Updated: 34th Film Independent Spirit Awards Winners Anounced

Winners will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 23, 2019.
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Press release: This morning, Film Independent announced the nominations for the 2019 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 in the industry. Film Independent President Josh Welsh presided over the press conference held at the W Hotel in Hollywood, with actors Gemma Chan and Molly Shannon presenting the nominations. Nominees for Best Feature included Eighth Grade, First Reformed, If Beale Street Could Talk, Leave No Trace and You Were Never Really Here.

“This year’s nominees reflect the bold originality that is the heart of independent film,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “At a time when huge tent-pole franchises threaten to dominate our film culture, this year’s films and filmmakers offer something completely different - something vital, uncompromising, and needed. The nominees also show that, when it comes to diversity and inclusion, independent film is leading the way for the rest of the industry.”

Suspiria 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.

Winners, who are selected by Film Independent Members, will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 23, 2019. The awards ceremony will be held on the beach in Santa Monica, just north of the Santa Monica Pier. 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 over 400 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.

Winners of the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 5, 2019.

Film Independent is proud to announce the return of our collaboration with AT&T, who joins once again as Premier Sponsor and Official Wireless & Video Services Partner. American Airlines joins for the fifth year and returns to fund the Bonnie Award, recognizing a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant. And we welcome this year’s Official Automotive Partner, Subaru of America.

Want to vote?

Film Independent Members vote to determine the winners at the Spirit Awards. Members can attend free Nominee Screening Series in Los Angeles, receive DVD screeners of select nominees by mail and digital screeners online. Members must be current by December 6, 2018 to receive full voting benefits.

Join today at filmindependent.org/join


(Links go to the films we've reviewed. Winners in bold)


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

Eighth Grade

Producers: Eli Bush, Scott Rudin, Christopher Storer, Lila Yacoub

First Reformed         

Producers: Jack Binder, Greg Clark, Gary Hamilton, Victoria Hill, David Hinojosa, Frank Murray, Deepak Sikka, Christine Vachon

If Beale Street Could Talk   

Producers: Dede Gardner, Barry Jenkins, Jeremy Kleiner, Sara Murphy, Adele Romanski

Leave No Trace        

Producers: Anne Harrison, Linda Reisman, Anne Rosellini

You Were Never Really Here          

Producers: Rosa Attab, Pascal Caucheteux, Rebecca O'Brien, Lynne Ramsay, James Wilson


(Award given to the director and producer)


Director: Ari Aster

Producers: Kevin Frakes, Lars Knudsen, Buddy Patrick

Sorry to Bother You

Director: Boots Riley

Producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Jonathan Duffy, Charles D. King, George Rush, Forest Whitaker, Kelly Williams

 The Tale

 Director/Producer: Jennifer Fox

Producers: Sol Bondy, Lawrence Inglee, Mynette Louie, Oren Moverman, Simone Pero, Reka Posta, Laura Rister, Regina K. Scully, Lynda Weinman

We the Animals        

Director: Jeremiah Zagar

Producers: Andrew Goldman, Christina D. King, Paul Mezey, Jeremy Yaches


 Director/Producer: Paul Dano

Producers: Andrew Duncan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riva Marker, Oren Moverman, Ann Ruark, Alex Saks

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.)

A Bread Factory     

Writer/Director/Producer: Patrick Wang

Producers: Daryl Freimark, Matt Miller

En el Séptimo Día

Writer/Director/Producer: Jim McKay

Producers: Alex Bach, Lindsey Cordero, Caroline Kaplan, Michael Stipe

Never Goin' Back

Writer/Director: Augustine Frizzell

Producers: Liz Cardenas, Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston


Writer/Director/Producer: Alex Moratto

Writer: Thayná Mantesso

Producers: Ramin Bahrani, Jefferson Paulino, Tammy Weiss

Thunder Road

Writer/Director: Jim Cummings

Producers: Natalie Metzger, Zack Parker, Benjamin Weissner


Debra Granik

Leave No Trace

Barry Jenkins

If Beale Street Could Talk

Tamara Jenkins

Private Life

Lynne Ramsay

You Were Never Really Here

Paul Schrader

First Reformed


Richard Glatzer (Writer/Story By), Rebecca Lenkiewicz & Wash Westmoreland


Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Tamara Jenkins

Private Life

Boots Riley

Sorry to Bother You

Paul Schrader

First Reformed


Bo Burnham

Eighth Grade

Christina Choe


Cory Finley


Jennifer Fox

The Tale

Quinn Shephard (Writer/Story By), Laurie Shephard (Story By)



Ashley Connor

Madeline's Madeline

Diego Garcia


Benjamin Loeb


Sayombhu Mukdeeprom


Zak Mulligan

We the Animals


Joe Bini

You Were Never Really Here

Keiko Deguchi, Brian A. Kates, Jeremiah Zagar

We the Animals

Luke Dunkley, Nick Fenton, Chris Gill, Julian Hart

American Animals

Anne Fabini, Alex Hall, Gary Levy

The Tale

Nick Houy



Glenn Close

The Wife

Toni Collette


Elsie Fisher

Eighth Grade

Regina Hall

Support the Girls

Helena Howard

Madeline's Madeline

Carey Mulligan



John Cho


Daveed Diggs


Ethan Hawke

First Reformed

Christian Malheiros


Joaquin Phoenix

You Were Never Really Here


Kayli Carter

Private Life

Tyne Daly

A Bread Factory

Regina King

If Beale Street Could Talk

Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie

Leave No Trace

J. Smith-Cameron



Raúl Castillo

We the Animals

Adam Driver


Richard E. Grant

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Josh Hamilton

Eighth Grade

John David Washington

Monsters and Men

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


Director: Luca Guadagnino

Casting Directors: Avy Kaufman, Stella Savino

Ensemble Cast: Malgosia Bela, Ingrid Caven, Lutz Ebersdorf, Elena Fokina, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, Dakota Johnson, Gala Moody, Chloë Grace Moretz, Renée Soutendijk, Tilda Swinton, Sylvie Testud, Angela Winkler

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

Hale County This Morning, This Evening 

Director/Producer: RaMell Ross

Producers: Joslyn Barnes, Su Kim

Minding the Gap

Director/Producer: Bing Liu

Producer: Diane Quon

Of Fathers and Sons

Director: Talal Derki

Producers: Hans Robert Eisenhauer, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, Tobias N. Siebert

On Her Shoulders

Director: Alexandria Bombach

Producers: Hayley Pappas, Brock Williams


Director/Producer: Sandi Tan

Producers: Jessica Levin, Maya Rudolph

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Director/Producer: Morgan Neville

Producers: Caryn Capotosto, Nicholas Ma

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)


South Korea

Director: Lee Chang-Dong

The Favourite

United Kingdom

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Happy as Lazzaro


Director: Alice Rohrwacher



Director: Alfonso Cuarón



Director: Kore-eda Hirokazu

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 second Bonnie Award will recognize a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines.

Debra Granik

Tamara Jenkins

Karyn Kusama

PRODUCERS AWARD - The 22nd 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.

Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams

Gabrielle Nadig

Shrihari Sathe

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

Alex Moratto

Director of Sócrates

Ioana Uricaru

Director of Lemonade

Jeremiah Zagar

Director of We the Animals

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD - The 24th 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.

Alexandria Bombach

Director of On Her Shoulders

Bing Liu

Director of Minding the Gap

RaMell Ross

Director of Hale County This Morning, This Evening

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