Women Dominate First Feature, Documentary Categories in Spirit Awards Nods

Women Dominate First Feature, Documentary Categories in Spirit Awards Nods

Women directors outnumbered the men among the Independent Spirit Awards‘ Best First Feature and Best Documentary nominees. Women writers were also well represented in the Best Screenplay and Best First Screenplay. However, no woman was nominated for Best Feature, Best Director, or Best International Film. 

Among first-time filmmakers, Wadjda director Haifaa Al Mansour, Una Noche director Lucy Mulloy, and Concussion director Stacie Passon were recognized for their debuts. Interestingly, two of the four women directors nominated for Best Documentary — Gideon’s Army‘s Dawn Porter and After Tiller co-director Lana Wilson — are also newcomers. After Tiller was co-director Martha Shane’s second film, while The Square director Jehane Noujaim is a veteran documentarian. 

Female screenwriters were also paid their due. Before Midnight co-writer Julie Delpy and Enough Said writer-director Nicole Holofcener received Best Screenplay nods, as did In a World‘s Lake Bell and Afternoon Delight‘s Jill Soloway for Best First Screenplay.  

But the Spirit Awards’ biggest head-scratchers come from the actress categories. As Indiewire’s Peter Knegt notes, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Enough Said) and Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) are glaring absences in the Best Actress group. Knegt also points out that the Spirit Awards expanded its Best Actor category to six nominees this year but did not do the same for the female category. 

Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station) represents another surprising omission in the Best Supporting Actress group. Perhaps most unexpectedly, Melonie Diaz (Fruitvale Station) and Yolonda Ross (Go For Sisters) join this year’s award favorites like June Squibb (Nebraska) and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) for Supporting Actress. 

Scroll down for a full list of the female Spirit nominees: 


Best Screenplay

Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater, Before Midnight

Nicole Holofcener, Enough Said

Best First Feature

Concussion, Director: Stacie Passon

Una Noche, Director: Lucy Mulloy

Wadjda, Director: Haifaa Al Mansour


Best First Screenplay

Lake Bell, In A World

Jill Soloway, Afternoon Delight

Best Female Lead

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Julie Delpy, Before Midnight

Gaby Hoffmann, Crystal Fairy

Brie Larson, Short Term 12

Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now

Best Supporting Female

Melonie Diaz, Fruitvale Station

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Yolonda Ross, Go For Sisters

June Squibb, Nebraska 

Best Editing

Jennifer Lame, Frances Ha

Cindy Lee, Una Noche

Best Documentary

After Tiller, Directors: Martha Shane & Lana Wilson

Gideon’s Army, Director: Dawn Porter

The Square, Director: Jehane Noujaim

17th Annual Piaget Producers Award 

Andrea Roa

20th Annual Someone To Watch Award

The Foxy Merkins, Director: Madeline Olnek

19th Annual Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award 

Kalyanee Mam, A River Changes Course

Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez, Manakamana

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