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Indie Spirit Noms: Beasts of No Nation Roars Back, Leads Nom Total with Carol

Beasts of No Nation, Carol and Tangerine Lead the 31st Film Independent Spirit Award Nominations
Beasts of No Nation, Carol and Tangerine Lead the 31st Film Independent Spirit Award Nominations


Todd Haynes’s Carol and Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation led the Film Independent Spirit Awards nominations this morning with six and five apiece, respectively. For Carol it was pretty much expected that it would do well but Rooney Mara, who won the Best Actress prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, was nominated in Lead and not Supporting as The Weinstein Company is pushing her. This comes off the heels of the recent news that the Golden Globes also consider her lead and not eligible in supporting for their awards. This momentum could very well shift TWC’s strategy moving forward into Oscar season.

Beasts of No Nation, Netflix’s first foray into original feature film making, made a huge impact this morning landing nominations in Best Feature, Best Director (Cary Fukunaga), Best Male Lead (Abraham Attah), Best Supporting Male (Idris Elba) and Best Cinematography. The film, after its lackluster box office debut (which was day and date with its streaming debut), was largely being written off by most pundits as being a factor in this season’s awards race but after this morning should probably be taken a bit more seriously again.

One of this season’s Oscar frontrunners, Spotlight, was next up with four nominations and a winning citation for its actors. It hit with Feature, Director, Screenplay and Editing and won the Robert Altman Award for its ensemble cast. This was in lieu of any acting nominations it could have received.

Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s stop motion Anomalisa also scored well, hitting in Feature, Director, Screenplay and a Supporting Female mention for Jennifer Jason Leigh. The curious case of murky eligibility for a couple of films (Brooklyn, Room) ended up with Brooklyn snubbed even in International Film. This has often been the place where an Oscar contender is relegated to when it’s a non-American but still English speaking film. However, Room found itself with three nominations (Female Lead for Brie Larson, Editing, First Screenplay) in spite of it being an Irish/Canadian production. Still, it was snubbed in Feature and Director, similar to how things turned out for the film with the Gotham Awards recently.

The comedy/drama Tangerine from Sean Baker also scored big. It landed expected nominations in Feature, Director and for both of its actresses; Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in Lead and Mya Taylor in Supporting. Between its trans actresses and iPhone 5s cinematography, the film has been quite a groundbreaking movie this year. James White scored three nominations; Male Lead (Christopher Abbott), Supporting Female (Cynthia Nixon) and First Feature.

In ‘who was snubbed?’ territory were the aforementioned Brooklyn but also The Danish Girl in International Film (or in the regular categories, again, eligibility) but more surprisingly was the omission of Lily Tomlin for Grandma and/or Blythe Danner for I’ll See You in My Dreams in Female Lead. One of the two had to be close in the running and would have made it had the group not been insistent on putting Mara in Lead as well. Despite A24’s success with getting nominations for Room, The End of the Tour and Mississippi Grind, there were no mentions for its biggest success of 2015, Ex Machina. Seemingly a good bet for Feature and/or Director it looks like the Indie Spirits opted for the horror thriller It Follows in Director instead. Speaking of Room, Jacob Tremblay was nowhere to be found today, likely a victim of Lead vs. Supporting arguments. Bryan Cranston in Trumbo was also a non-factor today.

The full list of nominations for the 31st Film Independent Spirit Awards:

Best Feature
Beasts of No Nation

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

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

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

Best Screenplay
Bone Tomahawk
The End of the Tour

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

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

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

Best First Screenplay
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
The Mend

Best Editing
Heaven Knows What
It Follows
Manos Sucias

Best Cinematography
Beasts of No Nation
It Follows
Songs My Brothers Taught Me

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

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

Christmas, Again
Heaven Knows What
Out of My Hand



About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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