Thu. Oct 22nd, 2020

Independent Spirit Awards predictions: ‘Marriage Story,’ ‘The Farewell,’ ‘Waves’ should prevail

Former AMPAS president John Bailey said last year that the Oscars were looking too much like the Spirit Awards. Like it’s a bad thing. Some of the year’s best films are still coming from the independent sector of filmmaking. Removed from focus groups, test screenings and overzealous studio notes, independent filmmakers get to make the films they want to make and tell the stories they want to tell. The Spirit Awards also give us what the Oscars are often lacking, true diversity and representation.

Last year saw a record number of women nominated for Best Director at the Spirit Awards and there are a handful of high-profile women directors this year too. Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Alma Ha’rel (Honey Boy) and Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers) and more are among very possible nominees.

The budget threshold for the Spirit Awards is $22.5M, up from $20M last year (rumor has it that is was to get a certain film in but my lips are sealed as to which) and obviously knocks out larger studio films but also things like Jojo Rabbit (I believe) and everything from Netflix except Marriage Story. But the Spirit Awards also limits non-US productions to the International Film category. The likes of Parasite and Judy would show up there. The Robert Altman Award is a juried prize that goes to the cast of a single film and in winning that award, no one from the cast can be individually nominated. 2015’s Spotlight and 2016’s Moonlight both won that (along with Best Feature) before going on to Oscar nominations and wins in the acting categories and Best Picture wins. This year sees a wealth of films with worthy casts but it also makes it difficult to predict which film will be honored and therefore, how the individual acting categories will shake out.

Some reminders of weird Indie Spirits snubs in the last few years that proved irrelevant to the race at large (where the movie was nominated in Spirit categories other than these), nor their path to Oscar success:

  • BlacKkKlansman in Feature, Director, Screenplay, and Editing
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me? in Female Lead
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in Feature, Supporting Male (Harrelson), Editing
  • Lady Bird in Director
  • Call Me By Your Name in Screenplay
  • Manchester By the Sea in Director, Supporting Female
  • Hell or High Water in Feature, Supporting Actor (Bridges, snubbed in favor of Foster)
  • Room in Feature, Director

Don’t forget, The Shape of Water was allegedly eligible here but didn’t show up anywhere.

The 35th Independent Spirit Award nominations will be announced Thursday, November 21st at 10:00am PST in Los Angeles by Zazie Beetz and Natasha Lyonne and I will be there in person live tweeting the results.

Here are my predictions.

Best Feature

  • The Farewell
  • Hustlers
  • Marriage Story
  • Uncut Gems
  • Waves

Spoilers: Booksmart, Clemency, The Lighthouse, Queen & Slim

Best Director

  • Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
  • Chinonye Chukwu, Clemency
  • Joshua Safdie and Benny Safdie, Uncut Gems
  • Trey Edward Shults, Waves
  • Lulu Wang, The Farewell

Spoilers: Alma Ha’rel, Honey Boy; Lorene Scafaria, Hustlers; Robert Eggers, The Lighthouse

Best Male Lead

  • Adam Driver, Marriage Story
  • Jimmie Fails, The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  • Zach Gottsagen, The Peanut Butter Falcon
  • Kelvin Harrison Jr., Luce
  • Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems

Spoilers: Riz Ahmed, The Sound of Metal; Noah Jupe, Honey Boy; Daniel Kaluuya, Queen & Slim; Robert Pattinson, The Lighthouse; Matthias Schoenaerts, The Mustang

Best Female Lead

  • Awkwafina, The Farewell
  • Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
  • Mary Kay Place, Diane
  • Florence Pugh, Midsommar
  • Alfre Woodard, Clemency

Spoilers: Kaitlyn Dever, Booksmart ; Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart; Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell; Julianne Moore, Gloria Bell; Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen & Slim

Best Supporting Male

  • Alan Alda, Marriage Story
  • Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse
  • Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy
  • Jonathan Majors, The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  • Maxim Stoyanov, Give Me Liberty

Spoilers: Aldis Hodge, Clemency; Alessandro Nivola, Art of Self Defense; John Turturro, Gloria Bell

Best Supporting Female

  • Laura Dern, Marriage Story
  • Julia Fox, Uncut Gems
  • Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
  • Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell
  • Octavia Spencer, Luce

Spoilers: Annette Bening, The Report

Best Screenplay

  • Clemency
  • The Farewell
  • Marriage Story
  • The Report
  • Waves

Spoilers: High Flying Bird, Hustlers, Luce, Uncut Gems

Best First Screenplay

  • Blow the Man Down
  • Burning Cane
  • Diane
  • Honey Boy
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Spoilers: Brittany Runs a Marathon, Share

Best First Feature

  • Booksmart
  • Burning Cane
  • Diane
  • Honey Boy
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Spoilers: The Mustang, Queen & Slim, Share, The Sound of Metal

Best Cinematography

  • Burning Cane
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  • The Lighthouse
  • Uncut Gems
  • Waves

Spoilers: A Hidden Life, Hustlers, Midsommar, Queen & Slim

Best Film Editing

  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  • The Lighthouse
  • Marriage Story
  • Uncut Gems
  • Waves

Spoilers: The Farewell, Honey Boy, Hustlers, The Sound of Metal

Best International Film

  • And Then We Danced (Sweden)
  • Monos (Colombia)
  • Pain and Glory (Spain)
  • Parasite (South Korea)
  • Portrait of a Lady (France)

Spoilers: Atlantics (France/Senegal), Les Miserables (France), The Souvenir (UK)

Best Documentary

  • Apollo 11
  • The Edge of Democracy
  • For Sama
  • Honeyland
  • One Child Nation

Spoilers: American Factory, Ask Dr. Ruth, The Biggest Little Farm, The Cave, Hail Satan?

Robert Altman Award – Waves (Trey Edward Shults (dir.), Avy Kaufman (casting) Cast: Kelvin Harrison Jr., Sterling K. Brown, Taylor Russell, Alexa Demie and Renee Elise Goldsberry)

Bonnie Award

  • Lulu Wang
  • Lorene Scafaria
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