"The Artist," "Take Shelter" Lead Film Independent's Spirit Awards Nominations! 

"The Artist" and "Take Shelter" scored the most nominations for the Film Independent's Spirit Awards announced today. Each film received five nods while "Beginners," "Drive," "The Descendants," and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" each received four nominations.

The Spirit Award prides itself in honoring American-made films that are budgeted at under $20 million. Read the nominations below. The winners will be announced at the 27th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards ceremony on Feb. 25th. You can see the festivities on IFC.

And here are the nominees for the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards:

Best Feature (Award given to the Producer)

50/50 - Ben Karlin, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen

Beginners - Miranda de Pencier, Lars Knudsen, Jan Van Hoy, Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech

Drive - Michel Litvak, John Palermo, Marc Platt, Gigi Pritzker, Adam Siegel

Take Shelter - Tyler Davidson, Sophia Lin

The Artist - Thomas Langmann, Emmanuel Montamat

The Descendants - Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

Best Director

Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Mike Mills, Beginners

Jeff Nichols, Take Shelter

Alexander Payne, The Descendants

Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive

Best First Feature (Award given to the director and producer)

Another Earth - Director: Mike Cahill; Producers: Mike Cahill, Hunter Gray, Brit Marling, Nicholas Shumaker

In The Family - Director: Patrick Wang; Producers: Robert Tonino, Andrew van den Houten, Patrick Wang

Margin Call - Director: J.C. Chandor; Producers: Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Neal Dodson, Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Zachary Quinto

Martha Marcy May Marlene - Director: Sean Durkin; Producers: Antonio Campos, Patrick Cunningham, Chris Maybach, Josh Mond

Natural Selection - Director: Robbie Pickering; Producers: Brion, Hambel, Paul Jensen

John Cassavetes Award
(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000; award given to the writer, director, and producer)

Bellflower - Writer/Director: Evan Glodell; Producers: Evan Glodell, Vincent Grashaw

Circumstance - Writer/Director: Maryam Kesahavarz; Producers: Karin Chien, Maryan Keshavarz, Melissa M. Lee

Hello Lonesome - Writer/Director/Producer: Adam Reid

Pariah - Writer/Director: Dee Rees; Producer: Nekisa Cooper

The Dynamiter - Writers: Matthew Gordon, Brad Ingelsby; Director: Matthew Gordon; Producers: Kevin Abrams, Matthew Gordon, Merilee Holt, Nate Tuck, Amile Wilson

Best Screenplay

Mike Mills, Beginners

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, The Descendants

Joseph Cedar, Footnote

Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Tom McCarthy, Win Win

Best First Screenplay

Mike Cahill & Brit Marling, Another Earth

Patrick deWitt, Terri

Phil Johnston, Cedar Rapids

Will Reiser, 50/50

J.C. Chandor, Margin Call

Best Female Lead

Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Rachael Harris, Natural Selection

Adepero Oduye, Pariah

Lauren Ambrose, Think of Me

Best Male Lead

Michael Shannon, Take Shelter

Woody Harrelson, Rampart

Ryan Gosling, Drive

Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Demian Bichir, A Better Life

Best Supporting Female

Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter

Anjelica Huston, 50/50

Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

Harmony Santana, Gun Hill Road

Shailenne Woodley, The Descendants

Best Supporting Male

Albert Brooks, Drive

John Hawkes, Martha Marcy May Marlene

Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris

John C. Reilly, Cedar Rapids

Best Cinematography

Joel Hodge, Bellflower

Darius Khondji, Midnight in Paris

Guillaume Schiffman, The Artist

Benjamin Kasulke, The Off-Hours

Jeffrey Waldron, The Dynamiter

Best Documentary (Award given to the director)

Jarreth Merz, An African Election

Richard Press, Bill Cunningham New York

Steve James, The Interrupters

David Weissman, We Were Here

Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion, The Redemption of General Butt Naked

Best Foreign Film (Award given to the director)

Asghar Farhadi, Separation

Lars Von Trier, Melancholia

Steve McQueen, Shame

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, The Kid With a Bike

Paddy Considine, Tyrannosaur

Robert Altman Award
(Given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)

