35th Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Melanie Bates, Film Independent
Tel: 323 556 9338 or mbates@filmindependent.org

Seanna Hore, Ginsberg/Libby
Tel: 323 645 6800 or seanna.hore@ginsberglibby.com
 

35TH FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED

Broadcast Live Exclusively on IFC
Saturday, February 8, 2020 at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET

American Airlines and IFC return as Premier Sponsors, joined by Mazda

LOS ANGELES (November 21, 2019) – This morning, Film Independent announced the nominations for the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The Spirit Awards are the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity and inclusion in the industry. Film Independent President Josh Welsh presided over the press conference with actors Zazie Beetz (Atlanta, Joker, Deadpool 2) and Natasha Lyonne (Ad Astra, Orange Is the New Black, Russian Doll) presenting the nominations, hosted by The LINE LA. Nominees for Best Feature included A Hidden Life, Clemency, The Farewell, Marriage Story and Uncut Gems. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Santa Monica beach-adjacent award show.

Marriage Story 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.

“The Film Independent Spirit Awards celebrate the best films of the year – films characterized by creative independence and original, provocative subject matter, as well as diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “At a time when the film business is undergoing such change and challenges, it’s important to loudly celebrate the work itself – the films! – and to recognize 2019 as a year of bold, audacious and accomplished filmmaking. That’s what the Spirit Awards are all about.”

Welsh added, “The Spirit Awards are a unique awards show in that the winners are chosen by the members of Film Independent, an open access organization made up of film lovers and filmmakers alike. To everyone who cares about film and wants to help shine a bright light on the great work being made today, I urge you to join Film Independent by December 5 and become part of our voting body.”

Winners, who are selected by Film Independent Members, will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 8, 2020. The awards ceremony will be held on the beach in Santa Monica, just north of the Santa Monica Pier. The show will be broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET.

The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees selected nominees from over 430 submissions this year and applied the following guidelines in determining the nominations: 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.

Winners of the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 4, 2020.

Film Independent is proud to announce the return of its collaboration with American Airlines, who joins for the sixth year and returns to fund the Bonnie Award, recognizing a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant. And, we welcome this year’s Official Automotive Partner, Mazda.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Stephanie Terifay Bédiée, Director of Corporate Partnerships, at sterifay@filmindependent.org. To learn more about attending the Spirit Awards and supporting Film Independent, please contact Jennifer Murby, Director of Individual Giving, at jmurby@filmindependent.org.

For more information on submission guidelines, voting, the history of the Spirit Awards and more, please visit spiritawards.com.

Want to vote?

Film Independent Members vote to determine the winners of the Spirit Awards. Members can attend the free Nominee Screening Series in Los Angeles, and receive DVD screeners of select nominees by mail and digital screeners online. Members must be current by December 5, 2019 to receive full voting benefits. Join today at filmindependent.org/join.
 

2020 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD NOMINATIONS

 
BEST FEATURE (Award given to the producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)

A Hidden Life
Producers: Elisabeth Bentley, Dario Bergesio, Grant Hill, Josh Jeter

Clemency
Producers: Timur Bekbosunov, Julian Cautherley, Bronwyn Cornelius, Peter Wong

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

Marriage Story
Producers: Noah Baumbach, David Heyman

Uncut Gems
Producers: Eli Bush, Sebastian Bear-McClard, Scott Rudin
 
 
BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)

Booksmart
Director: Olivia Wilde
Producers: Chelsea Barnard, David Distenfeld, Jessica Elbaum, Megan Ellison, Katie Silberman

The Climb
Director/Producer: Michael Angelo Covino
Producers: Noah Lang, Kyle Marvin

Diane
Director: Kent Jones
Producers: Luca Borghese, Ben Howe, Caroline Kaplan, Oren Moverman

The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Director/Producer: Joe Talbot
Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Khaliah Neal, Christina Oh

The Mustang
Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Producer: Ilan Goldman

See You Yesterday
Director: Stefon Bristol
Producer: Spike Lee
 
 
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.)

