'The Artist' And 'Take Shelter' Lead Independent Spirit Award Nominations; '50/50,' 'The Descendants,' 'Drive' And 'Beginners' Also Up For Best Feature

The Oscars for movies made for under $20 million, the Independent Spirit Awards, announced their 2012 nominees Tuesday morning. Leading the pack with the most nominations were Jeff Nichols' Michael Shannon-centric Take Shelter and Michel Hazanavicius' black and white silent film The Artist. Those two will compete for the big award, Best Feature Film, with 50/50, The Descendants, Drive and Beginners. Read the rest of the nominees after the jump.

Here is the full list of nominees for the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards. The winners will be announced February 25.

Best Feature Film: Take Shelter, The Artist, 50/50, The Descendants, Drive, BeginnersBest First Feature: Another Earth, In The Family, Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Natural SelectionBest Male Lead: Demian Bichir (A Better Life), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Ryan Gosling (Drive), Woody Harrelson (Rampart), Michael Shannon (Take Shelter)Best Female Lead: Lauren Ambrose (Think of Me), Rachael Harris (Natural Selection), Adepero Oduye (Pariah), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)Best Supporting Male: Albert Brooks (Drive), John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Christopher Plummer (Beginners), John C. Reilly (Cedar Rapids), Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris)Best Supporting Female: Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter), Angelica Huston (50/50), Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs), Harmony Santana (Gun Hll Road), Shaileen Woodley (The Descendants)John Cassavetes Award: Bellflower, Circumstance, Hello Lonesome, Pariah, The DynamiterBest Documentary: An African Selection, Bill Cunningham's New York, The Interrupters, The Redemption of General Butt Naked, We Were HereBest International Film: A Separation, Melancholia, Shame, The Kid With a Bike, TyrannosaurBest Screenplay: Joseph Cedar (FootNote), Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Tom McCarthy (Win Win), Mike Mills (Beginners), Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash (The Descendants)Best First Screenplay: Mike Cahill & Brit Marling (Another Earth), J.C. Chandor (Margin Call), Patrick DeWitt (Terri), Phil Johnston (Cedar Rapids), Will Reiser (50/50)Best Cinematography: Joel Hodge (Bellflower), Benjamin Kuh-Sulk (The Off Hours), Darius Kond-Jee (Midnight in Paris), Gui-omme Shiffman (The Artist), Jeffrey Waldron (The Dynamiter)Someone to Watch Award: Simon Arthur, Mark Jackson, Nicholas OzekiPiaget Producers Award: Chad Burris, Sophia Lin and Josh MondTruer Than Fiction Award: Heather Courtney, Danfung Dennis, and Alma Har'El

For me, the biggest surprise is the total shut out of Sundance darling Like Crazy. Besides that, I love seeing some recognition going to films that likely won't get love from Oscar: 50/50, Win Win, Bellflower, Circumstance, etc. Then there are the films we knew would get massive support both in the Independent Spirit Awards and likely the Academy Awards too: The Descendants, The Artist, Midnight in Paris, etc. Many of the Best Picture nominees here also get Oscar nominations so, unlike many of the larger critics groups, these nominations are a great precursor.

What are you most happy to see here?