TV & Movies

2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards Winners (Updating Live)

Brian Welk

Searchlight Pictures/A24/Focus Features

The winners for the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards are being announced live on Thursday, and for the first time the awards show is taking place in primetime.

The coronavirus resulted in moving the Indie Spirits, now in its 36th year, away from its usual slot as an afternoon hangout in a tent near the Santa Monica pier on the Saturday before the Oscars to now taking place Thursday, April 22 on IFC, with the show also being simulcast on AMC+.

“SNL” cast member Melissa Villaseñor is hosting this year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards. The 2021 crop of nominees was led by “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” with seven nominations, including Best Feature. The teen abortion drama from director Eliza Hittman debuted at Sundance in 2020, and its star Sidney Flanigan, who was also nominated for Best Actress, told TheWrap she set aside a career in music in order to take on the role.

The rest of the crop in the Best Feature category includes “First Cow,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Minari” and “Nomadland,” with the latter two also scoring Best Picture nominations at the Oscars. TheWrap’s Steve Pond argues that normally the Film Independent Spirit Awards have a chance to distinguish themselves from the Oscars, but that might be more challenging this year with this particular crop of nominees.

2021 was also the first year that the Indie Spirits recognized TV categories, and this year “A Teacher,” “I May Destroy You,” “Little America,” “Small Axe” and “Unorthodox” all landed nominations for Best New Scripted Series. “Unorthodox” and “Little America” each scored three nominations. The nomination for “Small Axe” in particular is a notable recognition, as many film critics placed Steve McQueen’s anthology of five films among their lists of the best movies of 2020.

Some of the presenters at this year’s Independent Spirit Awards are Adam Sandler, Renée Zellweger, Daveed Diggs, Julia Garner, Kathryn Hahn, Annie Murphy and Lulu Wang. Sandler last year was a hit at the awards show after he won for Lead Actor for “Uncut Gems,” giving a hilarious speech about how the Indie Spirits are the “Best Personality” prize of awards season. He had even threatened prior to the Oscars that if he was snubbed he would make so many more bad movies with Netflix, which he very quickly followed up on.

Here’s the full list of nominees below, with winners updating live as they come in, as well as links to reviews for the nominated films:

Best Feature
First Cow
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Minari
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Nomadland

Best First Feature
I Carry You With Me
The 40-Year-Old Version
Miss Juneteenth
Nine Days
Sound of Metal

John Casssavetes Award
The Killing of Two Lovers
La Leyenda Negra
Lingua Franca
Residue
Saint Frances

Best Screenplay
Bad Education
Minari
The Half of It
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Promising Young Woman

Best First Screenplay
Kitty Green – The Assistant
Noah Hutton – Lapsis
Channing Godfrey Peoples – Miss Juneteenth
Andy Siara – Palm Springs
James Sweeney – Straight Up

Best Cinematography
The Assistant
Bull
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Nomadland
She Dies Tomorrow

Best Documentary
Collective
Crip Camp
Dick Johnson is Dead
The Mole Agent
Time

Best Supporting Actor
Colman Domingo – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Orion Lee – First Cow
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
Glynn Turman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Benedict Wong – Nine Days

Best Male Lead
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Adarsh Gourav – The White Tiger
Rob Morgan – Bull
Steven Yeun – Minari

Best Female Lead
Nicole Beharie – Miss Juneteenth
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Julia Garner – The Assistant
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Female
Alexis Chikaeze – Miss Juneteenth
Yeri Han – Minari
Valerie Mahaffey – French Exit
Talia Ryder – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Yuh-Jung Youn – MinariWinner

Best Director
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

Best Editing
Andy Canny – The Invisible Man
Scott Cummings – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Merawi Gerima – Residue
Enat Sidi – I Carry You With Me
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

Robert Altman Award
“One Night in Miami…” (Winner)
Director: Regina King
Casting Directors: Kimberly R. Hardin
Ensemble Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr.

Best International Film
Bacurau – Brazil (Directors: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho)
The Disciple – India (Director: Chaitanya Tamhane)
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)

Producers Award
Kara Durrett
Lucas Joaquin
Gerry Kim (Winner)

Someone to Watch Award
David Midell – Director of The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain
Ekwa Msangi (Winner) – Director of Farewell Amor
Annie Silverstein – Director of Bull

Truer Than Fiction Award
Cecilia Aldarondo – Director of Landfall
Elegance Bratton (Winner) – Director of Pier Kids
Elizabeth Lo – Director of Stray

TV CATEGORIES

BEST NEW NON-SCRIPTED OR DOCUMENTARY SERIES
“Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children”
“City So Real”
“Immigration Nation”
“Love Fraud”
“We’re Here”

BEST NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
“I May Destroy You”
“Little America”
“Small Axe”
“A Teacher”
“Unorthodox”

BEST FEMALE PERFORMANCE IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
Elle Fanning – “The Great”
Shira Haas – “Unorthodox”
Abby McEnany – “Work in Progress”
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan – “Never Have I Ever”
Jordan Kristine Seamón – “We Are Who We Are”

BEST MALE PERFORMANCE IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
Conphidance – “Little America”
Adam Ali – “Little America”
Nicco Annan – “P-Valley”
Amit Rahav – “Unorthodox”
Harold Torres – “Zero, Zero, Zero”

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
“I May Destroy You” (Winner)
Ensemble Cast: Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Wruche Opia, Stephen Wight

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