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:
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
Jennifer Lame, Frances Ha
Cindy Lee, Una Noche
After Tiller, Directors: Martha Shane & Lana Wilson
Gideon’s Army, Director: Dawn Porter
The Square, Director: Jehane Noujaim
17th Annual Piaget Producers Award
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