isanominations.jpgI have the flu, but try to follow my over-the-counter-cough-syrup-addled logic for a second: if Sundance moves away from pimping indie-arm Hollywood films in disguise, does that mean, next year, the Independent Spirit Awards will then *have* to honor films that have been made in some kind of actual spirit of independence?

I actually like a lot of the films on Film Independent's just-released short list, but a quick glance at the Best Feature category will reveal five films that are likely to get some variety of Oscar nod, and are very much *not* in need of an extra spotlight: two are directed by A-minus-list actors (Good Night, and Good Luck and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada); one looks an awful lot like above-board, Best Actor Oscar bait (Capote), and the other two (Brokeback Mountain and The Squid and the Whale) are interesting, slightly risky films simply packed with Hollywood stars.

Still, there are some interesting surprises. Jay Duplass and The Puffy Chair earned multiple nods; The War Within got a screenplay nomination; and Mysterious Skin, my favorite film of the year, was awarded one single, solitary, very major nomination: a Best Director nod for Gregg Araki. Does he, an obstinately underground director responsible for a film seen by virtually no one, have any kind of chance against the likes of Ang Lee and George Clooney? Probably not. But he'll probably wear a more interesting suit, at least.