Burning Cane
Writer/Director/Producer: Phillip Youmans
Producers: Ojo Akinlana, Jakob Johnson, Karen Kaia Livers, Mose Mayer, Wendell Pierce, Isaac Webb, Cassandra Youmans

Colewell
Writer/Director: Tom Quinn
Producers: Joshua Blum, Alexandra Byer, Craig Shilowich, Matthew Thurm

Give Me Liberty
Writer/Director/Producer: Kirill Mikhanovsky
Writer/Producer: Alice Austen
Producers: Val Abel, Wally Hall, Michael Manasseri, George Rush, Sergey Shtern

Premature
Writer/Director/Producer: Rashaad Ernesto Green
Writer: Zora Howard
Producer: Darren Dean, Joy Ganes

Wild Nights With Emily
Writer/Director/Producer: Madeleine Olnek
Producers: Anna Margarita Albelo, Casper Andreas, Max Rifkind-Barron
 
 
BEST DIRECTOR

Alma Har’el
Honey Boy

Lorene Scafaria
Hustlers

Julius Onah
Luce

Robert Eggers
The Lighthouse

Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Uncut Gems
 
 
BEST SCREENPLAY

Noah Baumbach
Marriage Story

Jason Begue, Shawn Snyder
To Dust

Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Uncut Gems

Chinonye Chukwu
Clemency

Tarell Alvin McCraney
High Flying Bird
 
 
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

Fredrica Bailey, Stefon Bristol
See You Yesterday

Hannah Bos, Paul Thureen
Driveways

Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy
Blow the Man Down

Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe
Greener Grass

James Montague, Craig W. Sanger
The Vast of Night
 
 
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Todd Banhazl
Hustlers

Jarin Blaschke
The Lighthouse

Natasha Braier
Honey Boy

Chananun Chotrungroj
The Third Wife

Pawel Pogorzelski
Midsommar
 
 
BEST EDITING

Julie Béziau
The Third Wife

Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie
Uncut Gems

Tyler L. Cook
Sword of Trust

Louise Ford
The Lighthouse

Kirill Mikhanovsky
Give Me Liberty
 
 
BEST FEMALE LEAD

Karen Allen
Colewell

Hong Chau
Driveways

Elisabeth Moss
Her Smell

Mary Kay Place
Diane

Alfre Woodard
Clemency

Renée Zellweger
Judy
 
 
BEST MALE LEAD

Chris Galust
Give Me Liberty

Kelvin Harrison Jr.
Luce

Robert Pattinson
The Lighthouse

Matthias Schoenaerts
The Mustang

Adam Sandler
Uncut Gems
 
 
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

Jennifer Lopez
Hustlers

Taylor Russell
Waves

Lauren “Lolo” Spencer
Give Me Liberty

Octavia Spencer
Luce

Zhao Shuzhen
The Farewell
 
 
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
 
 
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast

Marriage Story
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 DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

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

Apollo 11
Director/Producer: Todd Douglas Miller
Producers: Evan Krauss, Thomas Baxley Petersen

For Sama
Director: Edward Watts
Director/Producer: Waad al-Kateab

Honeyland
Director: Tamara Kotevska
Director/Producer: Ljubo Stefanov
Producer: Atanas Georgiev

Island of the Hungry Ghosts
Director/Producer: Gabrielle Brady
Producers: Gizem Acarla, Samm Haillay, Alex Kelly, Alexander Wadouh
 
 
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)

Invisible Life
Brazil
Director: Karim Aïnouz

Les Misérables
France
Director: Ladj Ly

Parasite
South Korea
Director: Bong Joon-Ho

Portrait of a Lady on Fire
France
Director: Céline Sciamma

Retablo
Peru
Director: Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio L.

The Souvenir
United Kingdom
Director: Joanna Hogg
 
 
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 third Bonnie Award will recognize a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines.

Marielle Heller

Kelly Reichardt

Lulu Wang
 
 
PRODUCERS AWARD – The 23rd annual Producers Award 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 26th annual Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.

Rashaad Ernesto Green
Director of Premature

Ash Mayfair
Director of The Third Wife

Joe Talbot
Director of The Last Black Man in San Francisco
 
 
TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 25th annual Truer Than Fiction Award 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.

Khalik Allah
Director of Black Mother

Davy Rothbart
Director of 17 Blocks

Nadia Shihab
Director of Jaddoland

Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside
Director of América
 
 

ABOUT THE FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS

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. Getty Images is the Official Photographer. Town & Country Event Rentals is the Exclusive Rental Company.
 

ABOUT FILM INDEPENDENT

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. Year-round screening series Film Independent Presents delivers monthly, 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 find @FilmIndependent across social platforms.
 

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47 NOMINATED FILMS