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Helen Mirren and Colin Firth up for Spirit awards

Category: Entertainment

Published: 1st Dec 2009 18:01:42

British actors Dame Helen Mirren and Colin Firth have been nominated for best female lead and best male lead at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Samantha Morton is nominated for best supporting actress for The Messenger.

Dame Helen stars in The Last Station about the death of writer Leo Tolstoy, which leads the charge with five nominations alongside drama Precious.

The awards, which honour independent film and are seen as a warm-up for the Oscars, take place in LA on 5 March.

Altman prize

Precious - based on the novel Push by Sapphire - is also up for five awards including the two leading actress categories. Gabourey Sidibe is nominated for best actress, while Mo'Nique is competing for best supporting female.

The Messenger, which is up for four awards, is about a US army officer who returns home and finds himself in a job where he has to notify the relatives of soldiers who have been killed.

As well as a nod for Morton, the film is also nominated for the best first feature prize, best screenplay and best supporting male - Woody Harrelson.

Life after death

Ethan and Joel's Coen's A Serious Man finds itself with two nominations for best director and best cinematography - it tells the tale of a harassed Jewish father set in 1950s Minnesota, where the Coen brothers grew up.

The Spirit awards have also given it the Robert Altman prize - named after director Robert Altman who died in 2006 - for best filmmaker, casting director and acting ensemble.

Firth is nominated for his role in A Single Man, a British college professor who struggles to find meaning in his life after the sudden death of his partner, Jim.

Firth is up against Jeff Bridges, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Souleymane Sy Savane and Adam Scott.

Dame Helen takes on Maria Bello, Nisreen Faour, Gwyneth Paltrow as well as Sidibe in the best female actress category.

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