Alejandro Inarritu's comic fantasy Birdman leads the nominations for the Film Independent Spirit Awards with nods in six categories including best picture. However, the most interesting development to come from Tuesday's list is the nomination of the major studio release - civil rights drama Selma.

BirdmanBirdman leads the Film Independent Spirit Awards, while Michael Keaton [above] is nominated for Best Actor

Birdman also received nominations for Inarritu as director, lead actor Michael Keaton, and supports for Emma Stone and Edward Norton. The movie follows a once-great Hollywood actor trying to reignite his career by mounting a Broadway play.

Boyhood - the current favourite to win Best Picture at the Oscars - was expected to dominate the nominations though Birdman has offered a notable challenge. 

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Given the nature of the selection process, winners of the Spirit Award for Best Picture rarely go on to win the major award at the Oscars. In fact, since 2000, only two movies, The Artist and last year's 12 Years a Slave have triumphed at both ceremonies. However, winners of Best Actor at the Sprits have fared better at the Academy Awards, with Matthew McConaughey, Jean Dujardin, Jeff Bridges and Philip Seymour Hoffman all winning both awards (though Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler and Bill Murray for Lost in Translation were both robbed on cinema's biggest night despite, after winning the Spirit). Michael Keaton - who was nominated on Tuesday - is the current favourite to win Best Actor at the Oscars and it is unlikely that he will be beaten at the Spirits.

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As for Best Actress, it's excellent news for this week's nominees Rinko Kikuchi, Jenny Slate, Tilda Swinton, Julianne Moore and Marion Cotillard given three of the winners of the Spirit Award (Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman) have gone on to win the Oscar since 2010. 

The Film Independent Spirit Awards will take place on February 21, 2015.

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