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Winners of the 34th annual Independent Spirit Awards 

by Nathaniel R

Richard E Grant getting his supporting actor trophy from Glenn Close at the Spirit AwardsBy the time the Spirit Awards roll around each year we've completely forgotten about their nominations. They're the group with the the longest annual stretch between nominations and trophy handouts each year! As a reminder We the Animals led in number of nominations this year despite not showing up in the top category. Unfortunately it was entirely shut out of actual wins. The nomination leaders within the Best Feature category were Eighth Grade, First Reformed, and You Were Never Really Here, which all at least won something.

After the jump the winners list and cute photos and such...


  • Eighth Grade (A24)
  • First Reformed (A24)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna) ★
  • Leave No Trace (Bleecker Street)
  • You Were Never Really Here (Amazon)




  • Glenn Close, The Wife ★
  • Toni Colette, Hereditary
  • Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade
  • Regina Hall, Support the Girls
  • Helena Howard, Madeline's Madeline
  • Carey Mulligan, Wildlife


  • John Cho, Searching
  • Daveed Diggs, Blindspotting
  • Ethan Hawke, First Reformed ★
  • Christian Malheiros, Socrates
  • 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, Nancy


  • Raul Castillo, We the Animals
  • Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
  • Richard E Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? ★
  • Josh Hamilton, Eighth Grade
  • John David Washington, Monsters and Men

Which honors the director, casting director, and ensemble cast. There are never nominees announced, only a winner.

  • Suspiria 

Three months later we remain utterly baffled by this choice. What loudmouth on the nominating committee pushed this idea? Nevertheless, sometimes we wish the Robert Altman Award were a category like any other, though, so we could see who the nominees might have been each year. Good ensembles elevate so many movies.


The Sorry to Bother You team.

  • Hereditary (Ari Aster)
  • Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley) ★
  • The Tale (Jennifer Fox)
  • We the Animals (Jeremiah Zagar)
  • Wildlife (Paul Dano)


  • 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

Barry Jenkins didn't want to win this! In his speech he explained the 4% challenge in support of female directors. 


  • Colette
  • Can you Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener & Jeff Whitty ★
  • First Reformed
  • Private Life
  • Sorry to Bother You


LaKeith Stanfield and Finn Wolfhard announcing Best First Screenplay

  • Blame, Quinn Shephard and Laurie Shepahard
  • Eighth Grade, Bo Burnham ★
  • Nancy, Christina Chloe
  • Tale, Jennifer Fox
  • Thoroughbreds, Cory Finley


  • Madeline's Madeline  (Ashley Connor)
  • Mandy  (Benjamin Loeb)
  • Suspiria  (Sayombhu Mukdeeprom) ★
  • We the Animals  (Zak Mulligan)
  • Wildlife  (Diego Garcia)


  • American Animals
  • Mid 90s
  • The Tale
  • We the Animals
  • You Were Never Really Here, Joe Bini ★ 


  • Burning (South Korea)
  • The Favourite (UK)
  • Happy as Lazzaro (Italy)
  • Roma (Mexico) ★
  • Shoplifters (Japan)


  • Minding the Gap
  • On her Shoulders
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor


This is a feature film prize for truly independent movies made for under $500,000.

  • A Bread Factory
  • En El Septimo Dia
  • Never Goin' Back
  • Socrates
  • Thunder Road


BONNIE AWARD (mid career female director)
$50,000 grant. Not for a specific film though they directed Leave No Trace, Private Life, and Destroyer this year

  • Debra Granik
  • Tamara Jenkins
  • Karyn Kusama

This prize is not for a specific film though they produced Sorry to Bother You, Little Woods, and a bunch of small films, respectively this year.

  • Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams
  • Gabrielle Nadig
  • Shrihari Sathe


$25,000 grant for an emerging filmmaker

  • Alex Moratto, Socrates  ★
  • Ioana Uricaru, Lemonade
  • Jeremiah Zagar, We the Animals


$25,000 grant for a documentary filmmaker

  • Alexandria Bombach, On Her Shoulders
  • Bing Liu, Minding the Gap  ★
  • RaMell Ross, Hale County This Morning This Evening 

 And we'll close with this glorious image of Elsie Fisher, Regina King, and Glenn Close. So much talent in that Santa Monica tent every year!

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Reader Comments (30)

Yay Glenn! She's added her first Indie Spirit Awards to her mantle. Screw you, BAFTAs :)

February 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Beale Street won all three its nominations. Would be cool if it did the same tomorrow.

February 23, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

None of the two Black actresses from Suspiria (2018) aren't acknowledged with this prize.

February 23, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

my fave moment was Amanda Seyfried's WTF face after reading the quote that concluded Ethan Hawke's speech... LOL

February 23, 2019 | Registered CommenterMurtada Elfadl

Love Glenn but she didn’t need this - this would’ve been a great opportunity to highlight Toni or Carey’s performance, both with carry the spirit of independent film making in these roles.

February 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBushwick

I wish I could love Beale Street the way you all do.

Richard E. Grant, a class act.

February 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Oscar for Glenn no longer too Close to call! An upset would be for the marvelous Yalitza Aparicio ("Roma").

February 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJared

Thank god - Richard E. Grant finally won something, how wonderful, and yet he sure does deserve more. Come on Oscar, bring on an upset!

February 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

I feel im in a bit of a minority in this site but I actually thought Mahershala was masterful in Green Book. Nat keeps moaning about how he didnt come off as a gay man, but, I saw a man who didn’t seem to enjoy doing anything but play the piano. So full of restraint and self-loathing. Richard was still better, but I won’t be too mad when Mahershala wins.

