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Thursday, 11 January, 2001, 10:41 GMT
Chuck and Requiem lead awards race
Ellen Burstyn
Ellen Burstyn goes out of her mind in Requiem for a Dream
Stalking comedy Chuck & Buck and drug addiction drama Requiem for a Dream have emerged as hot favourites to win top honours at the coveted Independent Spirit movie awards.

On Wednesday, the two low-budget off-beat movies each picked up five nominations for the US awards - considered the independent movie world's equivalent of the Oscars.

The winners will be announced in Santa Monica on the 24 March, a day before the Academy Awards.

Chuck & Buck
Chuck & Buck has earned five nominations

Also expected to be in for the running for top prizes is the sibling drama You Can Count on Me, which also picked up five nominations.

The Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by non-profit support group Independent Feature Project/West, made up of around 5,000 independent film-makers.

Films are judged on a variety of levels including their provocative subject matter and vision, budget and degree of financing.

One of last year's winners was Hillary Swank, who went on to grab an Oscar for Boys Don't Cry.

The three top nominees in this year's 16th Independent Spirit awards were among some of the most acclaimed releases of 2000.

Chuck & Buck's nominations included best feature under $500,000 (300,000), best director for Miguel Arteta and best debut performance for star Mike White.

Laura Linney and Jon Tenney You Can Count On Me
Laura Linney and Jon Tenney in sibling weepy You Can Count on Me

White plays Buck, who tries to rekindle a friendship with his childhood pal, Chuck - played by Chris Weitz - who lives in a state of perpetual childhood and ends up stalking his friend.

Requiem for a Dream, starring Ellen Burstyn, traces the harrowing tale of the parallel drug addictions of a mother and son.

Among its nominations were those of best director for Darren Aronofsky and best female lead for Burstyn.

You Can Count On Me, which explores the bond between two siblings orphaned as children.

Its nominations included those for best male lead for Mark Ruffalo and best female lead for Laura Linney.

Each film has also taken respectable amounts of money at the box office for arthouse movies on limited release.

Jared Leto in Requiem for a Dream
Jared Leto also starred in Requiem for a Dream

You Can Count On Me has grossed around $5m (3m) to date, Requiem for a Dream has taken around $3m and Chuck & Buck made around $850,000 (569,000) during its summer run.

Three films received four nominations each including Before Night Falls, a biopic about Cuban novelist and poet Reinaldo Arenas, and prison drama The Visit.

More surprising perhaps is that Ang Lee's much praised Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon did not figure higher in the nominations.

The Mandarin-speaking martial arts romance trailed with three nominations, despite being hotly tipped for success at the Oscars.

However, with a budget of $14m (9.3m), Lee had more of a fighting chance of making a quality feature than many of his Spirit awards rivals.

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10 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Soderbergh's awards boost
06 Jan 01 | Entertainment
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