Margin Call - Director: J.C. Chandor; Casting Directors: Tiffany Little Canfield, Bernard Telsey; Cast: Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Aasif Mandvi, Ashley Williams

Piaget Producers Award
Chad Burris (Mosquito y Mari)

Sophia Lynn (Take Shelter)

Josh Bond (Martha Marcy May Marlene)

Someone to Watch Award
Simon Arthur (Silver Tongues)

Mark Jackson (Without)

Nicholas Ozeki (Mamitas)

Truer Than Fiction Award

Where Soldiers Come From

Hell and Back Again

Bombay Beach

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New York Film Critics Circle Awards Announces Winners Via Twitter 

Right now, the New York Film Critics are convening for the NYFCC Awards for 2011 season. They are announcing their winners via Twitter, and the winners so far are (we'll bring you the latest winners as the information trickles in via Twitter, of course!):

"Margin Call" for Best First Feature for director J.C. Chandor. Zachary Quinto produced this brilliant film about the stock market collapse. Quinto also starred in the film alongside Stanley Tucci and Kevin Spacey.

The Best Nonfiction Film Award goes to Werner Herzog for his documentary "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" which explores the Chauvet caves of Southern France.

Best Supporting Actress goes to Jessica Chastain for her triple threat performances in the movies "The Tree of Life," "The Help," and "Take Shelter." (My interview with the actress for "The Debt" right here, I love her!)

Best Actress goes to Meryl Streep for "The Iron Lady!" I agree, but was hoping that the Awards gods and goddesses will shine down upon Michelle Williams for her great performance as Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn."

The Best Supporting Actor award goes to Albert Brooks for "Drive." Yay! I love his performance in the movie, but here's my hope again -- let's not forget Nick Nolte as a bruised father in "Warrior." Or, heck, even Seth Rogen gave a wonderful performance as the best friend of the dying Joseph Gordon-Levitt in "50/50."

Best Actor goes to Brad Pitt for his double-whammy of "The Tree of Life" and "Moneyball." Is this about time for the actor?

The melodramatic Iranian film "A Separation" won Best Foreign Language Film.

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist." Excellent choice, but I wonder if the LA Film Critics will follow suit!

And the Best Screenplay Award goes to Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin for "Moneyball."

The Best Cinematography Award goes to Emmanuel Lubezki for "Tree of Life!" Beautiful film!

And the 2011 Special Award to be given posthumously to filmmaker Raoul Ruiz, here's more info on the director from Wiki:

Raúl Ernesto Ruiz Pino (25 July 1941 – 19 August 2011)[1] was a Chilean filmmaker.

Ruiz spent some years at the Catholic University of Santa Fe, Argentina's cinema school. Back in Chile, he directed his first feature film Tres tristes tigres in the late 1960s, winning the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival. He was something of an outsider among the politically oriented filmmakers of his generation, such as Miguel Littín and Helvio Soto, his work being far more ironic, surrealistic, and experimental. In 1973, after the coup d'état led by the dictator Augusto Pinochet, he left Chile and settled in France. After several years producing and directing low-budget telefilms, he began working with larger budgets and "name" stars in 1996 with Three Lives and Only One Death. The following year he directed Genealogies of a Crime, starring Catherine Deneuve. John Malkovich starred in Le temps retrouvé, Les Âmes fortes and Klimt.

He was married to Valeria Sarmiento, who is also a film director and editor.[2]

According to El Repuertero on August 19, 2011 Chile Minister of Culture Luciano Cruz-Coke announced his death on Twitter just after 8:00 a.m.. He posted that Ruiz “just died of a long illness.” The city of Paris, confirmed this information. The Church of Saint George-Paul in Paris will veil his remains and hold a memorial service. His body will return to Chile to be buried as specified by his will according to the minister.

He left a catalogue of 113 films during his 48-year-long career.[3]

And the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Picture goes to "The Artist!"

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"Tree of Life," "Beginners" Tie for Gotham Independent Film Awards! See Complete List of Winners and Nominees! 

"The Tree of Life" and "Beginners" emerged as the big winners for the 21st Gotham Independent Film Awards. "The Descendants" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" led the pack with three nominations each but in the end, Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" and Mike Mills' "Beginners" ruled the night.