February 23, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterkris01

Toni was my #2 for the year and Carey my #3 for Actress, and, after their ungracious facial expressions during Glenn’s speech, I’m bumping up Rachel Weisz (in DISOBEDIENCE) and Melissa McCarthy (CYEFM?) to silver and bronze. Still, I choose to forgive Regina King for texting during Glenn’s Globes speech, and I am pulling so hard for the both of them tomorrow!

February 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Crowe

Love dogs, but sorry, no dogs at award shows unless they’re LEGIT service animals. I used to be annoyed when Carrie Fisher brought her dog on talk shows.(Also, no dogs in airplane aisles, shopping malls, or restaurants!)

Yay Richard E Grant!

February 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Dammit Glenn! You're making me root for you. You and your damn dog! It's so adorable.

Fuck you Oscars for not allowing people to bring their pets. It would've made the show more interesting.

February 23, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

I'm glad Close won. I know a lot of people on this site were pulling for Colette, but I really loved Close's restrained performance throughout The Wife. Even when she imploded, Close stayed in character instead of 'losing it'. She really owned that performance, despite the film being not as well executed as it could have been.

February 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Really happy for GRANT and IBSCT ( loved this film, just beautiful) , also thanks Spirit Awards for showing love for ETHAN HAWKE and First Reformed.

As glad as I am for Jenkins and CloseI was actually rooting for Lynne Ramsay and Carey Mulligan, Mulligan actually deserved a place in the Oscar line-up, what a masterclass of a performance, I'd have her nominated instead of Gaga or Aparicio in a heartbeat (maybe Mulligan and Colette over them);

My theory about MAHERSHALA ALI is that he actually did not win BAFTA or GG (just SAG and then the Oscar) for Moonlight, so maybe the British Academy and the Globes are giving him an afterglow win, still think Grant is a strong contender for tomorrow night and truly hope he wins.

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEder Arcas

It's very strange to see the winners in first feature and first screenplay ("Sorry to Bother You" and "Eighth Grade", respectively) each not nominated in the other 'first' categories, though both are deserved wins. "Eighth Grade" is a great movie; "Sorry to Bother You" is a great screenplay.

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Still so weird McCarthy wasn’t nominated at all! They clearly loved the film!

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMorganB Mark 1

Also, just watched a post-win interview with Boots Riley and he name-checks John Waters, Spike Lee, and Jim Jarmusch for independent film inspiration. Love!

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Love the wins for the four lead and supporting performances, plus Barry Jenkins and If Beale Street Could Talk. I was underwhelmed when I saw the latter film but then I just came out of the Public Theater watching Glenn in Mother of the Maid. The more I think about the film in retrospect the more I am impressed with the afterglow it left me. The music, the deliberately slow pace of the film, Brian Tyree Henry's still-beauty of a monologue, the play on colors, and screenplay that stayed true to James Baldwin's spirit. I wonder if the reason it didn't gain any traction was because of the way it can very slowly sinks into you (or alternatively, not at all!). That's what happened to me, at least. So if If Beale Street Could Talk wins Best Picture tomorrow, I will be very pleasantly surprised and/but extremely happy.

As for Close, I am hoping she gets the Oscar tomorrow. Unlike some of us here in the TFE community, I find her performance here to be the book-end to her Marquise de Merteuil. And I find the sombre, almost funereal, wintry-hued The Wife truly satisfying and Joan Castleman an indelible creation by Glenn. Close.

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

And If Beale Street Could Talk was not even nominated for best picture -- I'm so out of it this year despite my wish for Glenn Close to get that Oscar in her hands.

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

Owl, Beale Street is not nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterevangelina

Correction: Sorry Owl did not see your second post.

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterevangelina

If only these were the Oscar winners. The Ethan Hawke snub is the worst I can recall. Even Sally Hawkins did not have the backing from second-tier and regional critics that he had. And the lack of Academy support for films like Beale Street and Eighth Grade is puzzling to me. I think this year's Oscar nominations are going to age really badly.

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

i hope glenn has a hundred more little dogs that someone is currently turning into a gown for tomorrow

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterpar

No mention of Aubrey's hilarious Cold Open with such luminaries as Sharon Stone, Marcia Gay Harden, Christina Ricci, Rosanna Arquette, and Marisa Tomei? That was awesome. I also thought she did great as host.

And how great was the voiceover narration that accompanied the winners as they walked to the stage? No snark, very informative, and quite illuminating. The Oscars would never.

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I love Barry Jenkins more and more every day. My dream man (minus the heterosexuality).

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

Ryan, that beginning was everything!! I wasn't crazy about how violent it got at the end (oh, wow, she straight up murdered Finn Wolfhard) but everything else was hilarious. The gold being made out of Marcia's Oscar, all the actresses saying how nice it was to see everyone outside of work ...

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJakey

Richard E. Grant gave one of the best speeches this award season.

He needs to win the Oscar!

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

Just watched Grant's speech. He deserves the Oscar for that speech alone!

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Who would have guessed that the best speeches of the night would be the 2 SHORT FILMS categories???!!!


February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

quit shitting on suspiria!! such a richly deserved accolade for a fine cast of made entirely of talented, largely undersung or unknown women! It's so well cast and dakota johnson, mia goth, tilda swinton, angela winkler, ingrid caven and more are doing richly textured, memorable work. i'm glad the indie spirits had the gumption to honor it and not just which ever film had the glitziest cast. I highly encourage you and everyone else to revisit it.

February 25, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterc

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