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Spirit Awards 2021 Winners List: ‘Nomadland,’ ‘I May Destroy You,’ Riz Ahmed, Carey Mulligan Win Big

"Nomadland" picked up Best Feature and Best Director ahead of the Oscars ceremony later this week.

sound of metal

“Sound of Metal”

“Mank” is the big leader at the 2021 Oscars with 10 nominations, but that wasn’t the case at the 36th Film Independent Spirit Awards. The nomination leader at this ceremony was Eliza Hittman’s acclaimed “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which the Academy shut out from the Oscars. The same goes for other beloved Spirit Award nominees like “First Cow,” “Miss Juneteenth,” and “The Assistant.” In other words, the Indie Spirit Awards were a breath of fresh air in this elongated awards season where underdog indie contenders finally get their due in the spotlight.

“Minari” also preformed strong at the Indie Spirits, earning six nominations to match its six Oscar nominations. Fellow Oscar nominees “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Nomadland” each picked up five Spirit Award nominations. Netflix was the most nominated studio with 16 nominations, followed by Focus Features with 10 and A24 with 9.

“Nomadland” was the big winner, taking home the prizes for Best Feature and Best Director, plus Best Editing. “I tried to focus on the human experience and things that I feel go beyond political statements to be more universal — the loss of a loved one, searching for home,” Zhao told IndieWire last year about her awards darling. “I keep thinking about my family back in China — how would they feel about a cowboy in South Dakota, or a woman in her 60s living in America? If I make it too specific to any issues, I know it’s going to create a barrier. They’d go, ‘That’s their problem.’”

While the Spirit Awards historically take place the Saturday before Oscars Sunday, the pandemic inspired Film Independent to break with tradition and plan a Thursday evening ceremony instead. Not only that, but 2021 marks the first time the Spirit Awards are welcoming television categories into the mix. First-time television nominees include “I May Destroy You,” “The Great,” “Small Axe,” and “A Teacher.”

The 2021 Indie Spirit Awards broadcasted live on IFC channel tonight at 10pm ET. In addition to the linear broadcast, the Spirit Awards streamed simultaneously on AMC+. Following the broadcast, the full awards ceremony will be made available on demand across AMC+ and IFC platforms starting Friday, April 23.

The nominations for the 2021 Indie Spirit Awards are listed below. Winners in each category are bolded.

Best Feature
“First Cow”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
“Minari”
“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
“Nomadland” (WINNER)

Best Director
Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”
Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”
Eliza Hittman,” Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Kelly Reichardt, “First Cow”
Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland” (WINNER)

Best First Feature
“I Carry You With Me”
“The 40 Year Old Version”
“Sound of Metal” (WINNER)
“Miss Juneteenth”
“Nine Days”

Best Female Lead
Nicole Beharie, “Miss Juneteenth”
Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Sidney Flanigan, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Julia Garner, “The Assistant”
Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman” (WINNER)

Best Male Lead
Riz Ahmed, “The Sound of Metal” (WINNER)
Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Rob Morgan, “Bull”
Steven Yeun, “Minari”
Adarsh Gourav, “The White Tiger”

Best Supporting Female
Alexis Chikaeze, “Miss Juneteenth”
Yeri Han, “Minari”
Valerie Mahaffey, “French Exit”
Talia Ryder, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Yuh-jung Youn, “Minari” (WINNER)

Best Supporting Male
Colman Domingo, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Orion Lee, “First Cow”
Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal” (WINNER)
Glynn Turmann, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Benedict Wong, “Nine Days”

Best Screenplay
“Bad Education”
“Minari”
“The Half of It”
“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
“Promising Young Woman” (WINNER)

Best First Screenplay
Kitty Green, “The Assistant”
Noah Hutton, “Lapsis”
Channing Godfrey Peoples, “Miss Juneteenth”
Andy Siara, “Palm Springs” (WINNER)
James Sweeney, “Straight Up”

Best Cinematography
Jay Keitel, “She Dies Tomorrow”
Shabier Kirchner, “Bull”
Michael Latham, “The Assistant”
Hélène Louvart, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Joshua James Richards, “Nomadland” (WINNER)

Best Editing
“I Carry You With Me”
“The Invisible Man”
“Residue”
“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
“Nomadland” (WINNER)

Robert Altman Award
“One Night in Miami”

Best Documentary
“Collective”
“Crip Camp” (WINNER)
“Dick Johnson Is Dead”
“Time”
“The Mole Agent”

Best International Film
“Bacurau”
“The Disciple”
“Night of the Kings”
“Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time”
“Quo Vadis, Aida?” (WINNER)

Piaget Producers Award
Kara Durrett
Lucas Joaquin
Gerry Kim (WINNER)

Someone to Watch Award
David Midell, “The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain”
Ekwa Msangi, “Farewell Amor” (WINNER)
Annie Silverstein, “Bull”

Truer Than Fiction Award
Cecilia Aldarondo, “Landfall”
Elegance Bratton, “Pier Kids” (WINNER)
Elizabeth Lo, “Stray”

John Cassavetes Awards
“The Killing of Two Lovers”
“La Leyenda Negra”
“Lingua Franca”
“Residue” (WINNER)
“Saint Frances”

Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series
“Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children”
“City So Real”
“Immigration Nation” (WINNER)
“Love Fraud”
“We’re Here”

Best Scripted Series
“I May Destroy You” (WINNER)
“Little America”
“Small Axe”
“A Teacher”
“Unorthodox”

Best Female Performance in a Scripted Series
Elle Fanning, “The Great”
Shira Haas, “Unorthodox” (WINNER)
Abby McEnany, “Work in Progress
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, “Never Have I Ever”
Jordan Kristine Seamón, “We Are Who We Are”

Best Male Performance in a Scripted Series
Conphidance, “Little America”
Adam Ali, “Little America”
Nicco Annan, “P-Valley”
Amit Rahav, “Unorthodox” (WINNER)
Harold Torres, “Zero, Zero, Zero”

Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series
“I May Destroy You”
Ensemble Cast: Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Weruche Opia
Stephen Wight

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