[Updated] 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards Winners Announced

Winners, who are selected by Film Independent Members, will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 8, 2020.
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Press release: This morning, Film Independent announced the nominations for the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The Spirit Awards are the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity and inclusion in the industry. Film Independent President Josh Welsh presided over the press conference with actors Zazie Beetz and Natasha Lyonne presenting the nominations, hosted by The LINE LA. Nominees for Best Feature included A Hidden Life, Clemency, The Farewell, Marriage Story, and Uncut Gems.Thisyear marks the 35th anniversary of the Santa Monica beach-adjacent award show.

Marriage Story was selected to receive the Robert Altman Award, which is bestowed upon one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. The Altman Award was created in 2008 in honor of legendary director Robert Altman who was known for creating extraordinary ensemble casts.

"The Film Independent Spirit Awards celebrate the best films of the year -films characterized by creative independence and original,provocative subject matter, as well as diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision," said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. "At a time when the film business is undergoing such change and challenges, it's important to loudly celebrate the work itself -the films! -and to recognize 2019 as a year of bold, audacious and accomplished filmmaking. That's what the Spirit Awards are all about."

Welsh added, "The Spirit Awards are a unique awards show in that the winners are chosen by the members of Film Independent, an open access organization made up of film lovers and filmmakers alike. To everyone who cares about film and who wants to help shine a bright light on the great work being made today, I urge you to join Film Independent by December 5 andbecome part of our voting body."

Winners, who are selected by Film Independent Members, will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 8, 2020. The awards ceremony will be held on the beach in Santa Monica, just north of the Santa Monica Pier. The show will be broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET.

The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees selected nominees from over 430 submissions this year and applied the following guidelines in determining the nominations: uniqueness of vision, original and provocative subject matter, economy of means. 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.

Winners of the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 4, 2020.


BEST FEATURE (Award given to the producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)

A Hidden Life

Producers: Elisabeth Bentley, Dario Bergesio, Grant Hill, Josh Jeter

Clemency | Review

Producers: Timur Bekbosunov, Julian Cautherley, Bronwyn Cornelius, Peter Wong

The Farewell | Review

Producers: Anita Gou, Daniele Melia, Andrew Miano, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Lulu Wang, Chris Weitz, Jane Zheng

Marriage Story | Review

Producers: Noah Baumbach, David Heyman

Uncut Gems

Producers: Eli Bush, Sebastian Bear-McClard, Scott Rudin

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

Booksmart | Review

Director: Olivia Wilde

Producers: Chelsea Barnard, David Distenfeld, Jessica Elbaum, Megan Ellison, Katie Silberman

The Climb

Director/Producer: Michael Angelo Covino

Producers: Noah Lang, Kyle Marvin


Director: Kent Jones

Producers: Luca Borghese, Ben Howe, Caroline Kaplan, Oren Moverman

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Director/Producer: Joe Talbot

Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Khaliah Neal, Christina Oh

The Mustang | Review

Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre

Producer: Ilan Goldman

See You Yesterday

Director: Stefon Bristol

Producer: Spike Lee

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.)

Burning Cane

Writer/Director/Producer: Phillip Youmans

Producers: Ojo Akinlana, Jakob Johnson, Karen Kaia Livers, Mose Mayer, Wendell Pierce, Isaac Webb, Cassandra Youmans


Writer/Director: Tom Quinn

Producers: Joshua Blum, Alexandra Byer, Craig Shilowich, Matthew Thurm

Give Me Liberty

Writer/Director/Producer: Kirill Mikhanovsky

Writer/Producer: Alice Austen

Producers: Val Abel, Wally Hall, Michael Manasseri, George Rush, Sergey Shtern

Premature | Review

Writer/Director/Producer: Rashaad Ernesto Green

Writer: Zora Howard

Producer: Darren Dean, Joy Ganes

Wild Nights With Emily

Writer/Director/Producer: Madeleine Olnek

Producers: Anna Margarita Albelo, Casper Andreas, Max Rifkind-Barron


Alma Har’el - Honey Boy

Lorene Scafaria - Hustlers | Review

Julius Onah - Luce | Review

Robert Eggers - The Lighthouse | Review

Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie - Uncut Gems


Noah Baumbach - Marriage Story

Jason Begue, Shawn Snyder - To Dust

Ronald Bronstein & Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie - Uncut Gems

