Saturday, January 20, 2018
  • Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016
"American Honey," "Moonlight" Shine With 6 Spirit Award Nominations Apiece
This image released by A24 Films shows Alex Hibbert in a scene from the film, "Moonlight." The film was nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award for best feature on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. The annual awards show will be held on Feb. 25, 2017. (David Bornfriend/A24 via AP)
  • --

Two distinctly American odysseys, Andrea Arnold’s teens-on-the-road film “American Honey” and Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age tale “Moonlight” led the Film Independent Spirit Awards nominations Tuesday with six nods each, including best feature and best director.

Other best-feature candidates are “Manchester by the Sea,” ‘’Jackie” and “Chronic.” Jenny Slate and Edgar Ramirez announced the nominees at an event in Hollywood.

Nominations for “American Honey” also include best female lead for newcomer Sasha Lane and best supporting male for Shia LaBeouf. “Moonlight,” which captured the Robert Altman Award for its ensemble cast, is being recognized for cinematography, editing and screenplay.

Oscar hopefuls are sprinkled throughout each category of the awards recognizing achievements in independent film, and occasionally the two sync up with their winners. Last year’s best independent feature winner “Spotlight” went on to pick up the top prize at the Academy Awards, as did best actress Brie Larson for “Room.”

Both “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan’s New England-set familial drama, are considered top contenders for Oscars.

“Manchester by the Sea’s” five nominations include best actor for Casey Affleck and best supporting actor for Lucas Hedges.

The best actress category also is filled with presumed Oscar darlings such as Annette Bening for “20th Century Women,” Isabelle Huppert for “Elle,” Ruth Negga for “Loving” and Natalie Portman for “Jackie.”

The Independent Spirit Awards also shines a spotlight on comparatively under-the-radar films, including “The Fits,” from first-time director Anna Rose Holmer, Robert Eggers’ “The Witch,” Chris Kelly’s “Other People” and Andrew Ahn’s “Spa Night.”

This year’s 382 film submissions were judged on such guidelines as uniqueness of vision, originality of subject matter, economy of means and percentage of financing from independent sources.

Some films with an indie edge, like the much-lauded Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone musical “La La Land” from director Damien Chazelle, were not eligible due to production budgets north of $30 million. Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals” and Denzel Washington’s “Fences” also were not eligible.

Nominations are chosen by members of Film Independent, which includes critics, filmmakers, actors, festival programmers, past winners and nominees, and members of its board of directors.

Winners will be revealed at a Feb. 25 ceremony, airing live on IFC from Santa Monica. The Academy Awards are presented the next day.

On a separate front, winners of the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants and Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 7, 2017, at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood.

“The Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants enable us to not only recognize great work but also to provide much needed direct financial support to filmmakers,” said Josh Welsh, president of Film Independent. “We’re so appreciative of our grant funders, Kiehl’s Since 1851 and Piaget. Through their funding of the Producers Award, Piaget has been a steadfast supporter of film artists for the last decade.”

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

American Honey
Producers: Thomas Benski, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Lucas Ochoa, Pouya Shahbazian, Alice Weinberg

Producers: Michel Franco, Gina Kwon, Gabriel Ripstein, Moisés Zonana

Producers: Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin, Ari Handel, Juan de Dios Larraín,        Mickey Liddell

Manchester by the Sea
Producers: Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward,  Kevin J. Walsh

Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

(Award given to the director and producer)

The Childhood of a Leader
Director: Brady Corbet
Producers: Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre, Chris Coen, Ron Curtis, Helena Danielsson, Mona Fastvold, István Major

The Fits
Director/Producer: Anna Rose Holmer
Producer: Lisa Kjerulff

Other People
Director: Chris Kelly
Producers: Sam Bisbee, Adam Scott, Naomi Scott

Swiss Army Man
Directors: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Producers: Miranda Bailey, Lawrence Inglee, Lauren Mann, Amanda Marshall, Eyal Rimmon, Jonathan Wang

The Witch
Director: Robert Eggers
Producers: Daniel Bekerman, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Jodi Redmond, Rodrigo Teixeira

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.

