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Strong showings for “Eighth Grade” and “You Were Never Really Here” highlight the Independent Spirit Award nominations

Moments ago, the Film Independent Spirit Awards announced their nominations for 2018. Essentially the Oscars of indie film, this is a time when certain movies can see their only true moment in the sun. As you’ll see below, the nominees this year represent both some major Academy Award players as well as some tiny titles that will go no further. That’s actually part of the real appeal of the Spirits, in that they place these flicks side by side. This seems like one of those years where the Spirit Award winners won’t cross over too much with Oscar, but that remains to be seen. First up, we can just go over the nominees.

The Spirit Awards, nomination wise, were led this year by, in a surprise…We the Animals. Scoring five nominations, that led the field, with Eighth Grade, First Reformed, and You Were Never Really Here next in line with four. Each saw a nice little bump to their overall awards prospects. Getting three citations apiece were If Beale Street Could Talk, Leave No Trace, Private Life, The Tale, and Wildlife. Notably, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Hereditary, and Sorry to Bother You received two nominations each. Then, there was the disappointing single citation for BlacKkKlansman. Others popped up here and there, but those were most notable showings.

Among surprising omissions and snubs, it probably should have been a better day for BlacKkKlansman, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and a few other titles. Overall, my best guess is that this ends up being a place where a whole bunch of different things end up winning. Glenn Close seems like she’ll take Actress, while Ethan Hawke (for First Reformed) and Joaquin Phoenix (for You Were Never Really Here) will duke it out in Actor. Regina King (for If Beale Street Could Talk) and Richard E. Grant (for Can You Ever Forgive Me?) are the favorites in Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor, respectively. Director and Feature could go any number of ways though. That should make this a pretty fun precursor to follow…

Here now are the full 2018 Film Independent Spirit Award nominations:


Eighth Grade

Producers: Eli Bush, Scott Rudin, Christopher Storer, Lila Yacoub

First Reformed

Producers: Jack Binder, Greg Clark, Gary Hamilton, Victoria Hill, David Hinojosa, Frank Murray, Deepak Sikka, Christine Vachon

If Beale Street Could Talk

Producers: Dede Gardner, Barry Jenkins, Jeremy Kleiner, Sara Murphy, Adele Romanski

Leave No Trace

Producers: Anne Harrison, Linda Reisman, Anne Rosellini

You Were Never Really Here

Producers: Rosa Attab, Pascal Caucheteux, Rebecca O’Brien, Lynne Ramsay, James Wilson



Director: Ari Aster

Producers: Kevin Frakes, Lars Knudsen, Buddy Patrick

Sorry to Bother You

Director: Boots Riley

Producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Jonathan Duffy, Charles D. King, George Rush, Forest Whitaker, Kelly Williams

The Tale

Director/Producer: Jennifer Fox

Producers: Sol Bondy, Lawrence Inglee, Mynette Louie, Oren Moverman, Simone Pero, Reka Posta, Laura Rister, Regina K. Scully, Lynda Weinman

We the Animals

Director: Jeremiah Zagar

Producers: Andrew Goldman, Christina D. King, Paul Mezey, Jeremy Yaches


Director/Producer: Paul Dano

Producers: Andrew Duncan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riva Marker, Oren Moverman, Ann Ruark, Alex Saks

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000.

A Bread Factory

Writer/Director/Producer: Patrick Wang

Producers: Daryl Freimark, Matt Miller

En el Séptimo Día

Writer/Director/Producer: Jim McKay

Producers: Alex Bach, Lindsey Cordero, Caroline Kaplan, Michael Stipe

Never Goin’ Back

Writer/Director: Augustine Frizzell

Producers: Liz Cardenas, Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston


