2019/2020 Key Dates
Film Critics Update: Today, December 5 - Winners from New York FCC.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations


This edition awards ceremony on February 8, 2020 marks the 35th anniversary of the Spirit Awards and what started as a casual industry luncheon in small West Hollywood eatery has become a larger event in a much nicer tent in Santa Monica, just the day before the Oscars ceremony. So, congratulations are in order.

On November 21st, Zazie Beetz and Natasha Lyonne announced the nominees in Los Angeles and there are not many surprises as two of 2019 indie favorites, Uncut Gems and The Lighthouse top the nods with five each; but what can be surprising is Uncut Gems getting noms almost in all major categories while The Lighthouse not. Indie films I have been monitoring, Marriage Story and The Farewell got nominations and according to me, those are in the right categories; unsurprisingly The Hustlers also landed a few noms and makes Jennifer Lopez Oscar nomination more probable but still wonder if will be in lead or supporting actress category.


According to Film Independent president Josh Welsh, 45% of the directing and writing nominees are women and 30% are people of color; if accurate, data is shows an industry event with high diversity content. 

The highest-profile Oscar contender with nominations undoubtedly is Netflix's Marriage Story and in case you wonder, other Netflix movies, The Irishman and The Laundromat excedeed the Spirits US#22.5 million budget cap.

The Nominees

Best Feature
A Hidden Life, Terrence Malick, Germany and USA
Clemency, Chinonye Chukwu, USA
Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach, USA
The Farewell, Lulu Wang, USA and China
Uncut Gems, Benny Sadfie and Josh Sadfi, USA

Best First Feature
Booksmart, Olivia Wilde, USA
Diane, Ken Jones, USA
See You Yesterday, Stefon Bristol, USA
The Climb, Michael Angelo Covino, USA
The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Joe Talbot, USA
The Mustang, Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, France and Belgium

John Cassavetes Award (Given to feature film made under $500,000)
Burning Cane, Phillip Youmans, USA
Colewell, Tom Quinn, USA
Give Me Liberty,  Kirill Mikhanovsky, USA
Premature, Rashaad Ernesto Green, USA
Wild Nights with Emily, Madeleine Olnek, USA

Best Documentary
American Factory, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, USA
Apolo 11, Todd Doublas Miller, USA
For Sama, Edward Watts, UK
Медена земја Medena Zemja (Honeylad), Tamara Kotevsk and Ljubomir Stefanov, North Macedonia
Island of the Hungry Ghosts, Gabrielle Brady, Germany, UK and Australia

Best International Film
A Vida Invisível de Eurídice Gusmão (The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão), Karim Aïnouz Brazil
Les Misérables, Ladj Ly , France
기생충 Gisaengchoong (Parasite), Bong Joon-ho, South Korea
Portrait de la Jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Céline Sciamma, France
Retablo, Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio, Peru
The Souvenir, Joanna Hogg, UK and USA

Best Director
Robert Eggers for The Lighthouse, USA
Alma Har'el for Honey Boy, USA
Julius Onah for Luce, USA
Benny Sadfie and Josh Sadfie for Uncut Germs, USA
Lorene Scafaria for Hustlers, USA

Best Screenplay
Noah Baumbach for Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach, USA
Jason Begue and Shawn Snyder for To Dust, Shawn Snyder
Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie for Uncut Gems, Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie, USA
Chinonye Chukwu for Clemency, Chinonye Chukwu, USA
Tarell Alvin McCraney for High Flying Bird, Steven Soderbergh, USA

Best First Screenplay
Fredica Bailey and Stefon Bristol for See You Yesterday, Stefan Bristol, USA
Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen for Driveways, Andrew Ahn, USA
Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy for Blow the Man Down, Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy, USA
Jocelyn Deboer and Dawn Luebbe for Greener Grass, Jocelyn Deboer and Dawn Luebbe, USA
James Montague and Craig W. Sanger for The Vast of Night, Andrew Patterson, USA

Best Cinematography
Todd Banhazl for Hustlers, Lorene Scafaria, USA
Jarin Blaschke for The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers, USA
Natasha Braier for Honey Boy, Alma Har'el, USA
Chananun Chotrungroj for The Third Wife, Ash Mayfair, Vietnam
Pawel Pogorzelski for Midsommar (Midsommer), Ari Asater, USA, Sweden and Hungary

Best Editing
Julie Béziau for The Third Wife, Ash Mayfair, Vietnam
Ronald Bronstein and Benny Safdie for Uncut Gems, Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie, USA
Tyler L. Cook for Sword of Trust, Lynn Shelton, USA
Louise Ford for The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers, USA
Kirill Mikhanovsky for Give Me Liberty,  Kirill Mikhanovsky, USA

Best Female Lead
Karen Allen in Colewell, Tom Quinn, USA
Hong Chau in Driveways, Andrew Ahn, USA
Elizabeth Moss in Her Smell, Alex Ross Perry, USA
Mary Kay Place in Diane, Kent Jones, USA
Renée Zellweger in Judy, Rupert Goold, UK

Best Supporting Female
Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers, Lorene Scafaria, USA
Taylor Russell in Waves, Trey Edward Shults, USA
Zhao Shuzhen in The Farewell, Lulu Wang, USA and China
Lauren Spencer in Give Me Liberty,  Kirill Mikhanovsky, USA
Octavia Spencer in Luce, Julius Onah, USA

Best Male Lead
Chris Galust in Give Me Liberty,  Kirill Mikhanovsky, USA
Kelvin Harrison Jr. in Luce, Julius Onah, USA
Robert Pattinson in The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers, USA
Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems, Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie, USA
Matthias Schoenaerts in The Mustang, Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, France and Belgium

Best Supporting Male
Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers, USA
Noah Jupe in Honey Boy, Alma Har'el, USA
Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy, Alma Har'el, USA
Jonathan Majors in The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Joe Talbot, USA
Wendell Pierce in Burning Cane, Phillip Youmans, USA

Robert Altman Award (Given to director, casting director and ensemble cast)
Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach
Casting Directors: Douglas Aibel and Francine Maisler
Ensemble Cast: Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Julie Hagerty, Scarlett Johansson, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson and Merritt Wever

Bonnie Award
Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo joined American Airlines in 1973 at age 24, becoming the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. In her honor, the 3rd annual Bonnie Award will recognize a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant
Marielle Heller
Kelly Reichardt
Lulu Wang

Producers Award
The Producers Award, now in its 23rd year, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant
Mollye Asher
Krista Parris
Ryan Zacarias

Someone to Watch Award
The Someone to Watch Award, now in its 26th year, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant
Premature, Rashaad Ernesto Green
The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Joe Talbot
The Third Wife, Ash Mayfair

Truer Than Fiction Award
The Truer Than Fiction Award, now in its 25th year, is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant
17 Blocks, Davy Rothbart
America, Eric Stoll and Chase Whiteside
Black Mother, Khalik Allah
Jaddoland, Nadia Shihab

The 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards will be held Saturday, February 8th on the beach in Santa Monica, broadcast live exclusively on IFC from 5:00pm ET.

Nominations Announcement



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