2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards Winners Announced

Contact: Melanie Bates, Film Independent

Seanna Hore, Ginsberg/Libby


Ceremony aired live on IFC at 5:00 PM ET / 2:00 PM PT
Rebroadcast later this evening on IFC

LOS ANGELES (February 8, 2020) – Top honors were handed out today at the 35th Film Independent Spirit Awards ceremony to The Farewell, Uncut Gems, The Lighthouse, Marriage Story, Judy, Booksmart and See You Yesterday. Give Me Liberty, American Factory and Parasite also received awards at the ceremony, which was held this afternoon on the beach in Santa Monica. In addition to being the celebration that honors artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision, the Spirit Awards is the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs.

This year’s major winners were Uncut Gems, which won Best Director, Best Male Lead and Best Editing; The Farewell, which won Best Feature and Best Supporting Female; The Lighthouse, which won Best Supporting Male and Best Cinematography; Marriage Story, which won the Robert Altman Award and Best Screenplay; Judy, which won Best Female Lead; Booksmart, which won Best First Feature; See You Yesterday, which won Best First Screenplay; Give Me Liberty, which won the John Cassavetes Award; American Factory, which won Best Documentary; and Parasite, which won Best International Film.

The ceremony aired live today on IFC, streamed on @FilmIndependent and @IFC Twitter pages and an encore presentation of the show will be available to stream on February 9 on IFC Films Unlimited on Amazon Prime Video Channels and the AppleTV app; please check your local listings for times. Clips from the ceremony will be available on Film Independent’s YouTube channel after the show.

The 13th annual Robert Altman Award was given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. Marriage Story director Noah Baumbach received this award, along with casting directors Douglas Aibel and Francine Maisler as well as cast members Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Julie Hagerty, Scarlett Johansson, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson and Merritt Wever.

The following is a complete list of the winners:


Best Feature:

The Farewell (A24)
Producers: Anita Gou, Daniele Melia, Andrew Miano, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Lulu Wang, Chris Weitz, Jane Zheng

Best Director:

Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems (A24)

Best Screenplay:

Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story (Netflix)

Best First Feature:

Booksmart (Annapurna Pictures/United Artists Releasing)
Director: Olivia Wilde
Producers: Chelsea Barnard, David Distenfeld, Jessica Elbaum, Megan Ellison, Katie Silberman

Best First Screenplay:

Fredrica Bailey & Stefon Bristol, See You Yesterday (Netflix)

John Cassavetes Award:

(for best feature made under $500,000)
Give Me Liberty (Music Box Films)
Writer/Director/Producer: Kirill Mikhanovsky
Writer/Producer: Alice Austen
Producers: Val Abel, Wally Hall, Michael Manasseri, George Rush, Sergey Shtern

Best Supporting Female:

Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell (A24)

Best Supporting Male:

Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse (A24)

Best Female Lead:

Renée Zellweger, Judy (Roadside Attractions)

Best Male Lead:

Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (A24)

Robert Altman Award:

Marriage Story (Netflix)
Director: Noah Baumbach
Casting Directors: Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler
Ensemble Cast: Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Julie Hagerty, Scarlett Johansson, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson, Merritt Wever

Best Cinematography:

Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse (A24)

Best Editing:

Ronald Bronstein & Benny Safdie, Uncut Gems (A24)

Best International Film:

Parasite (South Korea — Neon)
Director: Bong Joon-Ho

Best Documentary:

American Factory (Netflix)
Director/Producer: Steven Bognar & Julia Reichert
Producers: Julie Parker Benello, Jeff Reichert


7 A24
4 Netflix
1 Neon
1 Roadside Attractions
1 Annapurna Pictures/United Artists Releasing
1 Music Box Films
On January 4, the following winners were honored at the Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch hosted by Jon M. Chu and Alfre Woodard at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood:

Kelly Reichardt received the third 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 Bonnie Award recognizes a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant sponsored by American Airlines. Finalists for the award were Marielle Heller and Lulu Wang.

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

Rashaad Ernesto Green, director of Premature, received the Someone to Watch Award. The award recognizes talented filmmakers of singular vision who have not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is in its 26th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant presented by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, a brand committed to celebrating those pushing the boundaries of their craft. Finalists for the award were Ash Mayfair, director of The Third Wife and Joe Talbot, director of The Last Black Man in San Francisco.

Nadia Shihab, director of Jaddoland, received the Truer Than Fiction Award. The award is presented to an emerging director of nonfiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award is in its 25th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Finalists for the award were Khalik Allah, director of Black Mother, Davy Rothbart, director of 17 Blocks and Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside, directors of América.

Presenters included: Zazie Beetz, Rachel Brosnahan, Carrie Brownstein, Nicolas Cage, Don Cheadle, Jon M. Chu, Robert De Niro, Laura Dern, Kaitlyn Dever, Giancarlo Esposito, Beanie Feldstein, America Ferrera, Jim Gaffigan, Scarlett Johansson, Noah Jupe, Mindy Kaling, Joey King, Nick Kroll, Idina Menzel, Elisabeth Moss, Bob Odenkirk, Margaret Qualley, Taylor Russell, Octavia Spencer, St. Vincent, Naomi Watts, Olivia Wilde, Alfre Woodard


Now in its 35th year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody independence and originality. The Spirit Awards recognizes the achievements of American independent filmmakers and promotes the finest independent films of the year to a wider audience.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors American Airlines, IFC and Mazda. Bulleit Frontier Whiskey is the Official Spirit. FIJI Water is the Official Water. JNSQ Wines is the Official Wine. Getty Images is the Official Photographer. Town & Country Event Rentals is the Exclusive Rental Company.


For over 38 years, Film Independent has helped filmmakers get their projects made and seen. The nonprofit’s mission is to champion creative independence in visual storytelling and support a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision.

In addition to producing the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the organization supports creative professionals with Artist Development programs, grants and labs, and signature mentorship program Project Involve fosters the careers of talented filmmakers from underrepresented communities. Weekly Education events and workshops equip filmmakers of all ages and experience levels with tools and resources. International programs include Global Media Makers, a cultural exchange program that provides career-building opportunities for international film professionals. Film Independent Presents is a year-round program offering screenings, conversations and other unique cinematic experiences to Members in Los Angeles and beyond.

While working to make the entertainment industry more inclusive, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists. Film lovers, industry professionals and anyone passionate about visual storytelling can become a Member at filmindependent.org and connect with @FilmIndependent across social platforms.


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