We’ve Got Spirit (Awards), Yes We Do! – 35th Independent Spirit Awards Nominations Announced!

The “unofficial” phase is finally over. We are now firmly and officially into Awards Season! The next three months of hardware, hand-wringing, and haranguing kicked off this morning with the announcement of the nominees for the 35th Annual Independent Spirit Awards, which were presented by Zazie Beetz and Natasha Lyonne. There’s a lot of love to be had among this year’s class, with four films (including one semi-surprise) getting the bulk of the attention.

You can read the full list of nominees here, and get more information about the ceremony, which is typically the night before the Oscars. The Spirits are the first to announce nominees, but the last to hand out honors apart from the Academy itself. I was curious if that schedule would be thrown into disarray this time around, due to AMPAS moving the Oscars up three weeks to February 9 next year, but it appears the whole awards circuit will adhere to the accelerated timetable, as the Spirits will go on as planned on Saturday, February 8.

Here are this year’s nominees!

Best Feature
Clemency – In Theatres 12/27
The Farewell – Available On DVD Now
A Hidden Life
– In Theatres 12/13
Marriage Story – In Limited Release Now, Available On Netflix 12/6
Uncut Gems – In Theatres 12/13

Best First Feature
Booksmart – Available On DVD Now
The Climb – In Theatres 3/20/20
Diane – Available On Streaming Services Now
The Last Black Man in San Francisco – Available On DVD Now
The Mustang – Available On DVD Now
See You Yesterday – Available On Netflix Now

John Cassavetes Award (Films with budget under $500,000)
Burning Cane – Available On Netflix Now
Colewell – Available On DVD 12/13
Give Me Liberty – Availability Unknown
Premature – In Theatres 2/21/20
Wild Nights With Emily – DVD Pre-Orders Available, No Release Date

Best Director
Robert Eggers – The Lighthouse – In Theatres Now
Alma Har’el – Honey Boy – In Theatres Now
Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie – Uncut Gems
Julius Onah – Luce – Available On DVD Now
Lorene Scafaria – Hustlers – In Theatres Now, On DVD 12/10

Best Screenplay
Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story
Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie – Uncut Gems
Chinonwe Chukwu – Clemency
Tarell Alvin McCraney – High Flying Bird – Available On Netflix
Jason Begue & Shawn Snyder – To Dust – Available On DVD Now

Best First Screenplay
James Montague & Craig W. Sanger – The Vast of Night – Availability Unknown, Amazon Has Distribution Rights
Bridget Savage Cole & Danielle Krudy – Blow the Man Down – Availability Unknown
Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe – Greener Grass – In Limited Release Now
Hannah Bos & Paul Thureen – Driveways – Availability Unknown
Fredrica Bailey & Stefon Bristol – See You Yesterday

Best Female Lead
Karen Allen – Colewell
Hong Chau – Driveways
Elisabeth Moss – Her Smell – Available On DVD Now
Mary Kay Place – Diane
Alfre Woodard – Clemency
Renée Zellweger – Judy – In Theatres Now, On DVD 12/24

Best Male Lead
Chris Galust – Give Me Liberty
Kelvin Harrison, Jr. – Luce
Robert Pattinson – The Lighthouse
Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems
Matthias Schoenaerts – The Mustang

Best Documentary
American Factory
– Available On Netflix Now
Apollo 11 – Available On DVD Now
For Sama – Available On DVD Now
Honeyland – Available On DVD & Amazon Prime Now
Island of the Hungry Ghosts – Availability Unknown (Not Submitted for Documentary Feature Oscar)

Best Supporting Female
Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers
Taylor Russell – Waves – In Theatres Now
Zhao Shuzen – The Farewell
Lauren “Lolo” Spencer – Give Me Liberty
Octavia Spencer – Luce

Best Supporting Male
Willem Dafoe – The Lighthouse
Noah Jupe – Honey Boy
Shia LaBeouf – Honey Boy
Jonathan Majors – The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Wendell Pierce – Burning Cane

