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OSCARS: Independent Spirit Award Submissions Confirmed with Major Guild Predictions Updated on the Circuit Hub

The awards season is underway.  With less than a handful of films still unseen (at least in the context of the Best Picture run), we’re already past the halfway mark and the predictions reflect accordingly.

On our new Circuit Hub, the new AwardsCircuit prediction tracker for all award shows. I wanted the site to reflect a story being told (or in this case predicted).  As you can see, it’s not just the Academy Awards being anticipated any longer.  We’re showing off our guessing chops for other televised award shows, like the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and BAFTA Awards. We also feature educated estimates on the Producers, Directors, and Writers Guild of America awards that are typical indicators of Oscar support.  Brand new to the Circuit Hub this week is the Independent Spirit Award predictions, where we venture our assumptions on the best and brightest of films that were made for under $20 million dollars.

After some digging around and confirmation searching, we have a good idea of what was submitted to Film Independent and in which categories:

At the top of the list, Spike Lee‘s “BlackKklansman,” a drama about a black police officer that infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan was submitted from Focus Features.  Boasting Spike Lee’s best work in over 15 years, the film seems like a favorite among cinephiles in and out of the industry. We can expect mentions for Adam Driver in Supporting Male with an excellent chance for star John David Washington to pop up in Male Lead.

Barry Jenkins‘ “If Beale Street Could Talk” was submitted by Annapurna Pictures, and likely feels like something that could win the Robert Altman award. This trophy awards the entire cast of the film.  Jenkins’ previous film “Moonlight” won the prize in 2016 and if repeated, the film is then removed from consideration in all other acting categories.  If this does not happen, watch out for many of its stars to be nominated including Stephan James, Kiki Layne, Regina King, and either Colman Domingo or Brian Tyree Henry.  The film will factor massively into the two tech races for Cinematography and Editing.  Could this be the “Silver Linings Playbook/Reds” of the Indie Spirits with all four acting categories having representation?

Other high-profile confirmed submissions include “Leave No Trace” from Bleecker Street, “Boy Erased” and “Tully” from Focus Features, “Private Life” and “‘The Land of Steady Habits” from Netflix, “The Wife,” “The Seagull,” and “Final Portrait” from Sony Pictures Classics, “A Quiet Place” from Paramount Pictures, and “Destroyer” from Annapurna Pictures.

Films only eligible for International Film include Jon S. Baird’s beautiful “Stan & Ollie,” Paul Greengrass’ tension-filled “22 July,” Rupert Everett’s directorial debut “The Happy Prince,” and Sebastián Lelio’s powerful “Disobedience.”  None of the actors or tech crew are eligible for any other nominations.  “Capernaum,” “Zama,” “Ruben Brandt, Collector,” “Sunset,” and “The Fall of the American Empire” were also submitted for International Film.

Confirmed documentaries vying for a spot include “Free Solo,” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” “Minding the Gap,” “RBG,” “Maria by Callas,” “American Chaos,” and the Oscar-frontrunner “Three Identical Strangers.”

Films and writers competing in First Feature or First Screenplay are not eligible to compete in Best Feature or Best Screenplay categories.  In First Feature, there is an embarrassment of riches, which could mirror in the DGA First Time Feature race (also predicted on the Hub).  Some of the candidates include Paul Dano (“Wildlife“), Carlos López Estrada (“Blindspotting“), Ari Aster (“Hereditary“), Boots Riley (“Sorry to Bother You“), Bo Burnham (“Eighth Grade“), and Cory Finley (“Thoroughbreds“).

In First Screenplay, many of the suspects in First Feature are there with inclusions of Daniel Stieplman (“On the Basis of Sex“), Elizabeth Chomko (“What They Had“), and Christine Choe (“Nancy“).

Other contenders mulling about, hoping for some love at the Indie Spirits include: “Madeline’s Madeline” (fresh off nominations at the Gotham Awards), “Vox Lux” (hoping for love for Natalie Portman), “A Kid Like Jake” (Octavia Spencer in play for Supporting Female), “Hearts Beat Loud” (dark horse for Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons), “The Death of Stalin” (could factor for Steve Buscemi), “Boundaries” (a player for Vera Farmiga and Christopher Plummer), and “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” (a revival for Joaquin Phoenix and Jonah Hill‘s awards chances, perhaps?).  We’re also expecting to see things from “First Reformed” with its star Ethan Hawke, “Support the Girls” with its star Regina Hall, and “Mandy” with its stars Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough.  Lastly, “At Eternity’s Gate” could have a big day at ISA for Willem Dafoe and maybe even Cinematography.

This is the “final prediction” or submission list, with many more coming in as the weeks roll on.  The Independent Spirit Award nominations will be announced on Nov. 16.

Other updates to The Circuit Hub include Golden Globe predictions with “Green Book” being confirmed for a Comedy/Musical classification.  SAG Awards have new entries while we keep an eye on “Crazy Rich Asians” to make a big play there along with Maggie Gyllenhaal for “The Kindergarten Teacher.”  Critics Choice from the Broadcast Film Critics Association has a new wave of entries with BAFTA looking to be a “favorite” for “The Favourite” and its stars Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz.

All major updates are on the hub. Don’t forget to include your thoughts and predictions in the comments below.

Be sure to check out our Official Oscar Predictions Page to see where your favorite films and performances rank.

What do you think?


Written by Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He also founded the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association, the first Latino-based critics’ organization in the United States. He’s also an active member of the African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times,, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.


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