Watch the 25th Gotham Independent Film Awards Live! 

Here are the nominees! I'm hoping "Carol" will get lots of love!

Best Feature
"The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
"Heaven Knows What"

Best Documentary
"Approaching the Elephant"
"Cartel Land"
"Heart of a Dog"
"Listen to Me Marlon"
"The Look of Silence"

Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director
Desiree Akhavan for "Appropriate Behavior"
Jonas Carpigano for "Mediterranea"
Marielle Heller for "The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
John Magary for "The Mend"
Josh Mond for "James White"

Best Screenplay
"Carol," Phyllis Nagy
"The Diary of a Teenage Girl," Marielle Heller
"Love & Mercy," Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner
"Spotlight," Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer
"While We’re Young," Noah Baumbach

Best Actor
Christopher Abbott in "James White"
Kevin Corrigan in "Results"
Paul Dano in "Love & Mercy"
Peter Sarsgaard in "Experimenter"
Michael Shannon in "99 Homes"

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett in "Carol"
Blythe Danner in "I’ll See You in My Dreams"
Brie Larson in "Room"
Bel Powley in "The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
Lily Tomlin in "Grandma"
Kristen Wiig in "Welcome to Me "

Breakthrough Actor
Rory Culkin in "Gabriel"
Arielle Holmes in "Heaven Knows What"
Lola Kirke in "Mistress America"
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in "Tangerine"
Mya Taylor in "Tangerine"

Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci and Brian D’Arcy James for their ensemble work in "Spotlight."

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Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! Give Thanks, Eat Lots of Turkey, and Drink Goblets of Egg Nog! 

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Movies To See This Thanksgiving Weekend! 

Two big movies for your Thanksgiving weekend! We have the Disney/Pixar flick “The Good Dinosaur” and the Rocky sequel/reboot “Creed.” Which one is worth your time and money? Take a look at my movie reviews of “The Good Dinosaur” and “Creed.”

Official “The Good Dinosaur” Synopsis

"The Good Dinosaur" asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of. (C) Disney

Official “Creed” Synopsis

Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never knew his famous father,world heavy weight champion Apollo Creed, who died before he was born. Still, there's no denying that boxing is in his blood, so Adonis heads to Philadelphia, the site of Apollo Creed's legendary match with a tough upstart named Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Rocky sees in Adonis the strength and determination he had known in Apollo - the fierce rival who became his closest friend.

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I'm Very Pleased with Independent Spirit Awards Nominees! Check Out Full List! 

Todd Haynes' "Carol" is shaping up to be the movie to beat this awards season. Based on Patricia Highsmith's The Price of Salt, the romantic drama stars Cate Blanchett as an older, married woman who is developing some strong feelings towards a seasonal shopgirl played by Rooney Mara. And the actresses may have to prepare their acceptance speeches! "Carol" leads the pack of nominees for the 31st Independent Spirit Awards!

I'm also very happy that "Tangerine" by Sean Baker received 4 nods for Best Feature, Director, Female Lead (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez), and Supporting Female for Mya Taylor. shot mostly on iPhone, this small-budget wonder is truly what the Independent Spirit is all about!

Some of my few gripes are not a whole lot of love for the fantastic "Room" (just screenplay, female lead for Brie Larson, and editing -- what about the awesome child actor Jason Tremblay?), and that Lily Tomlin was completely shutout for "Grandma!"

As always, we'll find out the winners the night before the Oscars on Saturday, February 27th.

Here's the complete list of nominations for the 31st Independent Spirit Awards:

Best Feature
Award given to the Producer; Executive Producers are not awarded.
"Beasts of No Nation"

Best Director
Cary Joji Fukunaga, "Beasts of No Nation"
Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, "Anomalisa"
David Robert Mitchell, "It Follows"
Sean Baker, "Tangerine"
Todd Haynes, "Carol"
Tom McCarthy, "Spotlight"

Best Screenplay
Charlie Kaufman, "Anomalisa"
Donald Margulies, "The End of the Tour"
Phyllis Nagy, "Carol"
S. Craig Zahler, "Bone Tomahawk"
Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, "Spotlight"

Best First Screenplay
Emma Donoghue, "Room"
Jesse Andrews, "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl"
John Magary, Russell Harbaugh, Myna Joseph, "The Mend"
Jonas Carpignano, "Mediterranea"
Marielle Heller, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl"

Best First Feature
Award given to the director and producer.
"James White"
"Manos Sucias"
"Songs My Brothers Taught Me"
"The Diary of a Teenage Girl"

Best Female Lead
Bel Powley, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
Brie Larson, "Room"
Cate Blanchett, "Carol"
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, "Tangerine"
Rooney Mara, "Carol"

Best Male Lead
Abraham Attah, "Beasts of No Nation"
Ben Mendelsohn, "Mississippi Grind"
Christopher Abbott, "James White"
Jason Segal, "The End of the Tour"
Koudous Seihon, "Mediterranea"

Best Supporting Female
Cynthia Nixon, "James White"
Jennifer Jason Leigh, "Anomalisa"
Marin Ireland, "Glass Chin"
Mya Taylor, "Tangerine"
Robin Bartlett, "H."