Best International Film
Invisible Life – Brazil – In Limited Release Starting 12/20
Les Misérables – France – In Limited Release Starting 1/10/20
Parasite – South Korea – In Theatres Now
Portrait of a Lady on Fire – France – In Limited Release Starting 12/6 (Not Submitted For Best International Feature Oscar)
Retablo – Peru – Availability Unknown
The Souvenir – United Kingdom – On DVD Now (Not Submitted For Best International Feature Oscar)

Best Editing
Ronald Bronstein & Benny Safdie – Uncut Gems
Julie Béziau – The Third Wife – Available On DVD Now
Tyler L. Cook – Sword of Trust – Available Through VOD Services
Louise Ford – The Lighthouse
Kirill Mikhanovsky – Give Me Liberty

Best Cinematography
Todd Banhazl – Hustlers
Jarin Blaschke – The Lighthouse
Natasha Braier – Honey Boy
Chananun Chotrungroj – The Third Wife
Pawel PogorzelskiMidsommar – Available On DVD Now

Robert Altman Award (Best Ensemble Cast)
Marriage Story – Winner

The Bonnie Award ($50,000 Grant For Mid-Career Women)
Marielle Heller
Kelly Reichardt
Lulu Wang

Producers Award ($25,000 Grant For Emerging Producer Talent)
Mollye Asher
Krista Parris
Ryan Zacarias

Someone To Watch Award ($25,000 Grant For Emerging Filmmaker)
Rasaad Ernesto Green
Ash Mayfair
Joe Talbot

Truer Than Fiction Award ($25,000 Grant For Emerging Documentary Filmmaker)
Khalik Allah
Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside
Davy Rothbart
Nadia Shihab

Here’s a redux breakdown of films with multiple nominations:

The Lighthouse – 5
Uncut Gems – 5
Give Me Liberty – 4
Honey Boy – 4
Clemency – 3
Hustlers – 3
Luce – 3
Burning Cane – 2
Colewell – 2
Diane – 2
Driveways – 2
The Farewell – 2
The Last Black Man in San Francisco – 2

Marriage Story – 2
The Mustang – 2
See You Yesterday – 2
The Third Wife – 2

A couple of things immediately spring to mind. One, I am definitely gonna have to see Uncut Gems. I was skeptical at first, because while Adam Sandler can be funny and occasionally a decent dramatic actor, his filmography is decidedly hit and miss. I will also be making an effort to see Give Me Liberty and Honey Boy at my earliest opportunity. Second, I’m glad The Mustang got some well-earned recognition. I was afraid it’d be forgotten given how early in the year it was released, and apart form this ceremony it very well may be. But any acknowledgement is appreciated.

On the flip side, I’m a little disappointed that Parasite is only up for International Film, when a strong case can be made that it should be nominated for Best Feature as well. Same goes for Booksmart and Midsommar. They’re way better than their single nominations suggest, especially considering A Hidden Life is up for Best Feature and literally nothing else. This is particularly jarring considering Hustlers is up for three awards. Are we seriously going to try to make this a thing? Please, for the love of God don’t make me watch this movie for a token Jennifer Lopez nod! Adam Sandler’s one thing; at least he’s proven he can act on occasion. But J-Lo? Fuck no! Apart from her, the film’s gotten mixed-to-good reviews at best, but certainly nothing stellar, and every single person I’ve talked to who has seen it calls it a steaming pile of garbage. So I have no idea why it’s getting so much attention.

We’ll see what happens. Either way, there are a bunch of movies that are now officially on the radar for the Academy. I’ll see what I can, and report back whenever appropriate. Also, now that Awards Season has fully engaged, keep it locked for the latest updates as we get nominations for the various labor guilds and the Golden Globes, as well as the Oscar shortlists.

Join the conversation in the comments below! How many of the nominees have you seen? Which ones do you want to see? Seriously, are we going to give Jennifer Lopez praise for playing a stripper? Let me know!

One thought on “We’ve Got Spirit (Awards), Yes We Do! – 35th Independent Spirit Awards Nominations Announced!

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