2013 Spirit Awards: Middle of Nowhere, Beasts of the Southern Wild Are Big Nominees

PLUS: Rashida Jones, Wendell Pierce and the documentary The Central Park Five all get Indie nods.

Posted: 11/28/2012 09:15 AM EST

(Photo: Forward Movement)

The 28th Annual Independent Spirit Award nominations have been announced and it turns out this was a very good year for African American actors and Black themed films. Both Beasts of the Southern Wild and Middle of Nowhere racked up four nominations each.

Beasts of the Southern Wild, the story of survivors in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, got nods for Best Feature, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Female Lead for eight-year old wunderkind actress and scene-stealer Quevenzhané Wallis. Beasts was a runaway sleeper hit, which grossed over $11 million dollars at the box office.

Ava DuVernay’s quiet and powerful drama Middle of Nowhere also garnered quadruple nominations. DuVernay, who made history this year by becoming the first Black woman to win a Sundance Best Director prize, is one of this year's Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award nominees. The movie's outstanding actors were also recognized for their work, including Emayatzy Corinealdi, who picked up a nomination for Best Female Lead, David Oyelowo, who earned a nod for Best Supporting Male, and veteran actress Lorraine Toussaint, who garnered a nomination for Best Supporting Female.

Parks and Recreations star Rashida Jones was honored for her writing efforts behind the camera. The actress was nominated for Best First Screenplay for her romantic dramedy vehicle Celeste and Jesse Forever. While Tremé star Wendell Pierce earned a Best Male Lead for his role in the drama Four.

Finally, Emmy Award-winning director Ken Burns picked up a Best Documentary nomination for The Central Park Five. The film chronicled the true story of the five innocent youths who were arrested and convicted of raping the woman known as New York City’s Central Park Jogger in 1989.

The Independent Spirit Awards will be handed out on February 23 in Santa Monica, CA.


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