'Past Lives,' 'May December' and 'American Fiction' lead Spirit Award nominations

Celine Song’s “Past Lives,” Todd Haynes’ “May December” and Cord Jefferson’s “American Fiction” got a leading five nominations, including best feature, from the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Natalie Morales and Joel Kim Booster announced the nominees Tuesday on a YouTube livestream.

Song’s quietly romantic film, starring Greta Lee and Teo Yoo as childhood friends who reconnect later in life, earned nominations for her direction, script and for both actors. “May December,” about an actress preparing to play a Mary Kay Letourneau-like role got nods for Natalie Portman, Charles Melton and screenwriter Samy Burch. MGM’s “American Fiction,” featuring Jeffrey Wright as a frustrated novelist, got recognition for Wright, Erika Alexander and Sterling K. Brown. Jefferson was nominated for his script but not for his direction, however.

It was a good morning for A24. In addition to the nominations for “Past Lives,” the indie film company received 11 overall for “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt,” “Earth Mama” and “The Zone of Interest.” Kelly Reichardt’s “Showing Up” was also named winner of the Robert Altman Award.

Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers,” about a curmudgeonly teacher played by Paul Giamatti, got four nominations including for cinematography, best screenplay, best supporting performance for Da’Vine Joy Randolph and best breakthrough for newcomer Dominic Sessa. Neither Payne nor Giamatti were nominated.

The Spirit Awards limit eligibility to productions with budgets of $30 million or less, meaning films like “Oppenheimer,” “Maestro” and “Poor Things” did not qualify for nominations. The organization also switched to gender neutral acting awards in 2022.

Lead performance nominees include Wright, Lee, Yoo, Portman, Jessica Chastain (“Memory”), Trace Lysette (“Monica”), Judy Reyes (“Birth/Rebirth”), Andrew Scott (“All of Us Strangers”), Franz Rogowski (“Passages”) and Teyana Taylor (“A Thousand and One”).

Supporting performance nods went to Noah Galvin (“Theater Camp”), Anne Hathaway (“Eileen”), Glenn Howerton (“BlackBerry”), Marin Ireland (“Eileen”), Catalina Saavedra (“Rotting in the Sun”) and Ben Whishaw (“Passages”), in addition to the aforementioned Melton, Randolph, Brown and Alexander.

Last year’s big winner was “ Everything Everywhere All At Once,” which accepted seven awards including best feature, best director and acting prizes for Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan – categories it would also go on to win Oscars for.

Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant is hosting the show, which will take place on Feb. 25 in Santa Monica, California. The awards will be streamed live on IMDb and Film Independent’s YouTube channels.

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