Oregon-filmed First Cow is a contender for some of the top prizes at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Nominees were announced this morning, officially kicking off awards season honoring movies that were never shown on a big screen due to the pandemic. While the ceremonies will all surely look a lot different this year—the 36th annual Spirit Awards has been pushed back several months to April—there's no way the film industry would abandon its tradition of statuettes and teary speeches.
First Cow, the latest Western by Kelly Reichardt, is up for three awards: Best Feature, Best Director and Best Supporting Male for Orion Lee.
Lee plays King Lu, a Chinese immigrant who teams up with Cookie (John Magaro), a meek cook for a party of fur trappers, to launch a successful fried cake business in the Oregon Territory. The only problem is their recipe requires milk, which they end up pilfering in the middle of a night from a landowner's prized cow.
The script is loosely adapted from Portland author Jonathan Raymond's 2004 novel, The Half-Life, and adds the adorable titular farm animal to the parable on early American capitalism.
Reichardt has long trained her lens on Oregon, exploring the far stretches of the eastern part of the state in Meek's Cutoff (2010) to the gritty streets of North Portland in Wendy and Lucy (2008).
First Cow involved the re-creation of the nearly 200-year-old Fort Umpqua and the assistance of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde's Chachalu Museum in depicting traditional artifacts.
Even though there is no category for Eve the cow, she clearly deserves recognition as the the most charming bovine ever to appear onscreen.
You can tune into IFC to root for the rest of the film's players starting at 7 pm Thursday, April 22. See the full list of nominees here.