Spirit Awards nominate wide variety of indie films

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LOS ANGELES, Nov 27 (Reuters) Hollywood launched its award season today with the Spirit Awards for low-budget and art-house movies, nominating films ranging from a look at the life of singer Bob Dylan to the murder of an American journalist.

Director Julian Schnabel's drama, ''The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,'' about a paralyzed French journalist who dictates a book by blinking, and Jason Reitman's comedy ''Juno,'' which tells of a young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, earned nominations for best movie and best director.

Also taking best movie and director nominations were Todd Haynes' ''I'm Not There,'' which attempts to capture the life and music of Dylan, as well as director Gus Van Sant's teenage skateboard drama, ''Paranoid Park.'' The final nominee in the best film category was ''A Mighty Heart,'' about the search for slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and the fifth nominee among directors was Tamara Jenkins for drama ''The Savages,'' which tells of two adult siblings who move their father to a nursing home.

''We have a huge array of talented filmmakers with movies in many different genres. It has been an exciting year for independent film and this shows a deep pool of talent,'' said Dawn Hudson, executive director of Los Angeles-based group Film Independent, which gives out the Spirit Awards.

Film Independent supports moviemakers working outside Hollywood's major studios or within the studios' specialty film divisions. The awards have become an important barometer for which low-budget and art films might compete for Oscars, Golden Globes or other honors in Hollywood's annual awards season.

JOLIE, CHEADLE, HOFFMAN NOMINATED In other top categories, Angelina Jolie was nominated for best leading actress playing Pearl's wife in ''A Mighty Heart'' and relative newcomer Ellen Page earned a nod for ''Juno.'' Joining them were Sienna Miller for ''Interview,'' Parker Posey in ''Broken English'' and another newcomer, China's Tang Wei, in drama ''Lust, Caution.'' In the category for best leading actor, Don Cheadle was nominated for his role as a radio disc jockey in ''Talk To Me'' and Philip Seymour Hoffman earned a nomination playing one of the siblings in ''The Savages.'' Other best actor nominees included veteran Frank Langella in ''Starting Out in the Evening,'' Tony Leung, a veteran of Hong Kong movies, for ''Lust, Caution'' and Pedro Castaneda portraying a migrant worker in ''August Evening.'' Supporting actress nominees were Cate Blanchett, who plays one of the Bob Dylan roles in ''I'm Not There,'' Jennifer Jason Leigh for ''Margot at the Wedding,'' Anna Kendrick in ''Rocket Science,'' Tamara Podemski for ''Four Sheets to the Wind'' and Marisa Tomei with ''Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.'' Supporting actor nominations were claimed by Marcus Carl Franklin in ''I'm Not There,'' Chiwetel Ejiofor in ''Talk to Me,'' Kene Holliday in ''Great World of Sound,'' Irrfan Khan in ''The Namesake'' and Steve Zahn for ''Rescue Dawn.'' Foreign film nominees included Romania's ''4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,'' which was a sensation at May's Cannes film festival, Israeli film ''The Band's Visit,'' Irish drama ''Once'' and two French films, ''Lady Chatterley'' and the animated ''Persepolis.'' Nominated films must have cost less than 20 million dollar and must have played in theaters for at least one week or at a top festival such as the Sundance or Los Angeles Film festivals or those held in Toronto, New York or Telluride, Colorado.

Reuters AK VP0030

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