"Jackie," "Moonlight," "American Honey" Lead 2017 Independent Spirit Award Nominations 

I'm so glad that Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight" is getting lots of love from the Independent Spirit Awards. It is raw, honest, pure! One of my favorite films of the year! I also enjoyed "Jackie" but largely due to Natalie Portman's wonderful performance. Oh, I'm also loving "Manchester by the Sea!" I interviewed the cast at the Toronto International Film Festival, check it out here. Affleck and Hedges received nominations from the film among its many accomplishments. And I love Ruth Negga from "Loving!" She's nominated for Best Female Lead. Check out my interview with the actress where I told her we'll all remember her name by year's end!

Here's the complete list of the 2017 Independent Spirit Awards Nominations! We'll find out the winners on Feb. 25!

2017 Independent Spirit Awards Nominations

Best Feature:

“American Honey”
“Manchester by the Sea”

Best Director:

Andrea Arnold, “American Honey”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Pablo Larraín, “Jackie”
Jeff Nichols, “Loving”
Kelly Reichardt, “Certain Women”
The Childhood of a Leader

Best First Feature:

“The Childhood of a Leader”
“The Fits”
“Other People”
“Swiss Army Man”
“The Witch”

Best Female Lead:

Annette Bening, “20th Century Women”
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Sasha Lane, “American Honey”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

Best Male Lead:

Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
David Harewood, “Free In Deed”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Jesse Plemons, “Other People”
Tim Roth, “Chronic”

Best Supporting Female:

Edwina Findley, “Free In Deed”
Paulina García, “Little Men”
Lily Gladstone, “Certain Women”
Riley Keough, “American Honey”
Molly Shannon, “Other People”

Best Supporting Male:

Ralph Fiennes, “A Bigger Splash”
Ben Foster, “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Shia LaBeouf, “American Honey”
Craig Robinson, “Morris from America”

Best Screenplay:

Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight” (story by Tarell Alvin McCraney)
Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
Mike Mills, “20th Century Women”
Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias, “Little Men”
Taylor Sheridan, “Hell or High Water”

Best First Screenplay:

Robert Eggers, “The Witch”
Chris Kelly, “Other People”
Adam Mansbach, “Barry”
Stella Meghie, “Jean of the Joneses”
Craig Shilowich, “Christine”

Best Cinematography:

Ava Berkofsky, “Free In Deed”
Lol Crawley, “The Childhood of a Leader”
Zach Kuperstein, “The Eyes of My Mother”
James Laxton, “Moonlight”
Robbie Ryan, “American Honey”

Best Editing:

Matthew Hannam, “Swiss Army Man”
Jennifer Lame, “Manchester by the Sea”
Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders, “Moonlight”
Jake Roberts, “Hell or High Water”
Sebastián Sepúlveda, “Jackie”

John Cassavetes Award:

“Free In Deed”
“Hunter Gatherer”
“Spa Night”

Robert Altman Award:

“American Honey”
“Moonlight” (winner)
“Morris from America”

Best Documentary:

“I Am Not Your Negro”
“O.J.: Made in America”
“Under the Sun”

Best International Film:

“Aquarius” (Brazil)
“Chevalier” (Greece)
“My Golden Days” (France)
“Toni Erdmann” (Germany and Romania)
“Under the Shadow” (Iran and U.K.)

Piaget Producers Award:

Lisa Kjerulff
Jordana Mollick
Melody C. Roscher & Craig Shilowich

23rd Annual Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award:

Andrew Ahn, “Spa Night”
Claire Carré, “Embers”
Anna Rose Holmer, “The Fits”
Ingrid Jungermann, “Women Who Kill”

22nd Truer Than Fiction Award:

Kristi Jacobson, “Solitary”
Sara Jordenö, “Kiki”
Nanfu Wang, “Hooligan Sparrow”

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LA LA LAND to Receive the Vanguard Award at Palm Springs International Film Festival 

Yay! One of my favorite films of the year is receiving the Vanguard Award in my own backyard -- the Palm Springs International Film Festival! Woot Woot! Take a look at the press release:

Palm Springs, CA (November 21, 2016) – The 28th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present the film La La Land with the Vanguard Award at its La La Landannual Film Awards Gala. The award is presented to the film’s cast and director recognizing its outstanding creative ensemble. Cast members Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and director/writer Damien Chazelle are expected to attend. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mart Hart, will be held Monday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2-16.

“Director and writer Damien Chazelle delivers a resonant cinematic masterpiece with La La Land,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “This visually stunning film pays tribute to classic Hollywood musicals with a contemporary love story driven by pitch-perfect performances by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. It is our honor to present the Vanguard Award to La La Land.”

Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Damien Chazelle, La La Land, from Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label, tells the story of an aspiring actress, Mia (Emma Stone), and a dedicated jazz musician, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), both struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern-day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.

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Did Miles Teller Stuff a Banana in His Undies? What He Revealed in “Bleed for This” Interview 

From “Footloose” to the “Divergent” series, it was always a pleasure talking to Miles Teller. I sat down with the actor to talk about “Bleed for This” where he plays real-life World Champion Boxer Vinnie Pazienza. Apparently, the boxer told him to stuff a banana in his undies to film his weigh-in scene. Did Miles Teller need a banana for props? Take a look at my fun interview with the actor for “Bleed for This.”

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Aaron Eckhart Trained with Manny Pacquiao’s Trainer for “Bleed for This” 

I love talking with Aaron Eckhart, especially with a movie that has “No Fallen” on the title! HA! In “Bleed for This,” he stars as Vinnie Pazienza’s trainer Kevin Rooney. He virtually disappeared in the role as he gained weight and lost his hair. Take a look at my interview with Aaron Eckhart for “Bleed for This.”

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The Lovely Katey Sagal Talks About Her Role in “Bleed for This” 

We all fell in love with Katey Sagal as Peg Bundy in “Married with Children.” Now, she’s playing a different kind of mom in “Bleed for This.” She plays the kind of mother who goes to her makeshift altar to smoke cigarettes as she listens to her son’s boxing fight on TV. But she comes from love. See my interview with Sagal for the gripping biopic “Bleed for This.”

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