Updated Independent Spirit Award Predictions


The night before the Academy Awards, the Film Independent Spirit Awards will be handed out. Obviously, the indie equivalent to the Oscars is not a predictable precursor, but it has another charm to it. Namely, it’s that this is the final chance to cite some of the beloved movies of 2019 that the Academy snubbed. Films that came close to Oscar nominations but missed, as well as ones that never sniffed a nomination, they both compete equally here. Other years have had more flicks that line up with the big boys, but it’s an interesting mix here. In fact, it’s very hard to tell how the Indie Spirit Awards will go this time around, but I’m about to try, that’s for sure.

Take a look now at my predictions for the Spirit Awards. We’ll have another update before the show, but for now, this is my preview…

Best Feature

1. Marriage Story
2. Uncut Gems
3. The Farewell
4. Clemency
5. A Hidden Life

Best Director

1. Josh and Ben Safdie – Uncut Gems
2. Alma Har’el – Honey Boy
3. Robert Eggers – The Lighthouse
4. Lorene Scafaria – Hustlers
5. Julius Onah – Luce

Best First Feature

1. The Last Black Man in San Francisco
2. Booksmart
3. The Mustang
4. Diane
5. The Climb
6. See You Yesterday

Best Male Lead

1. Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems
2. Robert Pattinson – The Lighthouse
3. Kelvin Harrison Jr. – Luce
4. Matthias Schoenaerts – The Mustang
5. Chris Galust – Give Me Liberty

Best Female Lead

1. Renée Zellweger – Judy
2. Alfre Woodard – Clemency
3. Mary Kay Place – Diane
4. Elisabeth Moss – Her Smell
5. Karen Allen – Colewell
6. Hong Chau – Driveways

Best Supporting Male

1. Willem Dafoe – The Lighthouse
2. Shia LaBeouf – Honey Boy
3. Jonathan Majors – The Last Black Man in San Francisco
4. Noah Jupe – Honey Boy
5. Wendell Pierce – Burning Cane

Best Supporting Female

1. Zhao Shuzhen – The Farewell
2. Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers
3. Taylor Russell – Waves
4. Octavia Spencer – Luce
5. Lauren “LoLo” Spencer – Give Me Liberty

Best Screenplay

1. Marriage Story
2. Uncut Gems
3. Clemency
4. High Flying Bird
5. To Dust

Best First Screenplay

1. Greener Grass
2. See You Yesterday
3. Blow the Man Down
4. Driveways
5. The Vast of Night

Best International Film

1. Parasite
2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
3. Les Misérables
4. The Souvenir
5. Invisible Life
6. Retablo

Best Documentary Feature

1. Apollo 11
2. For Sama
3. Honeyland
4. American Factory
5. Island of the Hungry Ghosts

Best Cinematography

1. The Lighthouse
2. Honey Boy
3. Midsommar
4. Hustlers
5. The Third Wife

Best Editing

1. Uncut Gems
2. The Lighthouse
3. Sword of Trust
4. The Third Wife
5. Give Me Liberty

John Cassvetes Award (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)

1. Burning Cane
2. Wild Nights with Emily
3. Premature
4. Give Me Liberty
5. Colewell

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 inaugural Bonnie Award will recognize a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines)

1. Kelly Reichardt
2. Lulu Wang
3. Marielle Heller

Jeep Truer Than Fiction Award (The 23rd annual Truer Than Fiction Award, funded by the Jeep brand, 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 funded by the Jeep brand)

1. Khalik Allah (Director of Black Mother)
2. Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside (Director of América)
3. Davy Rothbart (Director of 17 Blocks)
4. Nadia Shihab (Director of Jaddoland)

Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award (The 24th annual Someone to Watch Award, funded 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)

1. Joe Talbot (Director of The Last Black Man in San Francisco)
2. Rashaad Ernesto Green (Director of Premature)
3. Ash Mayfair (Director of The Third Wife)

Piaget Producers Award (The 21st annual Producers Award, funded 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)

1. Krista Parris
2. Ryan Zacarias
3. Mollye Asher

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

Marriage Story
Director: Noah Baumbach
Casting Directors: Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler
Ensemble Cast: Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Julie Hagerty, Scarlett Johansson, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson, Merritt Wever

Stay tuned for a final update next month!

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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