'Nomadland,' Chloé Zhao roll at Indie Spirit Awards; Riz Ahmed wins best actor over Chadwick Boseman

Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY
·2 min read

Just days before the Oscars, award favorites "Nomadland" and director Chloé Zhao continued to roll, taking the top awards at the 36th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards Thursday night.

The drama won a leading four trophies in the virtual ceremony, including best picture, best director and best editing for Zhao and cinematography for Joshua James Richards.

Hosted by "Saturday Night Live" star Melissa Villaseñor, the indie award ceremony gave the best actress award to British actress Carey Mulligan for "Promising Young Woman," edging "Nomadland" actress Frances McDormand and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" star Viola Davis in the hotly contested Oscar category.

"Promising Young Woman" also picked up the screenplay prize for writer-director Emerald Fennell.

In an awards season twist, Riz Ahmed scored best actor for the drama "Sound of Metal," an award that has primarily gone this year to the late Chadwick Boseman for his final performance in "Ma Rainey."

Host Melissa Villaseñor: Sends up Sarah Silverman's apologies for past jokes at the Spirit Awards

Director Chloe Zhao, left, appears with actress Frances McDormand on the set of "Nomadland." (Searchlight Pictures via AP) ORG XMIT: NYET729
Director Chloe Zhao, left, appears with actress Frances McDormand on the set of "Nomadland." (Searchlight Pictures via AP) ORG XMIT: NYET729

The Amazon drama took three awards, including best first feature for director Darius Marder and best-supporting actor for Paul Raci.

Raci, a 30-year-veteran actor, celebrated the win by telling other sometime struggling actors like was not to give up. "Don’t quit your day job, I never did. I still have it too," he said.

Here's the complete list of winners:

Best Feature: "Nomadland" (Searchlight Pictures)

Producers: Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Chloé Zhao

Best Director: Chloé Zhao, "Nomadland" (Searchlight Pictures)

Best Screenplay: Emerald Fennell, "Promising Young Woman" (Focus Features)

Best First Feature: "Sound of Metal" (Amazon Studios). Director: Darius Marder

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

Best First Screenplay: Andy Siara, "Palm Springs" (NEON/Hulu)

John Cassavetes Award (for best feature made under $500,000): "Residue"

Writer/Director: Merawi Gerima

Best Supporting Female: Yuh-Jung Youn, "Minari" (A24)

Best Supporting Male: Paul Raci, "Sound of Metal" (Amazon Studios)

Best Female Lead: Carey Mulligan, "Promising Young Woman" (Focus Features)

Best Male Lead: Riz Ahmed, "Sound of Metal" (Amazon Studios)

Robert Altman Award: "One Night in Miami" (Amazon Studios)

Director: Regina King

Casting Director: Kimberly R. Hardin

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

Best Cinematography: Joshua James Richards, "Nomadland" (Searchlight Pictures)

Best Editing: Chloé Zhao, "Nomadland" (Searchlight Pictures)

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Spirit Awards: 'Nomadland' rolls; Riz Ahmed tops Chadwick Boseman