Film Independent Spirit Awards announces nominations

Film Independent announced nominations for the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Not just another pretty face on the awards circuit, the Spirit Awards are the primary fundraiser for the nonprofit Film Independent’s year-round slate of programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity and inclusion in the industry.

Film Independent President Josh Welsh introduced the prerecorded video announcements, which featured guest presenters Laverne Cox (DisclosurePromising Young Woman) and Spirit Award winners Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could TalkMoonlightThe Underground Railroad) and Olivia Wilde (BooksmartDon’t Worry Darling.)

Best Feature nominees included First Cow, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Minari, Never Rarely Sometimes Always and Nomadland. Also announced – for the first time in Spirit Awards history – were the nominees of five new TV awards: Best New Scripted Series, Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series, Best Male Performance in a New Scripted Series, Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series and Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series.

One Night in Miami was selected to receive the Robert Altman Award, which is bestowed upon one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. The Altman Award was created in 2008 in honor of legendary director Robert Altman, who was known for creating extraordinary ensemble casts.

“2020 was Hell on Earth, but one glorious lifeline these past months has been the ability to watch so many great films and shows,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “In an unbelievably challenging year, this year’s Spirit Award nominees inspired us, connected us, and have been a source of urgently needed light in the darkness. Even though we’re still stuck at home, let’s come together to celebrate this great work!”

Winners, who are selected by Film Independent Members, will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Thursday, April 22, 2021. In a one-time break from tradition, the awards ceremony will move from its usual spot as a live daytime event to primetime on Thursday, broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 10:00 pm ET / 7:00 pm PT.

This year, the Spirit Awards Nominating Committees selected nominees from over 22 different countries, applying the following guidelines in determining nominees: uniqueness of vision, original and provocative subject matter, economy of means. The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees are comprised of writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, actors, critics, casting directors, film festival programmers and other working film professionals.

Of all nominated writers and directors, 57% are women and 48% are BIPOC. Of all nominated actors, 69% are BIPOC. And of all 2021 nominees, 42% are women and 37% are BIPOC. This year, the Spirit Awards nominating committees are 67% women and 63% are BIPOC.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsor IFC. FIJI Water is the Official Water. Getty Images is the Official Photographer. We are also honored to be partnering with the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) SeeHer, the leading global movement for gender equality in media, advertising, marketing and entertainment and AMC Networks to further celebrate and act as a catalyst for accurate and meaningful representation in storytelling.

Want to vote?

As always, winners are selected by Members of Film Independent. Members must be current by February 11 to receive full voting benefits, including access to nominee screeners. To join Film Independent and vote on the Spirit Awards, please VISIT HERE.

To learn more about supporting Film Independent’s mission and programs, contact Jennifer Murby at jmurby@filmindependent.org. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Stephanie Terifay at sterifay@filmindependent.org.

To learn more about the Spirit Awards eligibility rules and regulations please VISIT HERE.

2021 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD NOMINATIONS FILM CATEGORIES

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the producer)

First Cow
Producers: Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Producers: Todd Black, Denzel Washington, Dany Wolf

Minari
Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Christina Oh

Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Producers: Sara Murphy, Adele Romanski

Nomadland
Producers: Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Chloé Zhao


BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to director and producer)

I Carry You With Me
Director/Producer: Heidi Ewing
Producers: Edher Campos, Mynette Louie, Gabriela Maire

The Forty-Year-Old Version
Director/Producer: Radha Blank
Producers: Inuka Bacote-Capiga, Jordan Fudge, Rishi Rajani, Jennifer Semler, Lena Waithe

Miss Juneteenth
Director: Channing Godfrey Peoples
Producers: Toby Halbrooks, Tim Headington, Jeanie Igoe, James M. Johnston, Theresa Steele Page, Neil Creque Williams

Nine Days
Director: Edson Oda
Producers: Jason Michael Berman, Mette-Marie Kongsved, Matthew Linder, Laura Tunstall, Datari Turner

Sound of Metal
Director: Darius Marder
Producers: Bill Benz, Kathy Benz, Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche


JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD Given to the best feature made for under $500,000 (Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)

The Killing of Two Lovers
Writer/Director/Producer: Robert Machoian
Producers: Scott Christopherson, Clayne Crawford

La Leyenda Negra
Writer/Director: Patricia Vidal Delgado
Producers: Alicia Herder, Marcel Perez

Lingua Franca
Writer/Director/Producer: Isabel Sandoval
Producers: Darlene Catly Malimas, Jhett Tolentino, Carlo Velayo

Residue
Writer/Director: Merawi Gerima

Saint Frances
Director/Producer: Alex Thompson
Writer: Kelly O’Sullivan
Producers: James Choi, Pierce Cravens, Ian Keiser, Eddie Linker, Raphael Nash, Roger Welp


BEST DIRECTOR
Lee Isaac Chung

Minari

Emerald Fennell
Promising Young Woman

Eliza Hittman
Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Kelly Reichardt
First Cow

Chloé Zhao
Nomadland


BEST SCREENPLAY

Lee Isaac Chung
Minari

Emerald Fennell
Promising Young Woman

Eliza Hittman
Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Mike Makowsky
Bad Education

Alice Wu
The Half of It


BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

Kitty Green
The Assistant

Noah Hutton
Lapsis

Channing Godfrey Peoples
Miss Juneteenth

Andy Siara
Palm Springs

James Sweeney
Straight Up


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Jay Keitel
She Dies Tomorrow