Best Supporting Male
Idris Elba, "Beasts of No Nation"
Kevin Corrigan, "Results"
Michael Shannon, "99 Homes"
Paul Dano, "Love & Mercy"
Richard Jenkins, "Bone Tomahawk"

Best Documentary
"Best of Enemies"
"Heart of a Dog"
"The Look of Silence"
"The Russian Woodpecker"

Best Cinematography
Cary Joji Fukunaga, "Beasts of No Nation"
Ed Lachman, "Carol"
Joshua James Richards, "Songs My Brothers Taught Me"
Michael Gioulakis, "It Follows"
Reed Morano, "Meadowland"

Best Editing
Julo C. Perez IV, "It Follows"
Kristan Sprague, "Manos Sucias"
Nathan Nugent, "Room"
Ronald Bronstein and Benny Safdie, "Heaven Knows What"
Tom McArdle, "Spotlight"

Best International Film
"A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence"
"Embrace of the Serpent"
"Son of Saul"

John Cassavetes Award
Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director and producer; Executive Producers are not awarded.
"Christmas, Again"
"Heaven Knows What"
"Out of My Hand"

Robert Altman Award

Kiehl's Someone to Watch Award
The 22nd annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.
Chloe Zhao, "Songs My Brothers Taught Me"
Felix Thompson, "King Jack"
Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, "God Bless the Child"

Piaget Producers Award
The 19th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.
Darren Dean
Mel Eslyn
Rebecca Green & Laura D. Smith

Truer Than Fiction
The 21st annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters.
Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti, "A Woman Like Me"
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, "Incorruptible"
Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi, "Among the Believers"

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"Spotlight" Director Tom McCarthy to Receive Sonny Bono Visionary Award at 27th Annual PSIFF Awards Gala 

Tom McCarthy, the fantastic director who gave us the thought-provoking "Spotlight," is going to be honored at the upcoming Palm Springs International Film Festival. He will join Johnny Depp (Desert Palm Achievement Award Actor for "Black Mass"), Brie Larson (Breakthrough Performance Award for the amazing "Room"), Saoirse Ronan (I love her in "Brooklyn" and she is set to receive the International Star Award), and Cate Blanchett (Desert Palm Achievement Award Actress for the twofer "Carol" and "Truth"). I will be live at the red carpet and will give you the very latest! For now, here's the complete press release regarding Tom McCarthy:

Palm Springs, CA (November 24, 2015) – The 27th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Spotlight director Tom McCarthy with the Sonny Bono Visionary Award at its annual Awards Gala. Past recipients of the Sonny Bono Visionary Award include filmmakers Tom Hooper, Danny Boyle, Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater and Michel Hazanavicius. McCarthy will join previously announced 2016 honorees Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan. The Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart and presenting sponsor Entertainment Tonight, will be held Saturday, January 2, at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 1-11.

“Tom McCarthy’s latest feature is the critically acclaimed Spotlight, a remarkable film that creates cinematic tension between two institutions, as The Boston Globe investigates the Catholic Church,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “For his expert storytelling of this subject matter, The Palm Springs International Film Festival is proud to present Tom McCarthy with the Sonny Bono Visionary Award.”

Spotlight is a film about the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning team of investigative journalists, who in 2002 shocked the city and the world by exposing the Catholic Church’s systematic cover-up of widespread pedophilia perpetrated by more than 70 local priests. Presented by Open Road Films, Spotlight was co-written by McCarthy and Josh Singer, produced by Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon, and stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Brian d’Arcy James and Billy Crudup.

McCarthy's list of filmmaking credits include The Station Agent, (which won a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay and two Independent Spirit Awards) Win Win, The Visitor, The Cobbler, and Up (which earned him an Oscar® nomination for Best Original Screenplay).

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Black Tie Awards Gala, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who, in recent years, have included Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, David O. Russell, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.

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