Chinonye Chukwu - Clemency

Tarell Alvin McCraney - High Flying Bird


Fredrica Bailey & Stefon Bristol - See You Yesterday

Hannah Bos & Paul Thureen - Driveways

Bridget Savage Cole & Danielle Krudy - Blow the Man Down

Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe - Greener Grass

James Montague & Craig W. Sanger - The Vast of Night


Todd Banhazl - Hustlers

Jarin Blaschke - The Lighthouse

Natasha Braier - Honey Boy

Chananun Chotrungroj - The Third Wife

Pawel Pogorzelski - Midsommar | Review


Julie Béziau - The Third Wife

Ronald Bronstein & Benny Safdie - Uncut Gems

Tyler L. Cook - Sword of Trust

Louise Ford - The Lighthouse

Kirill Mikhanovsky - Give Me Liberty


Karen Allen - Colewell

Hong Chau - Driveways

Elisabeth Moss - Her Smell | Review

Mary Kay Place - Diane

Alfre Woodard - Clemency

Renée Zellweger - Judy | Review


Chris Galust - Give Me Liberty

Kelvin Harrison Jr. - Luce

Robert Pattinson - The Lighthouse

Matthias Schoenaerts - The Mustang

Adam Sandler - Uncut Gems


Jennifer Lopez - Hustlers

Taylor Russell - Waves | Review

Lauren “LoLo” Spencer - Give Me Liberty

Octavia Spencer - Luce

Zhao Shuzhen - The Farewell


Willem Dafoe - The Lighthouse

Noah Jupe - Honey Boy

Shia LaBeouf - Honey Boy

Jonathan Majors - The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Wendell Pierce - Burning Cane

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

Marriage Story

Director: Noah Baumbach

Casting Directors: Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler

Ensemble Cast: Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Julie Hagerty, Scarlett Johansson, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson, Merritt Wever

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

American Factory

Director/Producer: Steven Bognar & Julia Reichert

Producers: Julie Parker Benello, Jeff Reichert

Apollo 11

Director/Producer: Todd Douglas Miller

Producers: Evan Krauss, Thomas Baxley Petersen

For Sama | Review

Director: Edward Watts

Director/Producer: Waad al-Kateab


Director: Tamara Kotevska

Director/Producer: Ljubo Stefanov

Producer: Atanas Georgiev

Island of the Hungry Ghosts

Director/Producer: Gabrielle Brady

Producers: Gizem Acarla, Samm Haillay, Alex Kelly, Alexander Wadouh

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)

Invisible Life (Brazil) - Karim Aïnouz

Les Misérables (France) - Ladj Ly

Parasite (South Korea) - Bong Joon-Ho | Review

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France) - Céline Sciamma | Review

Retablo (Peru) - Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio L.

The Souvenir (United Kingdom) - Joanna Hogg

BONNIE AWARD - Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo joined American Airlines in 1973 at age 24, becoming the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. In her honor, the third Bonnie Award will recognize a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines.

Marielle Heller

Kelly Reichardt

Lulu Wang

PRODUCERS AWARD - The 23rd annual Producers Award 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.

Mollye Asher

Krista Parris

Ryan Zacarias

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD - The 26th annual Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented director of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.

Rashaad Ernesto Green - Premature

Ash Mayfair - The Third Wife

Joe Talbot - The Last Black Man in San Francisco

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD - The 25th annual Truer Than Fiction Award 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.

Khalik Allah - Black Mother

Davy Rothbart - 17 Blocks

Nadia Shihab - Jaddoland

Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside - América

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