Ewan McGregor interview for "Beginners" right here
Mike Mills interview for "Beginners right here

The Gotham Independent Film Awards officially kicks off the 2011-12 award season which of course, leads to the granddaddy of the awards season, the Academy Awards!

Hosted by Edie Falco and Oliver Platt, the Gotham Awards also gave career tributes to Charlize Theron, Gary Oldman, David Cronenberg and Tom Rothman.

"Beginners" also took home the Best Ensemble Performance Award, "Better This World" won Best Documentary, Dee Rees who gave us the wonderful "Pariah" won Breakthrough Director, Felicity Jones for "Like Crazy" won Breakthrough Actor, and "Girlfriend" from director Justin Lerner won the Audience Choice Award.

Any award-giving body that honors the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You is great in my book. This year, that award went to "Scenes of a Crime" directed by Blue Hadaegh & Grover Babcock

Here's the complete list of nominees and winners of the 21st Gotham Independent Film Awards (winners are highlighted):

Best Feature

Mike Mills, director; Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech, Miranda de Pencier, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, producers (Focus Features)

The Descendants
Alexander Payne, director; Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor, producers (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Meek’s Cutoff
Kelly Reichardt, director; Neil Kopp, Anish Savjani, Elizabeth Cuthrell, David Urrutia, producers (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

Take Shelter
Jeff Nichols, director; Tyler Davidson, Sophia Lin, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)

The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick, director; Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Grant Hill, producers (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Best Documentary

Better This World
Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega, directors; Katie Galloway, Kelly Duane de la Vega, Mike Nicholson, producers (Loteria Films, Picturebox, Motto Pictures and Passion Pictures; ITVS in association with American Documentary | POV)

Bill Cunningham New York
Richard Press, director; Philip Gefter, producer (Zeitgeist Films)

Hell and Back Again
Danfung Dennis, director; Mike Lerner, Martin Herring, producers (Docurama Films)

The Interrupters
Steve James, director; Alex Kotlowitz, Steve James, producers (The Cinema Guild)

The Woodmans
C. Scott Willis, director; Neil Barrett, Jeff Werner, C. Scott Willis, producers (Lorber Films; Kino Lorber, Inc.)

Best Ensemble Performance

Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic, Kai Lennox, Mary Page Keller, Keegan Boos (Focus Features)

The Descendants
George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Beau Bridges, Robert Forster, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard, Nick Krause, Amara Miller, Mary Birdsong, Rob Huebel (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Margin Call
Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Aasif Mandvi (Roadside Attractions)

Martha Marcy May Marlene
Elizabeth Olsen, Christopher Abbott, Brady Corbet, Hugh Dancy, Maria Dizzia, Julia Garner, John Hawkes, Louisa Krause, Sarah Paulson (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Take Shelter
Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Tova Stewart, Shea Whigham, Katy Mixon, Kathy Baker, Ray McKinnon, Lisagay Hamilton, Robert Longstreet (Sony Pictures Classics)

Breakthrough Director

Mike Cahill for Another Earth (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Sean Durkin for Martha Marcy May Marlene (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Vera Farmiga for Higher Ground (Sony Pictures Classics)
Evan Glodell for Bellflower (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
Dee Rees for Pariah (Focus Features)

Breakthrough Actor

Felicity Jones in Like Crazy (Paramount Vantage)

Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Harmony Santana in Gun Hill Road (Motion Film Group)
Shailene Woodley in The Descendants (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Jacob Wysocki in Terri (ATO Pictures)

Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You

Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same
Madeleine Olnek, director; Laura Terruso, Madeleine Olnek, producers

Sophia Takal, director; Lawrence Michael Levine, producer

The Redemption of General Butt Naked
Eric Strauss, Daniele Anastasion, directors and producers

Scenes of a Crime
Blue Hadaegh & Grover Babcock, directors and producers

Mark Jackson, director; Mark Jackson, Jessica Dimmock, Michael Requa, Jaime Keeling, producers

Audience Choice Award

Girlfriend, directed by Justin Lerner

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"Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" Devours Box-Office Competition! 