Shabier Kirchner
Bull

Michael Latham
The Assistant

Hélène Louvart
Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Joshua James Richards
Nomadland


BEST EDITING

Andy Canny
The Invisible Man

Scott Cummings
Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Merawi Gerima
Residue

Enat Sidi
I Carry You With Me

Chloé Zhao
Nomadland


BEST FEMALE LEAD

Nicole Beharie
Miss Juneteenth

Viola Davis
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Sidney Flanigan
Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Julia Garner
The Assistant

Frances McDormand
Nomadland

Carey Mulligan
Promising Young Woman


BEST MALE LEAD

Riz Ahmed
Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Adarsh Gourav
The White Tiger

Rob Morgan
Bull

Steven Yeun
Minari


BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

Alexis Chikaeze
Miss Juneteenth

Yeri Han
Minari

Valerie Mahaffey
French Exit

Talia Ryder
Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Yuh-jung Youn
Minari


BEST SUPPORTING MALE

Colman Domingo
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Orion Lee
First Cow

Paul Raci
Sound of Metal

Glynn Turman
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Benedict Wong
Nine Days


ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast

One Night in Miami…
Director: Regina King
Casting Director: Kimberly R. Hardin
Ensemble Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr.


BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

Collective
Director/Producer: Alexander Nanau
Producers: Hanka Kastelicová, Bernard Michaux, Bianca Oana

Crip Camp
Directors/Producers: Jim LeBrecht, Nicole Newnham
Producer: Sara Bolder

Dick Johnson is Dead
Director/Producer: Kirsten Johnson
Producers: Katy Chevigny, Marilyn Ness

The Mole Agent
Director: Maite Alberdi
Producer: Marcela Santibáñez

Time
Director/Producer: Garrett Bradley
Producers: Lauren Domino, Kellen Quinn


BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)

Bacurau
Brazil
Directors: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho

The Disciple
India
Director: Chaitanya Tamhane

Night of the Kings
Ivory Coast
Director: Philippe Lacôte

Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time
Hungary
Director: Lili Horvát

Quo Vadis, Aida?
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Director: Jasmila Žbanić


PRODUCERS AWARD  The Producers Award, now in its 24th year, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films.

Kara Durrett
Lucas Joaquin
Gerry Kim


SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD The Someone to Watch Award, now in its 27th year, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.

David Midell
Director of The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain 

Ekwa Msangi
Director of Farewell Amor 

Annie Silverstein
Director of Bull


TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD The Truer Than Fiction Award, now in its 26th year, is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition.

Cecilia Aldarondo
Director of Landfall 

Elegance Bratton
Director of Pier Kids 

Elizabeth Lo
Director of Stray


TELEVISON CATEGORIES

BEST NEW NON-SCRIPTED OR DOCUMENTARY SERIES (Award given to the Creator, Executive Producer, Co-Executive Producer)

Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children
Executive Producers: Jeff Dupre, Joshua Bennett, Sam Pollard, Maro Chermayeff, John Legend, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius

City So Real
Produced by: Zak Piper, Steve James
Executive Producers: Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Alex Kotlowitz, Gordon Quinn, Betsy Steinberg, Jolene Pinder

Immigration Nation
Executive Producers: Christina Clusiau, Shaul Schwarz, Dan Cogan, Jenny Raskin, Brandon Hill, Christian Thompson
Co-Executive Producers: Andrey Alistratov, Jay Arthur Sterrenberg, Lauren Haber

Love Fraud
Executive Producers: Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing, Amy Goodman Kass, Vinnie Malhotra, Jihan Robinson, Michael Bloom, Maria Zuckerman

We’re Here
Creators/Executive Producers: Stephen Warren, Johnnie Ingram Executive Producers: Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, Peter LoGreco Co-Executive Producers: Erin Haglund, Sabrina Mar


BEST NEW SCRIPTED SERIES (Award given to the Creator, Executive Producer, Co-Executive Producer)

I May Destroy You
Creator/Executive Producer: Michaela Coel
Executive Producers: Phil Clarke, Roberto Troni

Little America
Executive Producers: Lee Eisenberg, Joshuah Bearman, Joshua Davis, Arthur Spector, Alan Yang, Siân Heder, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon

Small Axe
Executive Producers: Tracey Scoffield, David Tanner, Steve McQueen

A Teacher
Creator/Executive Producer: Hanna Fidell
Executive Producers: Michael Costigan, Kate Mara, Louise Shore, Jason Bateman, Danny Brocklehurst
Co-Executive Producer: Daniel Pipski

Unorthodox
Creator/Executive Producer: Anna Winger Creator: Alexa Karolinski
Executive Producer: Henning Kamm


BEST FEMALE PERFORMANCE IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES

Elle Fanning
The Great

Shira Haas
Unorthodox

Abby McEnany
Work in Progress

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan
Never Have I Ever

Jordan Kristine Seamón 
We Are Who We Are


BEST MALE PERFORMANCE IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES

Adam Ali
Little America

Nicco Annan
P-Valley

Amit Rahav
Unorthodox

Conphidance
Little America

Harold Torres
ZeroZeroZero


BEST ENSEMBLE CAST IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES

I May Destroy You
Ensemble Cast: Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Wruche Opia, Stephen Wight


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