Fox Searchlight's Sideways cast its shadow over the competition yesterday (30)when it was nominated for six 2005 IFP Independent Spirit Awards.

Alexander Payne's film wasfollowed by Fine Line Features' Maria Full Of Grace on five and Wolfe Releasing's Brother To Brother, THINKFilm's Primer, Robbing Peter (no distributor) and Fox Searchlight's Kinsey on four apiece.

Sideways will compete for Best Feature honours with Kinsey, Maria Full Of Grace, Primerand Sony Pictures Classics' Baadasssss! Fox Searchlight ruled the roost among distributors with 14 nominationsoverall.

Kevin Bacon got his Oscarcampaign officially underway with a Best Male Lead nomination for his role in TheWoodsman. Bacon faces stiffcompetition from Jeff Bridges for The Door In The Floor, Paul Giamatti for Sideways - his second consecutive nomination following onefor American Splendor last year -Liam Neeson for Kinsey and JamieFoxx for Redemption.

Best Female Lead nomineespit Catalino Sandino Moreno for Maria Full Of Grace against Kyra Sedgwick for Cavedweller, Judy Marte for On The Outs, Kimberly Elise for Woman Thou Art Loosed, and Vera Farmiga for Down To The Bone.

Supporting male contendersinclude Thomas Haden Church for Sideways, Peter Sarsgaard for Kinseyand Aidan Quinn for Cavedweller,while their female counterparts include Cate Blanchett for Coffee AndCigarettes, Virginia Madsen for Sideways and Loretta Devine for Woman Thou Art Loosed.

Walter Salles receives aBest Director nomination for The Motorcycle Diaries and he goes against Alexander Payne for Sideways, Joshua Marston for Maria Full Of Grace, Shane Carruth for Primer - one of three nominations for him - and Mario VanPeebles for Baadasssss!

Salles' picture does notfeature among Best Foreign Film nominees, however, where Pedro Almodovar's BadEducation (Spain) goes againstcompatriot Alejandro Amenabar's The Sea Inside, Lee Chang-Dong's Oasis (South Korea), Cedric Kahn's Red Lights (France), and Darrell James Roodt's Yesterday (South Africa).

Screenplay nominees includePayne and Jim Taylor for Sideways,Bill Condon for Kinsey, andRichard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke for Before Sunset.

Garden State is among Best First feature nominees, as is NapoleonDynamite and The Woodsman.

Documentary contendersinclude Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster, Jonathan Caouette's Tarnation, and Ross McElwee's Bright Leaves.

Jacob Aaron Estes' MeanCreek receives a nomination in theJohn Cassavetes category for features made for less than $500,000, as doesDebra Granik's Down To The Boneand Ferenc Toth's Unknown Soldier.

"What's striking to me ishow strong the films are across the spectrum of budgets," Dawn Hudson, IFP/LosAngeles executive director, told Screendaily.

"Films like Napoleon Dynamite, Mean Creek and Primer have uniquevisions, as do titles at the higher cost end such as Sideways, Kinseyand The Motorcycle Diaries. We'revery proud of the nominees."

Once again, the Spirits arecausing confusion in the industry since the inclusion of Sideways has peopleasking what IFP's criteria are.

Hudson said that the picturewas purchased by Fox Searchlight for $16m and was therefore eligible fornomination. This does not concur with sources close to the picture who claimthat the picture didn't cost less than $18m.

IFP/Los Angeles guidelinesstate that one of the defining criteria of an independent picture is "economyof means", which includes budgets of up to $15m. However the nominatingcommittee has the prerogative to select pictures with slightly higher budgetsif they are deemed to be "unique, original and provocative".

The 11th annualTurning Leaf Someone To Watch Award finalists are Chain director Jem Cohen, Dear Pillow director Bryan Poyser, and The Time We Killed director Jennifer Reeves.

The 9th annualDIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction finalists are Zana Briski and Ross Kaufman for BornInto Brothels, Shola Lynch for Chisholm'72, Jehane Noujaim for ControlRoom, and Carlos Sandoval andCatherine Tambini for Farmingville.

The 8th annual Bravo/AmericanExpress Producers Award nominees are Gina Kwon for The Good Girl and Me And You And Everyone We Know,Danielle Renfrew for November and Groove, and Sean CCovel and Chris Wyatt for Napoleon Dynamite and Think Tank.

A special distinction awardwill go to the ensemble cast of Mean Creek, namely Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, JoshPeck and Carly Schroeder.

"These young actors turnedin performances so uniformly unselfish and so intricately in tune with oneanother that it became impossible to single any one of them out from theirextraordinary achievement together," a statement from the nominating committeeread.

"Their work is of such highquality that it moves beyond craft to achieve that mysterious truth and beautythat constitutes the finest acting."

The awards will be presentedat the traditional gala ceremony on Santa Monica beach on Feb 28 2005.

