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'Precious,' 'Last Station' lead Spirit noms

Gabourey Sidibe earned a "best female lead" Independent Spirit Award nomination for her portrayal of "Precious."
Gabourey Sidibe earned a "best female lead" Independent Spirit Award nomination for her portrayal of "Precious."
  • "Precious" and "Last Station" both lead Independent Spirit Award nominations
  • Acclaimed indie "Hurt Locker" didn't earn any nominations, as it was nominated last year
  • "(500) Days of Summer" is up for best picture, along with "Amreeka," "Sin Nombre"

(CNN) -- "Precious," a movie about a 1980s-era Harlem teen who strives to overcome abuse, neglect and illiteracy, pulled five Independent Spirit Award nominations Tuesday morning.

Stars Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique were both recognized for their portrayals of a mother and daughter in a dysfunctional relationship, with a best female lead nomination for newcomer Sidibe and a best supporting female nomination for Mo'Nique.

The film's success is not entirely a surprise, considering that the Oprah Winfrey- and Tyler Perry-backed Sundance darling has earned $27 million at the domestic box office and was received well by audiences during its slow rollout in cities across the nation in November.

Sidibe's work in "Precious" has been one of the breakout roles of the year, and the young actress is rumored to be the star of a new series, "The C Word."

However, it hasn't been all smooth for "Precious": The film earned zero nominations for the Gotham Independent Film Awards, which were given out Monday night. The Gotham awards are a New York-based indie film honor.

"The Hurt Locker," by contrast, took home two Gotham awards Monday night, one for best picture and the other for best ensemble. There were no Independent Spirit Award nominations for this Iraq war drama, however, as it was nominated last year.

For the Spirits, "Precious" is facing off against the Zooey Deschanel-driven "(500) Days of Summer," "Amreeka," "The Last Station" and "Sin Nombre" for best picture. "Summer" also snagged a nomination for best male lead, a nod for Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

On top of the best picture nomination, "The Last Station" -- a biographical piece about Leo Tolstoy featuring James McAvoy, Helen Mirren and Paul Giamatti -- is up for best director, best screenplay, best female lead and best supporting male lead.

Christian McKay, another relatively unknown actor in the United States, has gotten lots of love from critics for his portrayal of Orson Welles in Richard Linklater's "Me and Orson Welles," and the Spirit Awards noticed, giving the British actor a nomination for best supporting male performer.

In order to be considered, all films had to be 70 minutes long with a budget under $20 million, and had to have screened at one of the major film festivals, such as Sundance or Toronto.

The awards ceremony is typically held the Saturday before the Academy Awards, but since the Spirit Awards are celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2010, they're moving out from under Oscar's shadow and will air live on the Independent Film Channel on March 5.