Gay romance Call Me By Your Name leads indie films tipped for Oscars glory at Spirit Awards

Actors Timothee Chalamet (left) and Armie Hammer star in Call Me By Your Name, a coming-of-age story about two young men who fall in love during a summer in Italy.
Actors Timothee Chalamet (left) and Armie Hammer star in Call Me By Your Name, a coming-of-age story about two young men who fall in love during a summer in Italy.PHOTO: NYTIMES

LOS ANGELES (Reuters, AFP) - In the past four years, the best feature winner at the Independent Spirit Awards has gone on to win best picture at the Oscars - Moonlight (2016), Spotlight (2015), Birdman (2014) and 12 Years A Slave (2013).

Might Call Me By Your Name be next? The coming-of-age tale led the pack of independent films tipped for Oscars glory as the Spirit Awards nominations were announced on Tuesday (Nov 21).

It landed six nominations including best feature, best director for Luca Guadagnino, best male lead for Timothee Chalamet and best supporting male for Armie Hammer. Set in 1980s Italy, it tells the story of 17-year-old Elio (Chalamet) as he begins a relationship with his father's American research assistant, Oliver (Hammer).

Get Out, Jordan Peele's horror movie and sharp dissection of race relations, landed five nods. It will also be competing for best feature, alongside the coming-of-age tale Lady Bird, the heartland drama The Rider and The Florida Project, about a young girl living on the outskirts of Disney World.

Good Time, brothers Josh's and Benny Safdie's nocturnal crime thriller starring Robert Pattinson, also landed five nominations.

The Spirit Awards, which will be held on March 3 and are hosted by the Film Independent organisation, celebrate artistic films made under US$20 million at an informal lunch on the Santa Monica, California beach the day before Hollywood's glitzy Oscars ceremony.

Chalamet will compete in the best male lead category with Pattinson for Good Time, James Franco for The Disaster Artist, Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out and Harris Dickinson for Beach Rats.

In the best female lead race, Salma Hayek was nominated for Beatriz At Dinner. She is up against Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird, Margot Robbie for I, Tonya, Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Shinobu Terajima for Oh Lucy! and Regina Williams for Life And Nothing More.

Notable omissions in the Spirit Awards nominations this year include Guillermo del Toro's fantasy Shape Of Water in the feature category and Greta Gerwig in the director category. She made her solo directing debut with Lady Bird, which did land four nominations, including best screenplay for her.