The 2009 Spirit Award Nominations

“Rachel Getting Married,” “Ballast” and “Frozen River” dominated the field when the 2009 Spirit Award nominations were announced yesterday morning.

The three films scored six nominations and will vie against each other in the best feature, actress, first screenplay and director categories.

Kelly Reichardt’s “Wendy and Lucy” and Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” also scored best feature nominations and acting nods (Michelle Williams and Mickey Rourke respectively).

Also scoring noms were “The Visitor” for best actor (Richard Jenkins) & director (Tom McCarthy); “The Hurt Locker” for best actor (Jeremy Renner) and supporting actor (Anthony Mackie); “Towelhead” for best actress (Summer Bishil); “Chop Shop” for best director (Ramin Bahrani); “The Wackness” for first screenplay (Jonathan Levine); and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” for best actor (Javier Bardem).

“The Class,” “Hunger,” “Silent Light,” “Secret of the Grain” and “Gomorrah” are vying for best foreign film. “The Betrayal,” “Encounters at the End of the World,” “Man on Wire, “The Order of Myths,” and “Up the Yangtze” are competing for best documentary. “In Search of a Midnight Kiss,” “Prince of Broadway,” “The Signal,” “Take Out,” and “Turn the River” will compete for the John Cassavettes award celebrating sub-$500,000 budget films.

The biggest surprise was the exclusions. in the big categories Gus Van Sant’s “Milk” only scored writing (Dustin Lance Black) and acting (Sean Penn, James Franco) nominations. Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” also missed out on both Best Feature and Best Foreign Film noms.

The Robert Altman Award, honoring ensemble films, went to “Synecdoche, New York” which also scored a best screenplay nomination alongside “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “Sugar,” “Savage Grace” and “Sangre De Mi Sangre.”