2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations Announced

Nominees for Best Feature included Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Boyhood, Love is Strange, Selma, and Whiplash.
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Press release: Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the Los Angeles Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA, announced nominations for the 2015 Spirit Awards this morning. Film Independent President Josh Welsh presided over the press conference held at the W Hollywood, with actors Rosario Dawson and Diego Luna presenting the nominations. Nominees for Best Feature included Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Boyhood, Love is Strange, Selma and Whiplash. 

"As we celebrate 30 years of great independent film," said Josh Welsh, President of Film Independent, "this year’s nominees are an astonishingly strong group of films and filmmakers which demonstrate the uniqueness of vision we honor at this show." 

Winners will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 21, 2015. The awards ceremony will be held as a daytime luncheon in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. This year the show will broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 2:00 PM PT/ 5:00 PM ET.

The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees selected nominees from 341 submissions this year and applied the following guidelines in determining the nominations: uniqueness of vision, original and provocative subject matter, economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost and individual compensation) and percentage of financing from independent sources. The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees are comprised of writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, actors, critics, casting directors, film festival programmers and other working film professionals.

The Nominees are (Updated with winners in Bold): 


(Award given to the Producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) - Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W.   Skotchdopole 

BoyhoodProducers: Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland 

Love is Strange - Producers: Lucas Joaquin, Lars Knudsen, Ira Sachs, Jayne Baron Sherman, Jay Van Hoy

Selma - Producers: Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey

Whiplash - Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michael Litvak 


Damien Chazelle - Whiplash      

Ava DuVernay - Selma

Alejandro G. Iñárritu - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Richard Linklater - Boyhood

 David Zellner - Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter


Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski - Big Eyes

 J.C. Chandor - A Most Violent Year

 Dan Gilroy - Nightcrawler

 Jim Jarmusch - Only Lovers Left Alive

 Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias - Love is Strange

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night - Director: Ana Lily Amirpour,       Producers: Justin Begnaud, Sina Sayyah

Dear White People - Director/Producer: Justin Simien, Producers: Effie T. Brown, Ann Le, Julia Lebedev, Angel Lopez, Lena Waithe

Nightcrawler - Director: Dan Gilroy, Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak

Obvious Child - Director: Gillian Robespierre, Producer: Elisabeth Holm

She's Lost Control - Director/Producer: Anja Marquardt, Producers: Mollye Asher, Kiara C. Jones


Desiree Akhavan - Appropriate Behavior

Sara Colangelo - Little Accidents

Justin Lader - The One I Love

Anja Marquardt - She's Lost Control

Justin Simien - Dear White People

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD - Given to the best feature made for under $500,000.  Award given to the writer, director and producer.  Executive Producers are not awarded.

Blue Ruin - Writer/Director: Jeremy Saulnier, Producers:  Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani

It Felt Like Love - Writer/Director/Producer: Eliza Hittman, Producers: Shrihari Sathe, Laura Wagner

Land Ho! - Writers/Directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens, Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy

Man From Reno - Writer/Director: Dave Boyle, Writers: Joel Clark, Michael Lerman, Producer: Ko Mori

Test - Writer/Director/Producer: Chris Mason Johnson, Producer: Chris Martin


Marion Cotillard - The Immigrant

Rinko Kikuchi - Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

Julianne Moore - Still Alice

Jenny Slate - Obvious Child

Tilda Swinton - Only Lovers Left Alive 


André Benjamin - Jimi: All Is By My Side

Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler

Michael Keaton - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

John Lithgow - Love is Strange

David Oyelowo - Selma


Patricia Arquette - Boyhood

Jessica Chastain - A Most Violent Year

Carmen Ejogo - Selma

Andrea Suarez Paz - Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

Emma Stone - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)


Riz Ahmed - Nightcrawler

Ethan Hawke - Boyhood

Alfred Molina - Love is Strange

Edward Norton - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

J.K. Simmons - Whiplash


Darius Khondji - The Immigrant

Emmanuel Lubezki - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Sean Porter - It Felt Like Love

Lyle Vincent - A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Bradford Young - Selma

BEST EDITING                  

Sandra Adair - Boyhood

Tom Cross - Whiplash

John Gilroy - Nightcrawler

Ron Patane - A Most Violent Year

Adam Wingard - The Guest

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

20,000 Days on Earth - Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, Producers: Dan Bowen, James Wilson  

CITIZENFOUR - Director/Producer: Laura Poitras, Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky   

Stray Dog - Director: Debra Granik, Producer: Anne Rosellini  

The Salt of the Earth - Directors: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders, Producer: David Rosier

Virunga - Director/Producer: Orlando von Einsiedel, Producer: Joanna Natasegara

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)

Force Majeure (Sweden) - Director: Ruben Östlund   

Ida (Poland) - Director: Pawel Pawlikowski         

Leviathan (Russia) - Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Mommy (Canada) - Director: Xavier Dolan        

Norte, the End of History (Philippines) - Director: Lav Diaz   

Under the Skin (United Kingdom) - Director: Jonathan Glazer 

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD - (Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast) 

Inherent Vice - Director: Paul Thomas Anderson; Casting Director: Cassandra Kulukundis; Ensemble Cast: Josh Brolin, Martin Donovan, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Joaquin Phoenix, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio Del Toro, Katherine Waterston, Michael Kenneth Williams, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon


Foxcatcher - Director/Producer: Bennett Miller; Producers: Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik; Writers: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman; Actors: Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum  

18th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD - The 18th 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.

Chad Burris

Elisabeth Holm

Chris Ohlson 

21st ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD - The 21st 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.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night - Director: Ana Lily Amirpour

H. - Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia 

The Retrieval - Director: Chris Eska           

20th ANNUAL LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD - The 20th 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.

Approaching the Elephant - Director: Amanda Rose Wilder     

Evolution of a Criminal - Director: Darius Clark Monroe      

The Kill Team - Director: Dan Krauss          

The Last Season - Director: Sara Dosa

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