Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the Los Angeles Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA, announced nominations for the 2015 Spirit Awards this morning. Film Independent President Josh Welsh presided over the press conference held at the W Hollywood, with actors Rosario Dawson and Diego Luna presenting the nominations. Nominees for Best Feature included Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Boyhood,Love is Strange, Selma and Whiplash.

“As we celebrate 30 years of great independent film,” said Josh Welsh, President of Film Independent, “this year’s nominees are an astonishingly strong group of films and filmmakers which demonstrate the uniqueness of vision we honor at this show.”

Inherent Vice 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.

“Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice is a testament to the spirit of Altman’s tradition of artistic collaboration,” said Welsh. “The film features an exquisite ensemble of actors masterfully directed and cast.”

Film Independent also awarded a Special Distinction Award to Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher for its uniqueness of vision, honesty of direction and screenwriting, superb acting and achievement on every level of filmmaking. Due to Spirit Awards guidelines, Inherent Vice andFoxcatcher werenot eligible for individual nominations.

Winners will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 21, 2015. The awards ceremony will be held as a daytime luncheon in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. This year the show will broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 2:00 PM PT/ 5:00 PM ET.

Winners of the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants will be highlighted during the awards ceremony and announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants and Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 10, 2015, at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood.

The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees selected nominees from 341 submissions this year and applied the following guidelines in determining the nominations: uniqueness of vision, original and provocative subject matter, economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost and individual compensation) and percentage of financing from independent sources. 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.

Over the past 30 years the Film Independent Spirit Awards has made a name for itself as the premiere awards show for the independent film community. Artists who have received industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Joel and Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams, Lena Dunham and many more.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors Piaget, The Lincoln Motor Company, Bank of America, Heineken and IFC. T-Mobile is the Official Arrivals Show Sponsor and FIJI Water is the Official Water of the 2015 Spirit Awards. WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent.

The Spirit Awards is the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs. To inquire about individual seating and tables at the Spirit Awards, please contact Jennifer Murby at or 310.432.1253.

For more information on submission guidelines, voting, media and publicist credentials, and the history of the Spirit Awards, please visit


BEST FEATURE  (Award given to the producer; executive producers are not awarded.)

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole

Producers: Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland

Love is Strange
Producers: Lucas Joaquin, Lars Knudsen, Ira Sachs, Jayne Baron Sherman, Jay Van Hoy

Producers: Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey

Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak


Damien Chazelle

Ava DuVernay

Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Richard Linklater

David Zellner
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter


Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
Big Eyes

J.C. Chandor
A Most Violent Year

Dan Gilroy

Jim Jarmusch
Only Lovers Left Alive

Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias
Love is Strange

BEST FIRST FEATURE  (Award given to the director and producer.)

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Producers: Justin Begnaud, Sina Sayyah

Dear White People
Director/Producer: Justin Simien
Producers: Effie T. Brown, Ann Le, Julia Lebedev, Angel Lopez, Lena Waithe

Director: Dan Gilroy
Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak

Obvious Child
Director: Gillian Robespierre
Producer: Elisabeth Holm

She’s Lost Control
Director/Producer: Anja Marquardt
Producers: Mollye Asher, Kiara C. Jones 


Desiree Akhavan
Appropriate Behavior

Sara Colangelo
Little Accidents

Justin Lader
The One I Love

Anja Marquardt
She’s Lost Control

Justin Simien
Dear White People

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.

Blue Ruin
Writer/Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Producers:Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani

It Felt Like Love
Writer/Director/Producer: Eliza Hittman
Producers: Shrihari Sathe, Laura Wagner

Land Ho!
Writers/Directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens
Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy

Man From Reno
Writer/Director: Dave Boyle
Writers: Joel Clark, Michael Lerman
Producer: Ko Mori

Writer/Director/Producer: Chris Mason Johnson
Producer: Chris Martin


Marion Cotillard
The Immigrant

Rinko Kikuchi
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

Julianne Moore
Still Alice

Jenny Slate
Obvious Child

Tilda Swinton
Only Lovers Left Alive


André Benjamin
Jimi: All Is By My Side

Jake Gyllenhaal

Michael Keaton
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

John Lithgow
Love is Strange

David Oyelowo


Patricia Arquette

Jessica Chastain
A Most Violent Year

Carmen Ejogo

Andrea Suarez Paz

Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

Emma Stone
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)


Riz Ahmed

Ethan Hawke

Alfred Molina
Love is Strange

Edward Norton
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

J.K. Simmons


Darius Khondji
The Immigrant

Emmanuel Lubezki
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Sean Porter
It Felt Like Love

Lyle Vincent
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Bradford Young


Sandra Adair

Tom Cross

John Gilroy

Ron Patane
A Most Violent Year

Adam Wingard
The Guest

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer.)

20,000 Days on Earth
Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
Producers: Dan Bowen, James Wilson

Director/Producer: Laura Poitras
Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky

Stray Dog
Director: Debra Granik
Producer: Anne Rosellini

The Salt of the Earth
Directors: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders
Producer: David Rosier

Director/Producer: Orlando Von Einsiedel
Producer: Joanna Natasegara

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM  (Award given to the director.)

Force Majeure
Director: Ruben Östlund

Director: Pawel Pawlikowski

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Director: Xavier Dolan

Norte, the End of History
Director: Lav Diaz

Under the Skin
(United Kingdom)
Director: Jonathan Glazer

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

Inherent Vice
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Casting Director: Cassandra Kulukundis
Ensemble Cast: Josh Brolin, Martin Donovan, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Joaquin Phoenix, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio Del Toro, Katherine Waterston, Michael Kenneth Williams, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon


Director/Producer: Bennett Miller
Producers: Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik
Writers: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Actors: Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum

18th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 18th 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.

Chad Burris
Elisabeth Holm
Chris Ohlson

21st ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 21st 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.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour

Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia

The Retrieval
Director:Chris Eska

20th ANNUAL LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 20th annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters 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 funded by LensCrafters.

Approaching the Elephant
Director: Amanda Rose Wilder

Evolution of a Criminal
Director: Darius Clark Monroe

The Kill Team
Director: Dan Krauss

The Last Season
Director: Sara Dosa

Now in its 30th year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration that honors 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 and international independent filmmakers and promotes the finest independent films of the year to a wider audience. The winners of the Spirit Awards are voted upon by Film Independent and IFP Members. Awards are given in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, Best Screenplay, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, the Robert Altman Award, Best International Film and Best Documentary. The Filmmaker Grants include the Piaget Producers Award, the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award and the LensCrafters Truer Than Fiction Award. The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors Piaget, The Lincoln Motor Company, Bank of America, Heineken and IFC. T-Mobile is the Official Arrivals Show Sponsor and FIJI Water is the Official Water of the 2015 Spirit Awards. WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent.

Want to vote?

Film Independent Members vote to determine the winners at the Spirit Awards. Members can attend free Nominee Screening Series in Los Angeles and New York and receive DVD screeners of select nominees by mail. Members must be current by December 5, 2014 to receive full voting benefits. 

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