"Precious" and "Last Station" top Spirit film nods

Tue Dec 1, 2009 6:58pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The race for Hollywood film honors picked up pace on Tuesday when a key independent movie group unveiled Spirit Award nominees, giving dramas "Precious" and "The Last Station" five nods each, including best movie.

Joining them among best film nominees for the awards that often spotlight indie movies competing for Oscars were romantic comedy "(500) Days of Summer" and immigration dramas "Amreeka," and "Sin Nombre."

Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, who plays an abused young woman in "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire," and Helen Mirren in "Last Station," about the last year in the life of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, were given nods for best actress.

Joining them were Gwyneth Paltrow in drama "Two Lovers" Maria Bello in the dark tale "Downloading Nancy" and Nisreen Faour in "Amreeka," about a Palestinian mother and son who move to Illinois to start a new life.

The race for lead actor pits Joseph Gordon-Levitt in art house hit "(500) Days of Summer," against veteran Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart" and Colin Firth in critical hit "A Single Man." They are joined by Adam Scott in "The Vicious Kind," and Souleymane Sy Savane in "Goodbye Solo."

"Last Station," which debuts in some U.S. cities on Friday, earned nods for Michael Hoffman as best director and best screenplay, as well as veteran Christopher Plummer for supporting actor.

"Precious," a movie that has wowed fans and raked in $32 million at box offices since its debut in November, brought nominations for its director Lee Daniels, actress Mo'Nique in a supporting role, and screenwriting for Geoffrey Fletcher.

"I am blown away, as is the entire cast and crew of 'Precious,' that the film is being embraced by so many," director Lee Daniels said in a statement.   Continued...

<p>Actress Gabourey Sidibe is shown in a scene from the Lionsgate film "Precious" in this undated publicity photo released to Reuters December 1, 2009. Film dramas "Precious" and "The Last Station" earned five nominations each, including best feature, on Tuesday for Independent Spirit Awards, the leading honors for movies made outside Hollywood's major studios. REUTERS/Lionsgate Films/handout</p>