Spirit Awards: ‘Nomadland’ Takes Best Feature, Tops With Four Wins; Riz Ahmed & Carey Mulligan Lead Actors, ‘I May Destroy You’, ‘Unorthodox’ Score In TV – Full Winners List

Patrick Hipes and Antonia Blyth
·5 min read

Searchlight’s Nomadland won the marquee Best Feature category on Thursday to cap the 36th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, the final big awards show ahead of Sunday’s Oscars. The Chloé Zhao film, a frontrunner all movie-awards season, won a leading four trophies tonight in the virtual ceremony, including Director and Editing for Zhao and Cinematography for Joshua James Richards.

“In our film Bob Wells says to Fern that you’ve come to the right place to connect with your tribe, your community and independent film you are our community,” producer Mollye Asher said during the Nomadland team’s acceptance speech. Added fellow producer Dan Janvey: “We couldn’t have done it without all the hearts and hands of our fellow collaborators, our fellow filmmakers, who were the Nomadland Company, so to all of you we accept this on your behalf.”

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The marquee indie-focused awards show hosted by a very busy Melissa Villaseñor from SNL (her interstitial skits included impressions of everyone from Owen Wilson to Billie Eilish) also handed out three awards to Amazon Studios’ Sound of Metal, including to Riz Ahmed for Best Lead Actor, Paul Raci for Supporting Actor and Best First Feature for director Darius Marder and his producers.

Raci, who signed throughout his acceptance speech, might have given the best advice to the indie-focused audience during the ceremony, which aired live on IFC and AMC+. “Don’t quit your day job, I never did,” the journeyman actor said, smiling. “I still have it too.”

Carey Mulligan took the Lead Actress prize for Focus Features’ Promising Young Woman, edging out the likes of Frances McDormand and Viola Davis in the category. Promising Young Woman also picked up the Screenplay prize for writer-director Emerald Fennell. Fennell and Zhao will face off in the Directors race at Sunday’s Oscars.

Searchlight, Amazon Studios and Netflix tied for the most wins by distributor on the night with four apiece.

Minari‘s Yuh-jung Youn was named Supporting Actress to solidify her frontrunner status for Sunday. Netflix’s Crip Camp won the Documentary Award, with Nicole Newnham thanking her executive producers Barack and Michelle Obama.

“I think that the film that Nicole and I and Sarah made proves that authentic stories are things that people really, really want to see, but it really took people with disabilities working on the film to really represent us in a light that we’ve really rarely been seen in,” fellow director Jim LeBrecht said.

Other winners tonight included Andy Siara winning Best First Screenplay for Palm Springs, while Amazon’s One Night in Miami director Regina King and the ensemble cast was honored with the Robert Altman Award.

The Spirits introduced five new TV categories this year, and HBO’s smash I May Destroy You won Best New Scripted Series to go along with a previously announced Ensemble award, while Netflix’s Unorthodox stars Shira Haas and Amit Rahav swept the Female and Male Performance in a Scripted Series honors, respectively.

I May Destroy You’s Ensemble honor was presented by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who said Michaela Coel’s HBO show “took television to a new level… gave us perspectives so rarely seen on our screens…naked humanity, while each being at times a hero and a villain in their own stories.”

Said Coel: “If I could convey to people watching that they’re not alone, that they should be kind to themselves, that would be a dream come true.”

Here’s the full winners list:

BEST FEATURE

Nomadland

BEST FEMALE LEAD

Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
(The Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition)

EKWA MSANGI

Director of Farewell Amor

BEST MALE LEAD

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

PRODUCERS AWARD
(The Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films)

Gerry Kim

BEST DIRECTOR

Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

BEST NEW NON-SCRIPTED OR DOCUMENTARY SERIES

IMMIGRATION NATION

Executive Producers: Christina Clusiau, Shaul Schwarz, Dan Cogan, Jenny Raskin, Brandon Hill, Christian Thompson

Co-Executive Producers: Andrey Alistratov, Jay Arthur Sterrenberg, Lauren Haber

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD

RESIDUE

Writer/Director: Merawi Gerima

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Joshua James Richards, Nomadland

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM

QUO VADIS, AIDA? (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Director: Jasmila Žbanić

BEST EDITING

Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES

I MAY DESTROY YOU

Cast: Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Weruche Opia, Stephen Wight

BEST MALE PERFORMANCE IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES

Amit Rahav, Unorthodox

BEST FEMALE PERFORMANCE IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES

Shira Haas, Unorthodox

BEST NEW SCRIPTED SERIES

I MAY DESTROY YOU

Creator/Executive Producer: Michaela Coel

Executive Producers: Phil Clarke, Roberto Troni

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI

Director: Regina King

Casting Directors: Kimberly R. Hardin

Ensemble Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr.

BEST SCREENPLAY

Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

BEST DOCUMENTARY

CRIP CAMP

Directors/Producers: Jim LeBrecht, Nicole Newnham

Producer: Sara Bolder

BEST SUPPORTING MALE

Paul Raci, Sound of Metal

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD

ELEGANCE BRATTON
Director of Pier Kids

BEST FIRST FEATURE

SOUND OF METAL

Director: Darius Marder

Producers: Bill Benz, Kathy Benz, Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

Andy Siara, Palm Springs

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

Yuh-jung Youn, Minari

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