirit Award lingo) for Killer Joe and Best Supporting Actor for Magic Mike. McConaughey's Oscar chances as Best Actor are iffy at the best; but he does have a good chance of landing a nomination in the supporting actor category.
Marion Cotillard, On the Road, Cosmopolis, Arbitrage snubbed?
Now, without an actual list of eligible films – I couldn't find one at the Spirit Awards' website – it's impossible to say for sure which movies and performers were totally snubbed by the Spirit Awards' voting committees. But one thing seems certain: Rust and Bone's Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts, and Amour's Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva were not snubbed, as their films could not in any way be considered American-made (or American-shot) productions. In fact, both Rust and Bone and Amour are in the running for Best International Film.
Also, Walter Salles' On the Road, starring US players Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart, might have been eligible even though it's not exactly a US-made film. But On the Road's reported production cost is $25m. That may have made it ineligible. Here's another one: Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, starring potential Oscar contenders Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams, cost a reported $30m.
David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis, starring British-born Hollywood actor Robert Pattinson, cost $20m, which theoretically would have made it eligible – except for the fact that Cronenberg's "limo movie" is a French-Portuguese-Canadian production mostly shot in Canada. Having said that, Cosmopolis – much like fellow "limo movie" Holy Motors – was left out of the Spirit Awards' Best International Film shortlist.
Now, among those who were surely snubbed were Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook; Zachary Booth for Keep the Lights On; Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, and Mike Birbiglia for the Gotham Awards' Best Ensemble winner Your Sister's Sister; Ezra Miller and Emma Watson for The Perks of Being a Wallflower; everyone involved in The Loneliest Planet but director Julia Loktev; Frank Langella and Susan Sarandon for Robot & Frank; and Bernie director Richard Linklater and supporting player Shirley MacLaine. And, depending on the budget, everyone involved in Arbitrage, including director Nicholas Jarecki, and stars Richard Gere and the aforementioned Susan Sarandon.
Silver Linings Playbook Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence photo: The Weinstein Company.