As expected, the tween generation ruled at the Thanksgiving box-office! "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" sold $42 million worth of box-office tickets for the three-day weekend, and $62.3 million from Wednesday to Sunday. So far, the "Twilight" flick starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Jacob Lautner raised its domestic total to $221.3 million just in the U.S. alone, and $268 million international for a woldwide total of $489.3 million!

("The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" movie review)

Entering at No. 2 was Disney's "The Muppets!" Co-written and starring Jason Segel, along with Amy Adams, and much, much more (it's star-studded!), the seventh film of "The Muppets" franchise earned $29.5 million for the three-day weekend and $42 million from Wednesday to Sunday. (Enter to win exclusive "The Muppets" prizes from Walt Disney Pictures, click here)

Not bad for a film with a budget of $40 million!

At No. 3 was the Warner Bros. flick "Happy Feet Two" with a three-day total of $13.4 million and $18.4 million for five days. Sony's "Arthur Christmas" debuted at No. 4 with $12.7 million for three days and $17 million for five days.

(For my fun one-on-one interview with Robin Williams, click here, for Elijah Wood, click here, and for Hank Azaria, click here)

But one of the good news of the weekend was Paramount's Martin Scorsese masterpiece, "Hugo!" Opening at only 1,277 theaters, the fantastic film earned $11.4 million for three days and $15.4 million for five days! (Enter to win exclusive "Hugo" prizes from Paramount Pictures, click here)

And here's the clincher -- 75% of "Hugo's" box-office take came from 3D! Yup, you guys have to watch this in 3D for Scorsese used the technology, not as a gimmick, but a raw part of the narrative!

Click here for my “Hugo” movie review
For my written movie review of "Hugo," click here
Sir Ben Kingsley "Hugo" interview, click here
Chloe Grace Moretz "Hugo" interview, click here
Emily Mortimer "Hugo" interview, click here

Some good news in the indie front -- "My Week with Marilyn" (I love this film, and I'm betting on Michelle Williams to be nominated and take home Oscar gold!) opened with a $1.8 million three-day weekend, and $2.1 million for five days. At just 244 theaters! (Check out my fun interview with producer Harvey Weinstein about "My Week with Marilyn" right here)

Another good news for Weinstein Company, their excellent black-and-white silent film, set to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, "The Artist" had a bountiful three-day total of $210,414 in just four New York City and Los Angeles theaters.

And "The Descendants" from writer-director Alexander Payne ("Election," "Sideways") entered the Top 10 with $7.2 million! I love this film, it deserves nods for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Actor for George Clooney. And gasp, perhaps, a Best Supporting Actress nod for Judy Greer who emerged as the heart of the film!

Here's the Top 10 box-office films for our glorious Thanksgiving Weekend:

1. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1," $42 million

2. "The Muppets," $29.5 million

3. "Happy Feet Two," $13.4 million

4. "Arthur Christmas," $12.7 million

5. "Hugo," $11.4 million.

6. "Jack and Jill," $10.3 million.

7. "Immortals," $8.8 million

8. "Puss in Boots," $7.5 million

9. "Tower Heist," $7.3 million

10. "The Descendants," $7.2

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Win Exclusive “The Muppets” Prizes from Walt Disney Pictures! Find Your Own Rainbow Connection! 

New on Manny’s Movie Weekend Giveaway, it’s all about “THE MUPPETS!” I enjoyed this film for its big heart, and the razzle dazzle of the great production numbers!

Jason Segel co-starrred and also co-wrote the screenplay with Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”). From director James Bobin (“Flight of the Conchords,” “Da Ali G Show,”) the 7th installment featuring the Muppets also boasts a great cast which includes Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Jack Black, Donald Glover, Danny Trejo, and Rashida Jones. (For my "The Muppets" movie review, click here)

Thanks to Walt Disney Pictures, one lucky winner will get:


How to enter:
1) Go to my Facebook page -- www.facebook.com/MannyTheMovieGuy
2) Like the page, and then like the contest post, and just like me! :)

That's it! One lucky winner will win all these prizes! Drawing will be held on Friday, Dec. 2nd!

Winner will be notified via Facebook, so come back to my page to find out if you won!

Sorry international friends, but this contest is limited to U.S. residents.

For more info, and to see the prizes, check out my video below!


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