The Film Independent Spirit Awards announced the nominations today for the 32nd edition of the awards, which honor indie cinema with particular emphasis on low-budget moviemaking.

This year, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight and Andrea Arnold’s American Honey leading the pack with six nominations each (the former takes home the Robert Altman Award, while the latter got nods in three out of four acting categories). Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea follows with five nominations. Three hundred and eighty-two submissions were considered this year, and 44 ended up with nominations. A press release noted that the criteria for selection were “uniqueness of vision, original and provocative subject matter, economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost and individual compensation) and percentage of financing from independent sources.”

Film Independent—is the nonprofit behind the LA Film Festival, Film Independent Forum and Film Independent at LACMA—hands out $75,000 in grants to filmmakers, funded by sponsors Kiehl’s and Piaget. The Spirit Awards are traditionally held the day before the Oscars in Los Angeles: In 2017, this will be February 25, 2017 (The ceremony is televised on IFC). Check out the full list of nominees below (click the links to go to previous MovieMaker coverage of that film or filmmaker).


Best Feature

American Honey

Producers: Thomas Benski, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Lucas Ochoa, Pouya Shahbazian, Alice Weinberg


Producers: Michel Franco, Gina Kwon, Gabriel Ripstein, Moisés Zonana


Producers: Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin, Ari Handel, Juan de Dios Larraín, Mickey Liddell

Manchester by the Sea

Producers: Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward, Kevin J. Walsh


Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski 


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

Chris Kelly on the set of Other People. Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

Chris Kelly on the set of Other People. Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment


John Cassavetes Award

(Given to 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


Writer/Director: So Yong Kim

Writer/Producer: Bradley Rust Gray

Producers: David Hansen, Alex Lipschultz, Johnny Mac


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


Best Director

Andrea Arnold

American Honey

Barry Jenkins


Pablo Larraín        


Jeff Nichols


Kelly Reichardt

Certain Women


Best Screenplay

Barry Jenkins, Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney     


Kenneth Lonergan

Manchester by the Sea

Mike Mills

20th Century Women

Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias

Little Men

Taylor Sheridan

Hell or High Water


Best First Screenplay

Robert Eggers

The Witch

Chris Kelly

Other People

Adam Mansbach


Stella Meghie

Jean of the Joneses

Craig Shilowich



Best Cinematography

Ava Berkofsky

Free In Deed

Lol Crawley

The Childhood of a Leader

Zach Kuperstein

The Eyes of My Mother

James Laxton


Robbie Ryan

American Honey

Photograph by David Bornfriend, courtesy of A24

DP James Laxton on the set of Moonlight. Photograph by David Bornfriend, courtesy of A24


Best Editing      

Matthew Hannam

Swiss Army Man  

Jennifer Lame

Manchester by the Sea

Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders


Jake Roberts

Hell or High Water

Sebastián Sepúlveda


Best Female Lead

Annette Bening

20th Century Women

Isabelle Huppert


Sasha Lane

American Honey

Ruth Negga


Natalie Portman



Best Male Lead

Casey Affleck

Manchester by the Sea 

David Harewood

Free In Deed 

Viggo Mortensen

Captain Fantastic

Jesse Plemons

Other People

Tim Roth



Best Supporting Female

Edwina Findley

Free In Deed

Paulina Garcia

Little Men

Lily Gladstone

Certain Women

Riley Keough

American Honey

Molly Shannon

Other People


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

Ralph Fiennes, with Dakota Johnson, in A Bigger Splash

Ralph Fiennes, with Dakota Johnson, in A Bigger Splash. Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures


Robert Altman Award

(Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)


Director: Barry Jenkins

Casting Director: Yesi Ramirez

Ensemble Cast: Mahershala Ali, Patrick Decile, Naomie Harris, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders


Best Documentary


Director/Producer: Ava DuVernay

Producers: Spencer Averick, Howard Barish


Director/Producer: Kirsten Johnson

Producer: Marilyn Ness

I Am Not Your Negro

Director/Producer: Raoul Peck

Producers: Rémi Grellety, Hérbert Peck

O.J.: Made in America

Director/Producer: Ezra Edelman

Producers: Nina Krstic, Tamara Rosenberg, Caroline Waterlow


Director: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami

Producer: Gerd Haag

Under the Sun

Director: Vitaly Mansky

Producer: Natalya Manskaya


Best International Film



Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho



Director: Athina Tsangari

My Golden Days


Director: Arnaud Desplechin

Toni Erdmann

(Germany and Romania)

Director: Maren Ade

Under the Shadow   

(Iran and U.K.)

Director: Babak Anvari


Narges Rashidi as Shideh in Under The Shadow. Photograph by Kit Fraser


20th Annual Piaget Producers Award

“The 20th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.”

Lisa Kjerulff

Jordana Mollick

Melody C. Roscher and Craig Shilowich


23rd Annual Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award

“The 23rd annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.  The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.”

Andrew Ahn 

Director of Spa Night

Claire Carré

Director of Embers

Anna Rose Holmer

Director of The Fits

Ingrid Jungermann

Director of Women Who Kill


22nd Truer Than Fiction Award 

“The 22nd annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.”

Kristi Jacobson

Director of Solitary     

Sara Jordenö

Director of Kiki

Nanfu Wang

Director of Hooligan Sparrow MM

For more information on the Film Independent Spirit Awards, visit the website here.