Home / Awards / 34th Film Independent Spirit Awards: ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ wins Best Feature, Director, Supporting Female

34th Film Independent Spirit Awards: ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ wins Best Feature, Director, Supporting Female

The 34th Film Independent Spirit Awards, hosted by a fiery and funny Aubrey Plaza (that The Cold Open cold open) were held today at the Beach in Santa Monica and If Beale Street Could Talk, from director Barry Jenkins, took home the wins for Best Feature and Best Director. Two years ago Jenkins did the same thing with Moonlight, which would go on to win the Best Picture Oscar the next day.

Beale Street producer Adele Romanski spoke on behalf of the team, thanking James Baldwin and enjoying that she was up on stage once again with the same family as two years prior, plus new family.

That won’t happen this year though as the Oscars deviated from the Spirit Awards so much that not a single Best Feature Spirit nominee is nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards for the first time since 2008. Two films that were in the Spirit Awards International Film category, The Favourite and Roma, are. Roma won that award and goes into the Oscars as the frontrunner, one of them anyway.

Jenkins, visibly surprised by his Best Director win made no bones about saying that he “didn’t really want to win this award” and used his speech to reiterate what Regina King said at the Golden Globes about increasing projects by female filmmakers. He called on directors and financiers, including his own reps, to push the needle forward so that the 4% of women filmmakers that are studio directors “becomes 8, then 12.” He also highlighted fellow nominee Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), whom he met as a student at Telluride in 2002 saying, “I think this award has your DNA in it.”

Glenn Close (The Wife) won Best Female Lead, her first Spirit Award and delightfully brought her date, her dog Pip, onstage with her. Ethan Hawke, who did not attend the ceremony, was named Best Male Lead for First Reformed, that film’s sole win.

The supporting wins went to two Oscar nominees: Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me? (which also won Screenplay) and Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk. While King is considered a soft frontrunner for tomorrow, Grant will likely enjoy today’s win as his only. Grant gave a tearful and emotionally charged speech, dedicating it to actors like Daniel Day-Lewis and Sam Rockwell, who were originally hired for parts he ended up playing and to Chariots of Fire‘s Ian Charleson who died of AIDS at age 40.

Jeremiah Zagar’s We the Animals led with five nominations including Best First Feature but went home empty-handed.

A true highlight of the show was RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Shangela doing a song and dance of the five Best Feature nominees including “If Beale Street Could Talk (What Would She Say).”

Previously announced grant awards went to Bonnie Award: Debra Granik (the Bonnie Award), Shrihari Sathe (Producers Award), Alex Moratto – Director of Sócrates (Someone to Watch Award) and Bing Liu, director of Minding the Gap (Truer Than Fiction Award).

The Spirit Awards are chosen by approximately 6200 Film Independent members after an anonymous committee votes on nominations. The eligibility rules require that movies be produced in the U.S. for less than $20 million, hence why Roma and The Favourite could only compete in the International Film category.

Here is the full list of nominees with winners in bold:

Best Feature

EIGHTH GRADE
FIRST REFORMED
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK – WINNER
LEAVE NO TRACE
YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE

Best Director

Debra Granik, LEAVE NO TRACE
Barry Jenkins, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK – WINNER
Tamara Jenkins, PRIVATE LIFE
Lynne Ramsay, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE
Paul Schrader, FIRST REFORMED

Best First Feature

HEREDITARY
SORRY TO BOTHER YOU – WINNER
THE TALE
WE THE ANIMALS
WILDLIFE

Best Female Lead

Glenn Close, THE WIFE – WINNER
Toni Collette, HEREDITARY
Elsie Fisher, EIGHTH GRADE
Regina Hall, SUPPORT THE GIRLS
Helena Howard, MADELINE’S MADELINE
Carey Mulligan, WILDLIFE

Best Male Lead

John Cho, SEARCHING
Daveed Diggs, BLINDSPOTTING
Ethan Hawke, FIRST REFORMED – WINNER
Christian Malheiros, SÓCRATES
Joaquin Phoenix, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE

Best Supporting Female

Kayli Carter, PRIVATE LIFE
Tyne Daly, A BREAD FACTORY
Regina King, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK – WINNER
Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, LEAVE NO TRACE
J. Smith-Cameron, NANCY

Best Supporting Male

Raúl Castillo, WE THE ANIMALS
Adam Driver, BLACKkKLANSMAN
Richard E. Grant, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? – WINNER
Josh Hamilton, EIGHTH GRADE
John David Washington, MONSTERS AND MEN

Best Screenplay

Richard Glatzer (Writer/Story By), Rebecca Lenkiewicz & Wash Westmoreland, COLETTE
Nicole Holofcener & Jeff Whitty, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? – WINNER
Tamara Jenkins, PRIVATE LIFE
Boots Riley, SORRY TO BOTHER YOU
Paul Schrader, FIRST REFORMED

Best First Screenplay

Bo Burnham, EIGHTH GRADE – WINNER
Christina Choe, NANCY
Cory Finley, THOROUGHBREDS
Jennifer Fox, THE TALE
Quinn Shephard (Writer/Story By) and Laurie Shephard (Story By), BLAME

Best Cinematography

Ashley Connor, MADELINE’S MADELINE
Diego Garcia, WILDLIFE
Benjamin Loeb, MANDY
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, SUSPIRIA – WINNER
Zak Mulligan, WE THE ANIMALS

Best Editing

Joe Bini, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE – WINNER
Keiko Deguchi, Brian A. Kates & Jeremiah Zagar, WE THE ANIMALS
Luke Dunkley, Nick Fenton, Chris Gill & Julian Hart, AMERICAN ANIMALS
Anne Fabini, Alex Hall and Gary Levy, THE TALE
Nick Houy, MID90S

John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,00)

A BREAD FACTORY
EN EL SÉPTIMO DÍA – WINNER
NEVER GOIN’ BACK
SÓCRATES
THUNDER ROAD

Robert Altman Award (previously announced)

SUSPIRIA

Best Documentary

HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING
MINDING THE GAP
OF FATHERS AND SONS
ON HER SHOULDERS
SHIRKERS
WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? – WINNER

Best International Film

BURNING (South Korea)
THE FAVOURITE (United Kingdom)
HAPPY AS LAZZARO (Italy)
ROMA (Mexico) – WINNER
SHOPLIFTERS (Japan)

Previously Announced Grant Award Winners
Bonnie Award: Debra Granik
Producers Award: Shrihari Sathe
Someone to Watch Award: Alex Moratto, Director, Sócrates
Truer Than Fiction Award: Bing Liu, Minding the Gap

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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