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It's Ang Lee vs. Gregg Araki!

In 2003, Far From Heaven swept the Independent Spirit Awards: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director for out talent Todd Haynes. In 1999, it was writer-director Bill Condon's Gods and Monsters, winning Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor for out talent Ian McKellen. Haynes's Velvet Goldmine won Best Cinematography that year.

Typically, the Independent Spirit Awards are a parallel universe. Honoring indie films in a Santa Monica, Calif., ceremony the day before the Oscars, the Spirits often laud all those spunky gay-made flicks you wish were getting Academy Awards.

This year, the Oscar and Spirit worlds have collided, with the studio-financed indie Brokebaek Mountain the lead contender in both races. The Spirit nominations, announced in late November, presaged Brokeback's Oscar windfall in four categories: picture, director, lead actor, and supporting actress. Ditto for Capote--a Spirit nominee for picture, screenplay, and actor as well as cinematography--and Transamerica's Felicity Huffman.

But the Spirits (broadcast live on IFC on March 4) reach deeper than Oscar into LGBT filmmaking, with Transamerica also contending for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay. The gay conversion-therapy comedy Fixing Frank faces Transamerica in the first-screenplay competition, while Mysterious Skin's Gregg Araki takes on Ang Lee in the Best Director category. The only Gyllenhaal nominated at the Spirits is Jake's sister, Maggie, up for Best Supporting Actress for gay writer-director Don Roos's Happy Endings. Battling Huffman for Best Actress is S. Epatha Merkerson, for out director George C. Wolfe's Lackawanna Blues.

And here's a far, far in advance preview: In 2007, expect a leading Spirit contender to be Quinceanera from out couple and collaborators Richard Glatzer and Wash West. Their film, in which gay gentrification threatens a Latina girl's Los Angeles home, won both the jury prize and audience-favorite award at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
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Article Details
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Author:Steele, Bruce C.
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 28, 2006
Previous Article:Gay guide to the Oscars: Brokeback Mountain. Capote. Transamerica. No matter who wins--sorry, no matter who the Oscar goes to--this year's Academy...
Next Article:Transamerica and me: writer Katherine Connella remembers coming out as intersexed to her filmmaker friend and housemate Duncan Tucker--not realizing...

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