Free In Deed
Writer/Director: Jake Mahaffy
Producers: Mike Bowes, Mike S. Ryan, Brent Stiefel

Hunter Gatherer
Writer/Director: Josh Locy
Producers: Michael Covino, April Lamb, Sara Murphy, Isaiah Smallman

Writer/Director: So Yong Kim
Writer/Producer: Bradley Rust Gray
Producers: David Hansen, Alex Lipschultz, Johnny Mac

Writer/Director/Producer: TW Pittman
Director/Producer: Kelly Daniela Norris
Writer/Producer: Isaac Adakudugu     
Producer: Giovanni Ximénez

Spa Night
Writer/Director: Andrew Ahn
Producers: David Ariniello, Giulia Caruso, Ki Jin Kim, Kelly Thomas


Andrea Arnold
American Honey

Barry Jenkins

Pablo Larraín

Jeff Nichols

Kelly Reichardt
Certain Women


Barry Jenkins
Story By Tarell Alvin McCraney    

Kenneth Lonergan
Manchester by the Sea

Mike Mills
20th Century Women

Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias
Little Men

Taylor Sheridan
Hell or High Water


Robert Eggers
The Witch

Chris Kelly
Other People

Adam Mansbach

Stella Meghie
Jean of the Joneses

Craig Shilowich


Ava Berkofsky
Free In Deed

Lol Crawley
The Childhood of a Leader

Zach Kuperstein
The Eyes of My Mother

James Laxton

Robbie Ryan
American Honey


Matthew Hannam
Swiss Army Man

Jennifer Lame
Manchester by the Sea

Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders

Jake Roberts
Hell or High Water

Sebastián Sepúlveda


Annette Bening
20th Century Women

Isabelle Huppert

Sasha Lane
American Honey

Ruth Negga

Natalie Portman


Casey Affleck
Manchester by the Sea

David Harewood
Free In Deed

Viggo Mortensen
Captain Fantastic

Jesse Plemons
Other People

Tim Roth


Edwina Findley
Free In Deed

Paulina Garcia
Little Men

Lily Gladstone
Certain Women

Riley Keough
American Honey

Molly Shannon
Other People


Ralph Fiennes
A Bigger Splash

Ben Foster
Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges
Manchester by the Sea

Shia LaBeouf
American Honey

Craig Robinson
Morris from America

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

Director: Barry Jenkins
Casting Director: Yesi Ramirez
Ensemble Cast: Mahershala Ali, Patrick Decile, Naomie Harris, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

Director/Producer: Ava DuVernay
Producers: Spencer Averick, Howard Barish

Director/Producer: Kirsten Johnson
Producer: Marilyn Ness

I Am Not Your Negro           
Director/Producer: Raoul Peck
Producers: Rémi Grellety, Hérbert Peck         

O.J.: Made in America
Director/Producer: Ezra Edelman
Producers: Nina Krstic, Tamara Rosenberg, Caroline Waterlow

Director: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Producer: Gerd Haag

Under the Sun
Director: Vitaly Mansky
Producer: Natalya Manskaya

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)

Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho             

Director: Athina Tsangari

My Golden Days
Director: Arnaud Desplechin

Toni Erdmann
(Germany and Romania)
Director: Maren Ade

Under the Shadow  
(Iran and U.K.)
Director: Babak Anvari


20th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 20th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, 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 funded by Piaget.

Lisa Kjerulff

Jordana Mollick

Melody C. Roscher & Craig Shilowich

23rd ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 23rd annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.  The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.

Andrew Ahn 
Director of Spa Night

Claire Carré
Director of Embers     

Anna Rose Holmer
Director of The Fits

Ingrid Jungermann
Director of Women Who Kill

22nd TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 22nd 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.

Kristi Jacobson
Director of Solitary      

Sara Jordenö
Director of Kiki

Nanfu Wang
Director of Hooligan Sparrow