Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams Pass First Oscar-Season Test

 Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams and James Franco, your tickets to Oscar season have been punched.

Mickey Rourke, you’ve been punched, too. In a good way, this time.

All actors were front and center as nominations were announced today for the Independent Spirit Awards, the movie-award calendar’s first major test.

Brokeback Mountain costars Hathaway and Williams are up for Best Female Lead for dressing down in the art-house hit Rachel Getting Married and the upcoming Wendy and Lucy, respectively.
Franco is a Supporting Male contender for playing Harvey Milk’s longtime boyfriend in the biopic Milk.Sean Penn, who plays Milk’s titular pioneering politician, scored a Best Male Lead nod, as did Rourke, the former rising star and former pugilist, for his career-resurrecting turn as a career-sputtering grappler in The Wrestler, opening Dec. 19.

Other brand-name nominees include Javier Bardem (Best Male Lead) and Penélope Cruz (Best Supporting Female), for playing two-thirds of Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona threesome; Debra Winger, for playing Hathaway’s mother in Rachel Getting Married; and Rosie Perez, for her turn in the crime drama The Take.

Notable snubs include Milk, which earned four overall nods, but none for Best Feature and Best Director (for Gus Van Sant); Darren Aronofsky, who helmed top contender The Wrestler, but didn’t score a directing nomination; and Scarlett Johansson, left on the outside looking in at the Vicky Cristina Barcelona lovefest.

The Dark Knight’s Heath Ledger and Iron Man’s Robert Downey Jr., among others, were not snubbed—they were not eligible. The Indie Spirit Awards honor films that cost less than $20 million, roughly the light-artillery rounds budget on Hollywood’s top action movies. The year’s biggest indie hit—the church-group favorite Fireproof ($500,000 budget; $32 million gross)—wasn’t snubbed, either. It wasn’t submitted for nomination, its distributor said.

The Best Feature race shapes up like this: the better-known Rachel Getting Married, Wendy and Lucy and The Wrestler versus the lesser-known Ballast and Frozen River.
Rachel Getting Married, Ballast and Frozen River led the nominations, with six each.

Winners are to be announced Feb. 21, the day before the 81st Annual Academy Awards.

Source: E Online