2021 Awards: Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations

From filmindependent.org.

If nothing else, this past year has certainly taught people a thing or two about rearranging their expectations. From habitual gym rats making do at home with modified prison workouts to educators who find themselves now teaching from the very screens they’ve tried to eradicate from their classrooms, 2020 (and now 2021) have made us all experts in the field of embracing major adjustments. And it should be noted that such changes are often positive and exciting.

Take the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards, which this morning announced the nominees of its 36th annual awards ceremony, set to air Thursday, April 22 at 10pm ET and 7pm PT—a temporary (and exciting!) break from the show’s usual spot as a live daytime event the day before the Oscars.

Also new this year: for the first time in history, the Spirit Awards will be recognizing outstanding achievement in uniqueness of vision, innovation and boldness of vision in TV and streaming as well as feature film. The nominees were revealed on Film Independent’s YouTube channel this morning, courtesy of presenters Olivia Wilde, Barry Jenkins and Laverne Cox:

Conversely, we are grateful, too, for the things that never change—like the fact that Spirit Award winners are voted on exclusively by Film Independent Members. This year, join by February 11 to receive awards screeners and full Spirit Award Member benefits. And as of this morning, you have some added incentive…

So! Without further delay, here are this year’s nominees:

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

BEST DIRECTOR

Lee Isaac ChungMinari

Emerald FennellPromising Young Woman

Eliza HittmanNever Rarely Sometimes Always

Kelly ReichardtFirst Cow

Chloé ZhaoNomadland

BEST SCREENPLAY

Lee Isaac ChungMinari

Emerald FennellPromising Young Woman

Eliza HittmanNever Rarely Sometimes Always

Mike MakowskyBad Education

Alice WuThe Half of It

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

Kitty GreenThe Assistant

Noah HuttonLapsis

Channing Godfrey PeoplesMiss Juneteenth

Andy SiaraPalm Springs

James SweeneyStraight Up

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD

(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000; Award given to the writer, director and producer)

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 MALE LEAD

Riz AhmedSound of Metal

Chadwick BosemanMa Rainey’s Black Bottom

Adarsh GouravThe White Tiger

Rob MorganBull

Steven YeunMinari

BEST FEMALE LEAD

Nicole BeharieMiss Juneteenth

Viola DavisMa Rainey’s Black Bottom

Sidney FlaniganNever Rarely Sometimes Always

Julia GarnerThe Assistant

Frances McDormandNomadland

Carey MulliganPromising Young Woman

BEST SUPPORTING MALE

Colman DomingoMa Rainey’s Black Bottom

Orion LeeFirst Cow

Paul RaciSound of Metal

Glynn TurmanMa Rainey’s Black Bottom

Benedict WongNine Days

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

Alexis ChikaezeMiss Juneteenth

Yeri HanMinari

Valerie MahaffeyFrench Exit

Talia RyderNever Rarely Sometimes Always

Yuh-jung YounMinari

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Jay KeitelShe Dies Tomorrow

Shabier KirchnerBull

Michael LathamThe Assistant

Hélène LouvartNever Rarely Sometimes Always

Joshua James RichardsNomadland

BEST EDITING

Andy CannyThe Invisible Man

Scott CummingsNever Rarely Sometimes Always

Merawi GerimaResidue

Enat SidiI Carry You With Me

Chloé ZhaoNomadland

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM

(Award given to the director)

BACURAU (Brazil)

Director: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho

THE DISCIPLE (India)

Director: Chaitanya Tamahane

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

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

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD

(Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI

Director: Regina King

Casting Directors: Kimberly R. Hardin

Ensemble Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr.

PRODUCERS AWARD

(The Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films)

Lucas Joaquin

Gerry Kim

Kara Durrett

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD

(The Someone to Watch Award 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 26th Truer Than Fiction Award 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

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 SCRIPTED SERIES

Elle FanningThe Great

Shira HaasUnorthodox

Abby McEnanyWork in Progress

Maitreyi RamakrishnanNever Have I Ever

Jordan Kristine SeamónWe Are Who We Are

BEST MALE PERFORMANCE IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES

Adam AliLittle America

Nicco AnnanP-Valley

ConphidanceLittle America

Amit RahavUnorthodox

Harold TorresZeroZeroZero

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES

I MAY DESTROY YOU

Cast: Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Weruche Opia, Stephen Wight

Said Josh Welsh, President Film Independent: “2020 was Hell on Earth. But one glorious lifeline these past months has been the ability to watch so many great films and shows.” He added, “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. And even though we’re still stuck at home, let’s come together to celebrate this great work!”


 The 2021 Film Independent Sprit Awards will be broadcast Thursday, April 22 at 10:00 pm ET/7:00 pm PT exclusively on IFC and AMC+.

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.

The 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.

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