The Indie Spirit Awards announced their nominations this morning, honoring a whole bunch of films that were only seen by film critics, artsy intellectuals and/or people who accidentally walked into the wrong theater while on their way to watch Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I kid, of course, because if it wasn't for shows like the Spirit Awards, a number of really great independent films (and performances) would probably go unnoticed. So I command you to check out the list of nominees after the jump and start tracking them down one by one (either in theaters or on DVD). Go! Now!

This year's crop of nominees is definitely stirring the pot a little bit. Surprises include Maria Bello for Best Female Lead in Downloading Nancy, a film that all of about one person (me!) actually enjoyed. 500 Days of Summeralso took home a couple nods for Best Feature and Best Male Lead (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and even the viciously panned Gentlemen Broncos walked away with a nod for Best Supporting Male (Jermaine Clement). One of the more interesting (and talked-about) nominations went to Paranormal Activity in the Best First Feature category, alongside other notable indies like A Single Man, Crazy Heart, Easier with Practice and The Messenger.

But does Paranormal Activity really belong there, or is it being honored more because of what it achieved at the box office versus how good it actually is? I've seen some already poking fun at the nomination on Twitter, as if it doesn't deserve to shine the shoes of the other films listed alongside it. But is that just because it doesn't fit the 'Best Picture" mold? Is it because it's become a "fanboy" film?