By Dave Karger
Updated November 22, 2010 at 09:32 PM EST
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We’re only a week away from the Nov. 30 announcement of the Film Independent Spirit Award nominees, which always manage to sneak a few pleasant surprises (like The Vicious Kind‘s Adam Scott last year) in with the expected indie hits. So here are three contenders I’m hoping might be recognized along with surefire nominees like The Kids Are All Right, Winter’s Bone, and Blue Valentine.

Best Actor: Dermot Mulroney, Inhale You’ve probably never heard of this drama, which was released last month. The story of an assistant D.A. who travels to dangerous Juarez, Mexico, to buy black-market lungs for his seriously ill daughter, it’s not always easy to watch. But Mulroney (pictured, left) gives a forceful performance as a dad who has run out of options.

Best Supporting Actress: Ann Guilbert, Please Give Just looking at her face (pictured, center) makes me laugh. As Catherine Keener’s grumpy New York City neighbor who just won’t die, the Dick Van Dyke Show veteran simply steals the show. Check out the trailer to see how she turns one word (“Dry”) into a comedic master class.

Best Foreign Film: Animal Kingdom Since it’s Australian, this is the only category where the riveting crime drama is eligible. Just for the mesmerizingly villainous performance of Ben Mendelsohn (pictured, right) alone, David Michod’s twisted family tale deserves a slot.

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