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This year’s batch of Independent Spirit nominees are very exciting.  Firstly, there’s an animated feature (Anomalisa) up for Best Feature, Best Director, AND Best Supporting Actress–a first for this group, I believe.  Secondly, we have two transgender performances nominated, both hailing from Tangerine.  Thirdly, they give Carol two Best Actress nominations, which further puts into peril Harvey’s desire to have Rooney Mara successfully campaigned supporting (his only hope is that BFCA and Oscar take the bait, since the HFPA and the Spirits haven’t, and BAFTA certainly won’t).  And finally, this batch seems to be less….Oscary than usual, and perhaps with a deliberate hand mixed in.  I mean, just look at Male Lead and Supporting Female–good for them!!  They have Spotlight and Room everywhere, but nothing for the former’s actors minus the Robert Altman Award and other for the latter outside of Brie Larson and Emma Donoghue.  Instead, we have full embraces of Beasts of No Nation and Carol, both of whom have their hardcore fans.  What do you think of our first big batch of nominees?

Best Feature
Beasts of No Nation

Best Director
Cary Joji Fukunaga – Beasts of No Nation
Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson – Anomalisa
David Robert Mitchell – It Follows
Sean Baker – Tangerine
Todd Haynes – Carol
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

Best Female Lead
Bel Powley – Diary of a Teenage Girl
Brie Larson – Room
Cate Blanchett – Carol
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez – Tangerine
Rooney Mara – Carol

Best Male Lead
Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation
Ben Mendelsohn – Mississippi Grind
Christopher Abbott – James White
Jason Segel – The End of the Tour
Kudos Seihon – Mediterranea

Best Supporting Female
Cynthia Nixon – James White
Jennifer Jason Leigh – Anomalisa
Marin Ireland – Glass Chin
Mya Taylor – Tangerine
Robin Bartlett – H.

Best Supporting Male
Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation
Kevin Corrigan – Results
Michael Shannon – 99 Homes
Paul Dano – Love & Mercy
Richard Jenkins – Bone Tomahawk

Best Screenplay
Charlie Kaufman – Anomalisa
Donald Marguiles – The End of the Tour
Phyllis Nagy – Carol
S. Craig Zahler – Bone Tomahawk
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer – Spotlight

Best Cinematography
Cary Joji Fukunaga – Beasts of No Nation
Ed Lachman – Carol
Joshua James Richards – Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Michael Gioulakis – It Follows
Reed Morano – Meadowland

Best Documentary
Best of Enemies
Heart of a Dog
The Look of Silence
The Russian Woodpecker

Best Film Editing
Julio C. Perez IV – It Follows
Kristan Sprague – Manos Sucias
Nathan Nugent – Room
Ronald Bronstein and Benny Safdie – Heaven Knows What
Tom McArdle – Spotlight

Best First Feature
James White
Manos Sucias
Songs My Brothers Taught Me
The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Best First Screenplay
Emma Donoghue – Room
Jesse Andrews – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
John Magary, Russell Harbaugh, and Myna Joseph – The Mend
Jonas Carpignano – Mediterranea
Marielle Heller – The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Best International Film
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
Embrace of the Serpent
Son of Saul

John Cassavetes Award
Christmas, Again
Heaven Knows What
Out of My Mind

Robert Altman Award


  1. First of all, fantastic that Anomalisa got represented. I wish they could have also made room for Tom Noonan, but I shouldn’t be greedy. Secondly, I find it interesting that, yet again, we have more balking at studio category placement, not only with Mara being put lead but Jason Segal as well. If SAG and BFCA follow suit, then there’s little hope for them being nominated in supporting categories. That would truly be unprecedented if all the major precursors universally rejected studio category placement.

  2. I’ve been saying all year Carol is a threat, especially Haynes is going to get a directing nod. I don’t see where the buzz has cooled off, I think it’s going to be a big player


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