Once upon a time The Spirit Awards were known as the “indie Oscars”. This handle was generally accepted between the early ’90s to mid 20teens. But that ship began to leave port when the woke Covid virus infected everything and especially after a Branch Davidian cult within the leadership overturned the apple cart by destroying gender acting categories.

I’m not kidding or exaggerating — talent + markeing & publicity are still playing along because “where’s the harm?”, but the Spirits have gone totally wacko, and nobody cares what they think (not really) because they’re encamped on the planet PLuto.

That said, here are HE’s preferences. comments and predictions among the 2024 Film Independent Spirit Award nominations, which popped this moring — Tuesday, 12.5.

Best Feature

ALL OF US STRANGERS / (forget it — Andrew Scott is fine, but Paul Mescal‘s Van Dyke whiskers are a complete stopper)
AMERICAN FICTION / HE, should win, probably will win.
MAY DECEMBER / (even the power of the combined poower of the Freinds of Todd Haynes + the Branch Davidians can’t push this through to a win)
PASSAGES / (generally detestable)
PAST LIVES / (genle, passive, under-energized….peaked last January)
WE GROWN NOW / (who?)

Best Director — i.e., where’s American Fiction‘s Cord Jefferson?

Andrew Haigh, ALL OF US STRANGERS / no way
Todd Haynes, MAY DECEMBER / slight chance but doubtful
William Oldroyd, EILEEN / haven’t seen it
Celine Song, PAST LIVES / winner by deafult? The fix has been “in” for months but is diminishing.
Ira Sachs, PASSAGES / Nope

Best Lead Performance (gender neutral — all sexual persuasions and species are welcome on a “whatever you can hustle up” basis)

Jessica Chastain, Memory” / If it weren’t for American Fiction‘s Jeffrey Wright, I would vote for Chastain — her best peformance since Zero Dark Thirty.
Greta Lee, “Past Lives”
Trace Lysette, “Monica”
Natalie Portman, “May December”
Judy Reyes, “Birth/Rebirth”
Franz Rogowski, “Passages” (hateful)
Andrew Scott, “All of Us Strangers”
Teyana Taylor, “A Thousand and One”
Jeffrey Wright, “American Fiction” / should win but you never know with the Branch Davidians.
Teo Yoo, “Past Lives” (forget it)

Best Supporting Performance

Erika Alexander, “American Fiction” (not a big enoughh role)
Sterling K. Brown, “American Fiction” (playing a no-bullshit gay guy….could win!)
Noah Galvin, “Theater Camp”
Anne Hathaway, “Eileen” (haven’t seen it)
Glenn Howerton, “BlackBerry” / HE is split on preference between Howerton and The HoldoversDa’Vine Joy Randolph — if there were gender categories both would win in their respective categories — Glenn is great in this.
Marin Ireland, “Eileen”
Charles Melton, “May December” / HE will never get the Melton thing — he;s caugth on in a way that defies any known standard or system of industry lkogic other than the fact that he;’s half-Korean on his mother-s side — fairly bizarre
Da’vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers”
Catalina Saavedra, “Rotting in the Sun”
Ben Whishaw, “Passages” (ixnay)

Best Screenplay

“American Fiction” or “The Holdovers” ought to win…equakl perference.

The rest: “Birth Rebirth”, “bottoms”, “Past Lives”, “The Holdovers”

Best International Film<./p> — where is The Taste of Things?

“Anatomy of a Fall” (way overpraised)
“Godland”
“Mami Wata”
“Totem”
“The Zone of Interest” (maybe)