2005 IFP INDEPENDENTSPIRIT AWARD NOMINATIONS:

BEST FEATURE (award given to the producer)

Baadasssss! (Mario Van Peebles)
Kinsey (Gail Mutrux)
Maria Full Of Grace (Paul Mezey)
Primer (Shane Carruth)
Sideways (Michael London)

BEST FIRST FEATURE (award given to the director and producer)

Brother To Brother (Dir: Rodney Evans. Prods: Rodney Evans, Jim McKay,Isen Robbins, Aimee Schoof)

Garden State (Dir: Zach Braff. Prods: Pamela Abdy, Gary Gilbert,Dan Halsted, Richard Klubeck)

Napoleon Dynamite (Dir: Jared Hess. Prods: Jeremy Coon, Sean C Covel,Chris Wyatt)

Saints And Soldiers (Dir: Ryan Little. Prods: Adam Abel, Ryan Little)

The Woodsman (Dir: Nicole Kassell. Prods: Lee Daniels)

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD forthe best feature made under $500,000 (award given to the writer, director andproducer)

Down To The Bone (Dir: Debra Granik. Scr: Debra Granik, RichardLieske. Prods: Susan Leber, Anne Rosellini)

Mean Creek (Dir/scr: Jacob Aaron Estes. Prods: Susan Johnson,Rick Rosenthal, Hagai Shaham)

On The Outs (Dirs: Lori Silverbush, Michael Skolnik. Scr: LoriSilverbush. Prods: Lori Silverbush, Michael Skolnik)

Robbing Peter (Dir/scr: Mario F de la Vega. Prods: T ToddFlinchum, Lisa Y Garibay, Mario F de la Vega)

Unknown Soldier (Dir/scr: Ferenc Toth. Prods: Sean Bachrodt, SethEisman, Chachi Senior, Ferenc Toth)

BEST DIRECTOR

Shane Carruth Primer

Joshua Marston Maria FullOf Grace

Alexander Payne Sideways

Walter Salles TheMotorcycle Diaries

Mario Van Peebles Baadasssss!

BEST SCREENPLAY

Baadasssss! Mario Van Peebles, Dennis Haggerty

Before Sunset Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke

The Door In The Floor Tod Williams

Kinsey Bill Condon

Sideways Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

Rodney Evans Brother ToBrother

Zach Braff Garden State

Joshua Marston Maria FullOf Grace

Shane Carruth Primer

Mario F de la Vega RobbingPeter

BEST FEMALE LEAD

Kimberly Elise Woman ThouArt Loosed

Vera Farmiga Down To TheBone

Judy Marte On The Outs

Catalina Sandino Moreno MariaFull Of Grace

Kyra Sedgwick Cavedweller

BEST MALE LEAD

Kevin Bacon The Woodsman

Jeff Bridges The Door InThe Floor

Jamie Foxx Redemption

Paul Giamatti Sideways

Liam Neeson Kinsey

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

Cate Blanchett Coffee AndCigarettes

Loretta Devine Woman Thou Art Loosed

Virginia Madsen Sideways

Robin Simmons RobbingPeter

Yenny Paola Vega MariaFull Of Grace

BEST SUPPORTING MALE

Thomas Haden Church Sideways

Jon Gries NapoleonDynamite

Aidan Quinn Cavedweller

Roger Robinson Brother ToBrother

Peter Sarsgaard Kinsey

BEST DEBUT PERFORMANCE

Anthony Mackie Brother ToBrother

Louie Olivos Jr RobbingPeter

Hannah Pilkes TheWoodsman

Rodrigo de la Serna TheMotorcycle Diaries

David Sullivan Primer

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Tim Orr Dandelion

Eric Gautier TheMotorcycle Diaries

David Greene Redemption

Ryan Little Saints AndSoldiers

Maryse Alberti We DonC;tLive Here Anymore

BEST DOCUMENTARY (awardgiven to the director)

Bright Leaves (Dir: Ross McElwee)

Chisholm '72: Unbought& Unbossed (Dir: Shola Lynch)

Hiding And Seeking: FaithAnd Tolerance After The Holocaust (Dir:Menachem Daum, Oren Rudavsky)

Metallica: Some Kind OfMonster (Joe Berlinger, BruceSinofsky)

Tarnation (Dir: Jonathan Caouette)

BEST FOREIGN FILM (awardgiven to the director)

Bad Education - Spain (Dir:Pedro Almodovar)

Oasis- South Korea (Dir: Lee Chang-Dong)

Red Lights - France (Dir: Cedric Kahn)

The Sea Inside - Spain (Dir:Alejandro Amenabar)

Yesterday - South Africa (Dir: Darrell James Roodt)

SPECIAL DISTINCTION Ensemble cast, Mean Creek

Rory Culkin

Ryan Kelley

Scott Mechlowicz

Trevor Morgan

Josh Peck

Carly Schroeder