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Transamerica, Mysterious Skin, and
Brokeback Mountain among Independent Spirit
Awards contenders

Transamerica, Mysterious Skin, and
Brokeback Mountain among Independent Spirit
Awards contenders

With six nominations, Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale, the autobiographical tale of two boys dealing with their parents' divorce, led the list of nominees for Film Independent's 2006 Independent Spirit Awards, which were announced Tuesday morning. It will compete for Best Feature with Brokeback Mountain; Capote; Good Night, and Good Luck; and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which all picked up four nominations each. Selected from more than 200 submissions, winners of the Independent Spirit Awards, which recognize American independent features, made for less than $20 million, will be presented March 4 in Santa Monica, Calif.

Jeff Daniels, who plays the novelist dad in Squid, was nominated for Best Male Lead, along with Philip Seymour Hoffman, who portrays the title character in Capote; Terrence Howard, who stars as a pimp who aspires to be a rapper in Hustle & Flow; Heath Ledger, who's a taciturn cowboy who falls in love with another man in Brokeback Mountain; and David Strathairn, who embodies journalist Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck.

In the Best Female Lead category, Squid also earned a nomination for Laura Linney, who plays a mom who is having an affair. The category also includes Felicity Huffman, who appears as a male-to-female transsexual in Transamerica; Dina Korzun, in the role of a Russian woman living in Memphis in Forty Shades of Blue; S. Epatha Merkerson, who runs a boarding house in Lackawanna Blues; and Cyndi Williams, who plays a Texas woman haunted by psychic visions in Room.

Nominees for Best Supporting Female are Amy Adams, Junebug; Maggie Gyllenhaal, Happy Endings; Allison Janney, Our Very Own; Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain; and Robin Wright Penn, Nine Lives. Those nominated for Best Supporting Male are Firdous Bamji, The War Within; Matt Dillon, Crash; Jesse Eisenberg, The Squid and the Whale; Barry Pepper, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada; and Jeffrey Wright, Broken Flowers.

Of the Best Feature nominees, three of the films also picked up nominations for Best Director: Brokeback's Ang Lee, Good Night's George Clooney, and Squid's Noah Baumbach. The other two Best Director nominations went to Gregg Araki for Mysterious Skin, a tale of how sexual molestation shapes the lives of two boys; and Rodrigo Garcia for Nine Lives, a portrait of nine different women.

Nominations for Best First Feature, an award that goes to directors as well as producers, include: Crash, directed by Paul Haggis and produced by Cathy Schulman, Don Cheadle, Bob Yari, Mark R. Harris, Bobby Moresco, and Paul Haggis; Lackawanna Blues, directed by George C. Wolfe and produced by Nellie Nugiel; Me and You and Everyone We Know, directed by Miranda July and produced by Gina Kwon; Thumbsucker, directed by Mike Mills and produced by Anthony Bregman and Bob Stephenson; and Transamerica, directed by Duncan Tucker and produced by Rene Bastian, Sebastian Dungan, and Linda Moran.

Nominations in other categories include:

John Cassavetes Award, for Best First Feature Made for Under $500,000: Brick, Conventioneers, Jellysmoke, The Puffy Chair, and Room

Best Screenplay: Ayad Akhtar, Joseph Castelo, and Tom Glynn for The War Within; Guillermo Arriaga for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada; Baumbach for The Squid and the Whale; Dan Futterman for Capote; and Garcia for Nine Lives

Best First Screenplay: Kenneth Hanes for Fixing Frank, July for Me and You and Everyone We Know, Angus MacLachlan for Junebug, Sabina Murray for The Beautiful Country, and Duncan Tucker for Transamerica

Best Cinematography: Robert Elswit for Good Night, and Good Luck, John Foster for Keane, Adam Kimmel for Capote, Chris Menges for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, and Harris Savides for Last Days

Best Foreign Film: Christi Puiu's The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Romania); Fernando Eimbcke's Duck Season (Mexico); Fatih Akin's Head-On (Germany/Turkey); Hany Abu-Assad's Paradise Now (Palestine/Netherlands/Germany/France), and Jun Ichikawa's Tony Takitani (Japan)

Best Documentary: Alex Gibney's Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room; Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man; Scott Dalton and Margarita Martinez's La Sierra; Mark Becker's Romantico; and David Zeiger's Sir! No Sir!

The IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award, recognizing a filmmaker "who has not yet received appropriate recognition": Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana, directors of Cavite; Robinson Devor, director of Police Beat; and Jay Duplass, director of The Puffy Chair

The Truer Than Fiction Award, presented to an emerging director of nonfiction features: Rachel Boynton for Our Brand Is Crisis; Garrett Scott and Ian Olds for Occupation: Dreamland; Mark Becker for Romantico; and Thomas Allen Harris for Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela

The AMC/American Express Producers Award, honoring emerging producers: Caroline Baron for Capote and Monsoon Wedding; Ram Bergman for Brick and Conversations With Other Women; and Mike S. Ryan for Junebug and Palindromes. (Gregg Kilday, via Reuters)

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