The year 2021 is winding down (while I’m still stuck in March 2020), which means that awards season is underway. Usually, at the end of the year, Oscar season is in full effect, leaving little time to award the television of the past year. Really, the only TV awards that come out are the AFI Top Ten list of the best series of the year. That changed last year when the Film Independent Spirit Awards decided to start honoring scripted and unscripted series at their ceremony.
The Independent Spirit Awards might usually connect its audience with the best the Indie scene had to offer from the prior year, the television awards were slightly different, opting for mostly streaming services, which are decidedly not independent studios. Nevertheless, the organization honored the best in television for the first time last year, and it went well. Michaela Coel’s Emmy-award winning series I May Destroy You won the Independent Spirit Award for Best New Scripted Series, while Netflix’s Unorthodox took home the awards for Best Male and Female Performance in a Scripted Series (Amit Rahav and Shira Haas, respectively). I May Destroy You also took home the award for Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series. In the documentary/non-scripted category, Netflix’s Immigration Nation took home the top prize.
With only one year of previous awards to go off of, it could be slightly difficult to determine what shows and performers will make the cut this year. Like last year, it’s very likely that the nominees in Best New Scripted Series will feature a large portion of limited series, such as this year’s The Underground Railroad and Maid. Like last year, most of the performance nominations could come from brand new shows like Only Murders in the Building or Mare of Easttown.
With so many shows vying for the special Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series award, it’s difficult to narrow it down. Looking at all the shows that came out this year (and that are also new), it seems reasonable to assume that Netflix’s Squid Game could take home the prize. A sprawling cast mixed with stellar performances all around? Squid Game is not one to be counted out. But on its heels are The White Lotus and Mare of Easttown, the latter taking home 3 acting Emmys this year. If last year’s nominations are to give any indication, we can expect to be surprised when the nominations come out Tuesday.
Here are my Spirit Awards nominations predictions in television. The 37th Film Independent Spirit Awards nominations for film and television will be announced on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
Best New Scripted Series
- Mare of Easttown
- Squid Game
- The Underground Railroad
- The White Lotus
Best Female Performance in a Scripted Series
- Thuso Mbedu, The Underground Railroad
- Margaret Qualley, Maid
- Elle Fanning, The Great
- Jean Smart, Hacks
- Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown
Best Male Performance in a Scripted Series
- Paul Bettany, WandaVision
- Nicholas Hoult, The Great
- Evan Peters, Mare of Easttown
- Martin Short, Only Murders in the Building
- Jeremy Strong, Succession
Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series
- Allen v. Farrow
- The Beatles: Get Back
- Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World
- The Lady and the Dale
- Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer
Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series: Squid Game