Writer/Director/Producer: Alex Moratto

Writer: Thayná Mantesso

Producers: Ramin Bahrani, Jefferson Paulino, Tammy Weiss

Thunder Road

Writer/Director: Jim Cummings

Producers: Natalie Metzger, Zack Parker, Benjamin Weissner


Debra Granik – Leave No Trace

Barry Jenkins – If Beale Street Could Talk

Tamara Jenkins – Private Life

Lynne Ramsay – You Were Never Really Here

Paul Schrader – First Reformed


Richard Glatzer (Writer/Story By), Rebecca Lenkiewicz & Wash Westmoreland – Colette

Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Tamara Jenkins – Private Life

Boots Riley – Sorry to Bother You

Paul Schrader – First Reformed


Bo Burnham – Eighth Grade

Christina Choe – Nancy

Cory Finley – Thoroughbreds

Jennifer Fox – The Tale

Quinn Shephard (Writer/Story By), Laurie Shephard (Story By) – Blame


Ashley Connor – Madeline’s Madeline

Diego Garcia – Wildlife

Benjamin Loeb – Mandy

Sayombhu Mukdeeprom – Suspiria

Zak Mulligan – We the Animals


Joe Bini – You Were Never Really Here

Keiko Deguchi, Brian A. Kates, Jeremiah Zagar – We the Animals

Luke Dunkley, Nick Fenton, Chris Gill, Julian Hart – American Animals

Anne Fabini, Alex Hall, Gary Levy – The Tale

Nick Houy – Mid90s


Glenn Close – The Wife

Toni Collette – Hereditary

Elsie Fisher – Eighth Grade

Regina Hall – Support the Girls

Helena Howard – Madeline’s Madeline

Carey Mulligan – Wildlife


John Cho – Searching

Daveed Diggs – Blindspotting

Ethan Hawke – First Reformed

Christian Malheiros – Sócrates

Joaquin Phoenix – You Were Never Really Here


Kayli Carter – Private Life

Tyne Daly – A Bread Factory

Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk

Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie – Leave No Trace

J. Smith-Cameron – Nancy


Raúl Castillo – We the Animals


Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Josh Hamilton – Eighth Grade

John David Washington – Monsters and Men

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast


Director: Luca Guadagnino

Casting Directors: Avy Kaufman, Stella Savino

Ensemble Cast: Malgosia Bela, Ingrid Caven, Lutz Ebersdorf, Elena Fokina, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, Dakota Johnson, Gala Moody, Chloë Grace Moretz, Renée Soutendijk, Tilda Swinton, Sylvie Testud, Angela Winkler


Hale County This Morning, This Evening

Director/Producer: RaMell Ross

Producers: Joslyn Barnes, Su Kim

Minding the Gap

Director/Producer: Bing Liu

Producer: Diane Quon

Of Fathers and Sons

Director: Talal Derki

Producers: Hans Robert Eisenhauer, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, Tobias N. Siebert

On Her Shoulders

Director: Alexandria Bombach

Producers: Hayley Pappas, Brock Williams


Director/Producer: Sandi Tan

Producers: Jessica Levin, Maya Rudolph

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Director/Producer: Morgan Neville

Producers: Caryn Capotosto, Nicholas Ma



South Korea

Director: Lee Chang-Dong

The Favourite

United Kingdom

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Happy as Lazzaro


Director: Alice Rohrwacher



Director: Alfonso Cuarón



Director: Kore-eda Hirokazu

BONNIE AWARD – Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo joined American Airlines in 1973 at age 24, becoming the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. In her honor, the second Bonnie Award will recognize a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines.

Debra Granik

Tamara Jenkins

Karyn Kusama

PRODUCERS AWARD – The 22nd annual Producers Award 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.

Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams

Gabrielle Nadig

Shrihari Sathe

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 25th annual Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.

Alex Moratto

Director of Sócrates

Ioana Uricaru

Director of Lemonade

Jeremiah Zagar

Director of We the Animals

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 24th 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.

Alexandria Bombach

Director of On Her Shoulders

Bing Liu

Director of Minding the Gap

RaMell Ross

Director of Hale County This Morning, This Evening

Stay tuned to see how these nominees do during the awards season and which ultimately take him Spirit Awards in a few months!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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