You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

‘Spotlight’ Dominates The Spirit Awards Winning Best Picture & Best Director

'Spotlight' Dominates The Spirit Awards Winning Best Picture & Best Director

The Spirit Awards have been in a kind of identity crisis. In the last five years, three of the films they honored with Best Picture (“The Artist,” “12 Years A Slave,” and “Birdman”) were also given the Academy Award for Best Picture. If the Spirits and Oscars overlap, the question is, how truly independent is the awards ceremony, and what makes it distinct? Well, the Spirit Awards may have defined themselves a little bit better tonight with “Spotlight.” The excellent Tom McCarthy-helmed investigative journalism picture swept the awards with the most significant prizes, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay (read our review). A big winner for Open Road Films, who were shut out of the Oscars last year with “Nightcrawler,” “Spotlight” has earned a terrific $38.5 million so far domestically and is the company’s fifth highest earner to date.

READ MORE: ‘Carol,’ ‘Beasts Of No Nation,’ And ‘Spotlight’ Lead 2016 Independent Spirit Award Nominations

Of course, it’s entirely possible that “Spotlight” could sneak in and win Best Picture tomorrow, but the Oscars feel like a race between “The Big Short” and “The Revenant,” and the only overlap might be Best Screenplay (watch “Spotlight” win tomorrow and destroy this narrative, though to be honest, I would be absolutely elated if that happened). The Spirits were also a big night for diversity with Idris Elba winning Best Supporting Actor for “Beasts Of No Nation” (he failed to score an Oscar nomination, to much backlash), Abraham Attah winning Best Actor for the same film, and transgender thespian Mya Taylor winning Best Actress for the micro-indie “Tangerine.”

The big snub of the night was the continued overlooking of The Weinstein Company’s lesbian love story “Carol.” Directed by Todd Haynes, “Carol” led the spirits with the most nominations, six, but it only walked away with one award: Ed Lachman’s win for Best Cinematography. Walking away empty handed was the critically acclaimed “Anomalisa,” up for four major awards, but winning none. Full list of winners below.

Best Feature
WINNER: “Spotlight”
“Beasts Of No Nation”

Best First Feature

WINNER: “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl” 
 “James White”
“Manos Sucias”
“Songs My Brother Taught Me”

Best International Film

WINNER: “Son Of Saul” 
 “A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence”
“Embrace Of The Serpent”

Best Director

WINNER: Tom McCarthy — “Spotlight” 
Cary Joji Fukunaga — “Beasts Of No Nation”
Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson — “Anomalisa”
David Robert Mitchell — “It Follows”
Sean Baker — “Tangerine”
Todd Haynes — “Carol”

Best Female Lead

WINNER: Brie Larson — “Room”
 Bel Powley — “Diary Of A Teenage Girl”
Cate Blanchett — “Carol”
Katana Kiki Rodriguez — “Tangerine”
Rooney Mara — “Carol”

Best Male Lead

WINNER: Abraham Attah — “Beasts Of No Nation”
Ben Mendelsohn — “Mississippi Grind”
Christopher Abbott — “James White”
Jason Segel — “The End Of The Tour”
Koudous Seihon — “Mediterranea”

Best Supporting Female

WINNER: Mya Taylor — “Tangerine”
Cynthia Nixon — “James White”
Jennifer Jason Leigh — “Anomalisa”
Marin Ireland — “Glass Chin”
Robin Bartlett — “H.”

Best Supporting Male

WINNER: Idris Elba — “Beasts Of No Nation”
Kevin Corrigan — “Results”
Michael Shannon — “99 Homes”
Paul Dano — “Love & Mercy”
Richard Jenkins — “Bone Tomahawk”

Best First Screenplay

WINNER: Emma Donoghue — “Room”
Jesse Andrews — “Me And Earl And The Dying Girl”
John Magary, Russell Harbagh, Myna Joseph — “The Mend”
Jonas Carpignano — “Mediterranea”
Marielle Heller — “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl”

Best Screenplay
WINNER: Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer — “Spotlight” 
Charlie Kaufman — “Anomalisa”
Donald Marguiles — “The End Of The Tour”
Phyllis Nagy — “Carol”
S. Craig Zahler — “Bone Tomahawk”

Best Cinematography

WINNER:  Ed Lachman — “Carol”
Cary Joji Fukunaga — “Beasts Of No Nation”
Joshua James Richards — “Songs My Brother Taught Me”
Michael Giolakis — “It Follows”
Reed Morano — “Meadowland”

Best Documentary

WINNER: “The Look Of Silence”
“Best Of Enemies”
“Heart Of A Dog”
“The Russian Woodpecker”

Best Editing

WINNER: Tom McArdle — “Spotlight” 
Julio C. Perez IV — “It Follows”
Kristan Sprague — “Manos Sucias”
Nathan Nugent — “Room”
Ronald Bronstein and Benny Sadie — “Heaven Knows What”

John Cassavetes Award

WINNER: “Krisha”
“Christmas, Again”
“Heaven Knows What”
“Out Of My Hand”

Robert Altman Award


Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award
The 22nd 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.

WINNER: Felix Thompson, “King Jack”
Chloe Zhao, “Songs My Brothers Taught Me”
Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, “God Bless the Child”

Piaget Producers Award
The 19th 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.
WINNER: Mel Eslyn
Darren Dean
Rebecca Green & Laura D. Smith

Truer Than Fiction
The 21st annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters 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 LensCrafters.
WINNER: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, “Incorruptible”
Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti, “A Woman Like Me”
Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi, “Among the Believers”

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Awards and tagged , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox