This year, the Independent Spirit Awards are really indie. A24 dominates the field with 18 Spirit Award nominations over five films (“The Lighthouse,” “Waves,” “The Farewell,” “Uncut Gems,” and “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”). Of that group, only “The Lighthouse” scored an Oscar nod, for Best Cinematography.
That means several high-profile contenders who did not land Oscar nominations will get strong Spirit sympathy votes. “The Lighthouse” and “Uncut Gems” have five nominations each, so Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, and Adam Sandler are strong acting contenders. In the Supporting Female race, there’s no way Jennifer Lopez doesn’t win the Spirit for Oscar-snubbed “Hustlers,” fresh from her Super Bowl triumph.
“Uncut Gems” goes up against Netflix’s Best Picture Oscar nominee “Marriage Story” for Best Feature, which is already taking home the Robert Altman Ensemble Award for Noah Baumbach’s high-wattage cast (and, who were thus ineligible for acting nominations). That’s why the movie has only three nominations, and could lose Best Feature to the Safdie brothers’ popular thriller.
On the other hand, “Marriage Story” could win Feature and Screenplay, and the Safdies could take home Director, where Baumbach isn’t nominated — unless the voters give that one to Robert Eggers for “The Lighthouse” or Alma Har’el for Amazon’s “Honey Boy.”
Among the Best Actress nominees, only Renee Zellweger, nabbing the solo nod for “Judy,” also factors in the Oscar race. Where the Oscars went the traditional route of favoring white male nominees, for the Spirits this was a year in which the 50-person nominating committee favored the underdog. According to Film Independent, 45 percent of the directing and writing Spirit nominees are women, and 30 percent are people of color.
Last year, “If Beale Street Could Talk” won Best Feature, and Best Supporting Female winner Regina King took home the Oscar the next day. The year before, “Get Out” won Best Feature and writer-director Jordan Peele took home the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.
The predictions for the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards are listed below. Some 7,000 Film Independent members voted for the Spirit Awards, which are presented on February 8.
Will Win: “Marriage Story”
Spoiler: “Uncut Gems”
Will Win: Josh and Benny Safdie (“Uncut Gems”)
Spoiler: Alma Har’el (“Honey Boy”)
Best Male Lead
Will Win: Adam Sandler (“Uncut Gems”)
Spoiler: Robert Pattinson (“The Lighthouse”)
Best Female Lead
Will Win: Renée Zellweger (“Judy”)
Spoiler: Alfre Woodard (“Clemency”)
Will Win: Willem Dafoe (“The Lighthouse”)
Spoiler: Shia LaBeouf (“Honey Boy”)
Best Supporting Female
Will Win: Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”)
Spoiler: Zhao Shuzhen (“The Farewell”)
Will Win: Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”)
Spoiler: Josh and Benny Safdie (“Uncut Gems”)
Will Win: Olivia Wilde (“Booksmart”)
Spoiler: Joe Talbot (“The Last Black Man in San Francisco”)
Best First Screenplay
Will Win: James Montague, Craig W. Sanger (“The Vast of Night”)
Spoiler: Fredrica Bailey, Stefon Bristol (“See You Yesterday”)
Will Win: “American Factory”
Best International Film
Will Win: Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”)
Spoiler: Celine Sciamma (“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”)
Will Win: Jarin Blaschke (“The Lighthouse”)
Spoiler: Natasha Braier (“Honey Boy”)
Will Win: Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie (“Uncut Gems”)
Spoiler: Louise Ford (“The Lighthouse”)
Cassavetes Award (film under $500,000)
Will Win: “Burning Cane”