Well, Awards season is officially upon us. The Independent Spirit Awards announced their nominations today, one of the first semi-major galas to do so, even if it traditionally marches to the beat of its own drummer. The annual ceremony only recognizes films with budgets under $20 million, and, save for a few categories, keeps its sights firmly set only on American-made movies.
Which means it’s not by any means a perfect predictor of the Oscars race; many films sure to grab Academy Awards aren’t even eligible. What the Independent Spirit Awards does do is build momentum for some of the smaller pictures fighting it out in the wider awards show circuit, while also of course shining a spotlight on work that may not be recognized elsewhere.
This year, Moonlight and American Honey lead the pack with six nominations apiece. Manchester by the Sea nabbed five, while Other People, Jackie and Free in Deed received four each.
Many of these films may very well go on to wider awards season glory. The strong performance of Jackie in the nominations certainly bodes well for Natalie Portman’s chances at a second Oscar, this time for a chilling portrayal of former First Lady Jackie Kennedy following the assassination of JFK. Both Moonlight and Manchester By the Sea are battling it out for the title of “the little movie that could” this awards season, and though Moonlight eked out one more nomination, they’re both climbing up from the same foothold.
The Spirit nominators also appeared to go wild for Other People, the directing debut of Saturday Night Live‘s current co-head writer Chris Kelly, featuring Molly Shannon in a harrowing turn as a mother battling cancer — with a sense of humor in tact, of course. It might not make it further into the awards circuit, but perhaps it’s worth a watch On Demand with your family this week.
The 3rd Independent Spirit Awards are set to be awarded on February 25th, 2017, and the ceremony will be broadcast live on IFC. As per tradition, the ceremony will take place just one day before the Academy Awards, in a tent on the Santa Monica beach.
Here’re the highlights from the nominations, along with some links to our previous coverage and interviews with the nominees:
Manchester by the Sea
BEST FEMALE LEAD
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Natalie Portman, Jackie
BEST MALE LEAD
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
David Harewood, Free In Deed
Tim Roth, Chronic
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Edwina Findley, Free In Deed
Paulina Garcia, Little Men
Lily Gladstone, Certain Women
Riley Keough, American Honey
BEST SUPPORTING MALE
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
BEST FIRST FEATURE
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 for the best feature made for under $500,000.
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
Lovesong Writer/Director: So Yong Kim Writer/Producer: Bradley Rust Gray Producers: David Hansen, Alex Lipschultz, Johnny Mac
Nakom 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, Moonlight
Pablo Larraín, Jackie
Jeff Nichols, Loving
Kelly Reichardt, Certain Women
Barry Jenkins Story By Tarell Alvin McCraney Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan Manchester by the Sea
Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias Little Men
Taylor Sheridan Hell or High Water
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Robert Eggers The Witch
Chris Kelly Other People
Adam Mansbach Barry
Stella Meghie Jean of the Joneses
Craig Shilowich Christine
Ava Berkofsky Free In Deed
Lol Crawley The Childhood of a Leader
Zach Kuperstein The Eyes of My Mother
James Laxton Moonlight
Robbie Ryan American Honey
Matthew Hannam Swiss Army Man
Jennifer Lame Manchester by the Sea
Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders Moonlight
Jake Roberts Hell or High Water
Sebastián Sepúlveda Jackie
You can find the rest of the nominations here.