10 Takeaways from The Film Independent Spirit Award Nominations


The Film Independent Spirit Awards celebrate the best of American cinema within the indie space, specifically those with a budget less than $20 Million. Over the years The Spirit Awards have come to be known as a good predictor of The Oscars with the last 4 winners of Best Picture also going on to win Best Picture at The Academy Awards. The nominations for the 33rd edition of The Spirit Award were announced earlier today by actresses Tessa Thompson and Lily Collins and as always, there are some big takeaways and implications for the 2018 Oscar race.


Call Me By Your Name Leads The Charge

Having Premiered at Sundance, Luca Guadagnino’s deeply affecting gay romance has increasingly built up steam and unsurprisingly emerged as the clear frontrunner at this year’s Spirit Awards where it has the most nominations (6) across all the major categories- Best Film, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Editing and Cinematography. Releasing in the US this Friday, these nominations will also help the box office prospects of the film and I for one wouldn’t be surprised to see another La La Land Moonlight at The Oscars this year.

Image result for call me by your name


Get Out Is A Shoo-In

Before the start of the award season, the fate of Jordan Peele’s Get Out was unclear. It is one of the biggest commercial hits of the year having earned in excess of $250 Mn when it released in early January – both factors which don’t help its case at the Oscars. But with the strong nods at The Gotham Awards, last month and 5 nominations at The Spirit Awards today (Including Best Picture, Director, Actor) it is now clear that the social thriller is going to be a major player. I’d go as far as to say that the film may well have a shot at Best Picture. Especially in a year which doesn’t seem to be bursting with films of racial diversity.



The Curious Case Of Greta Gerwig

Actress Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Ladybird – which explores a turbulent mother-daughter relationship – got nods for both Best Picture and Screenplay. However, whilst all the other 4 Best Feature nominees were also nominated for Best Director, Gerwig was not. Ava DuVernay was similarly snubbed for Selma at Oscars 2015, which begs the questions – why is it so hard for female directors to get nominated despite delivering great films?



The Odds Aren’t In Favour Of Three Billboards 

Despite rave reviews across the board, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy failed to bag a Best Feature nomination at the Spirits this year which begs the question of whether it will similarly be snubbed by Academy Awards The Spirits have correctly predicted the winners of the Best Picture Oscar 5 times in the last 6 years most recently with the likes of Moonlight, Spotlight, Birdman and 12 Years A Slave. What will come of Three Billboards still remains to be seen, but the hope is the film will get its due and recognition it clearly deserves.

In this award season, where no film is the clear frontrunner, this gives an edge to Shape of Water/Dunkirk/CMBYN to take home the big prize.


A24 Is The New Fox Searchlight

A24 is fast becoming the go-to studio for Indie filmmakers. Unsurprising considering it holds 17 nominations at the Spirits this year  (Lady Bird– 4, Good Time – 5, Florida Project – 2, Killing Of A Sacred Deer– 2, The Disaster Artist- 1, The Lovers– 1, Menashe – 1, Ghost Story– 1). Fox Searchlight also did well with 3 nominations for Three Billboards but Guillermo Del Toro raved about The Shape of Water was not eligible as its budget surpassed $20 Million like La La Land last year.

"The Shape of Water"


The Supporting Actor Conundrum

Sean Baker’s heart-melting The Florida Project has seen a dip in its odds over the past few weeks with the Spirits further re-affirming that. Despite getting a coveted Best Feature nod, it did not get a Supporting Actor Nomination for William Dafoe who has been touted as the frontrunner for the category for three months now. Similarly, Call Me By Your Name‘s stellar performance from Michael Stuhlbarg also got a snub, while Armie Hammer did, thanks to some strong campaigning from Hammer’s team over the past month.



Rebound For Mudbound?

The recent Netflix release Mudbound only bagged a Best Ensemble nod at the Spirits. The fact that it did not get any other nominations is worrisome with the final litmus test being the upcoming SAG awards. If it manages a nomination there, it may well be locked in for a Best Picture nomination. Till then, we patiently await the Critics Choice Nominations early next month.


Some Surprises

Besides all the snubs and sure-things from any award shows, there are also the surprises that no one sees coming. For the Spirits, this was no doubt The Rider from Sony Picture Classics picked up 4 nominations including Best Feature and Best Director. Equally unexpected was Harrison Dickinson’s understated performance from Beach Rats getting in the Best Actor Race, Patti Cake$‘nod for First Feature and Beatriz At Dinner (Best Actress Salma Hayek and Best Screenplay). Columbus and I Am Not A Witch are also interesting picks both of which got some recognition.


Much Love For The Big Sick 

As many through the year have predicted, rom-com The Big Sick got much with a Supporting Actress nomination for Holly Hunter, as well as a Screenplay nod. This certainly bodes well for the small indie with a big heart’s future at the Oscars.


The complete list of Independent Spirit Award Nominations:

Call Me By Your Name (6 nominations)
The Florida Project (2 nominations)
Get Out (5 nominations)
Lady Bird (4 nominations)
The Rider (4 nominations)

Sean Baker, The Florida Project
Jonas Carpignano, A Ciambra
Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name
Jordan Peele, Get Out
The Safdie Brothers, Good Time
Chloé Zhao, The Rider

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Harris Dickinson, Beach Rats
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaaluya, Get Out
Robert Pattinson, Good Time

Salma Hayek, Beatriz at Dinner
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards
Margot Robbie, I Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Regina Williams, Life and Nothing More

Nnamdi Asomugha, Crown Heights
Armie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name
Barry Keoghan, The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards
Bennie Safdie, Good Time

Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Lois Smith, Marjorie Prime
Taliah Lennice Webster, Good Time

Lady Bird
The Lovers
Three Billboards
Get Out
Beatriz at Dinner

Donald Cried
The Big Sick
Women Who Kill
Ingrid Goes West

The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Beach Rats
Call Me By Your Name
The Rider

Good Time
Call Me By Your Name
The Rider
Get Out
I Tonya

BPM (Beats Per Minute) (France)
A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
I Am Not a Witch (UK/France)
Lady Macbeth (UK)
Loveless (Russia)

Faces Places
The Departure
Last Man in Aleppo

Ingrid Goes West
Oh Lucy
Patti Cake$


The Independent Spirit Awards will be announced on March 3, a day before the Academy Awards.

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