Minari, Miss Juneteenth, Promising Young Woman also land major nods.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are keeping the essence of indie cinema alive throughout the most chaotic awards calendars in history.

Laverne Cox, Moonlight filmmaker Barry Jenkins, and actress-director Olivia Wilde announced this year's nominees in a virtual livestream presentation, continuing the momentum for key contenders in the race amid a crowded week for Oscar precursors.

Though films with major stars picked up signifiant attention at the Indie Spirits, Eliza Hittman's Never Rarely Sometimes Always picked up the most overall nods with seven total, including Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Leading Female for breakout actress Sidney Flanigan's performance. Lee Isaac Chung's Minari is next with six nominations (including Best Director and Best Leading Male for Steven Yeun), followed by major Oscar contenders Nomadland and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom with five each, and Channing Godfrey Peoples' Miss Juneteenth with four.

Among this year's nominees, 57 percent of the above-the-line contenders are women, and 48 percent are people of color.

In the months ahead, for the first time in the awards show's 36-year history, the 2021 Indie Spirits broadcast will take place in primetime, having exited its traditionally held date of the Saturday before the Oscars.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom / Nomadland / Promising Young Woman
Credit: David Lee/Netflix; Joshua Richardson/Searchlight Pictures; Focus Features

Across the last four decades, the Indie Spirits have honored achievements in movies made for roughly $20 million, though standards have fluctuated in recent years. The awards are voted on by members of Film Independent, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the profile of independent cinema and diversity in the industry.

While Film Independent's taste often aligns with the Academy's, its voting base is made up of anyone who chooses to pay to join, regardless of standing in or proximity to the filmmaking industry. It's not uncommon for the Indie Spirits' Best Feature winner to cross over into Oscar territory, like 2017's Moonlight, 2016's Spotlight, 2015's Birdman, and 2014's 12 Years A Slave, but it's not out of the question for a Best Feature prize holder to completely miss out on a Best Picture nomination, as Lulu Wang's The Farewell did last year. On the acting side, only Renée Zellweger won both the Indie Spirit and the Oscar, and competed at the Indie Spirits as the only acting contender with a corresponding nomination from the Academy.

This year, several high-profile contenders were not eligible for Indie Spirit nominations, including many Netflix titles such as likely multi-category Oscar contenders The Trial of the Chicago 7, Da 5 Bloods, and Mank, while Glenn Close's supporting performance in Hillbilly Elegy is also ineligible, as is Sophia Loren's work in The Life Ahead, as that title is competing as an international work.

See the full list of 2020-2021 Indie Spirit nominations below, and tune in to the ceremony on Thursday, April 22 at 10:00 p.m. ET on IFC.


BEST FEATURE (Award given to the producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)

First Cow

Producers: Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Producers: Todd Black, Denzel Washington, Dany Wolf


Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Christina Oh

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Producers: Sara Murphy, Adele Romanski


Producers: Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Chloé Zhao

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to director and producer)

I Carry You With Me

Director/Producer: Heidi Ewing

Producers: Edher Campos, Mynette Louie, Gabriela Maire

The Forty-Year-Old Version

Director/Producer: Radha Blank

Producers: Inuka Bacote-Capiga, Jordan Fudge, Rishi Rajani, Jennifer Semler, Lena Waithe

Miss Juneteenth

Director: Channing Godfrey Peoples

Producers: Toby Halbrooks, Tim Headington, Jeanie Igoe, James M. Johnston, Theresa Steele Page, Neil Creque Williams

Nine Days

Director: Edson Oda

Producers: Jason Michael Berman, Mette-Marie Kongsved, Matthew Linder, Laura Tunstall, Datari Turner

Sound of Metal

Director: Darius Marder

Producers: Bill Benz, Kathy Benz, Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000 (Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)

The Killing of Two Lovers

Writer/Director/Producer: Robert Machoian

Producers: Scott Christopherson, Clayne Crawford

La Leyenda Negra

Writer/Director: Patricia Vidal Delgado

Producers: Alicia Herder, Marcel Perez

Lingua Franca

Writer/Director/Producer: Isabel Sandoval

Producers: Darlene Catly Malimas, Jhett Tolentino, Carlo Velayo


Writer/Director: Merawi Gerima

Saint Frances

Director/Producer: Alex Thompson

Writer: Kelly O'Sullivan

Producers: James Choi, Pierce Cravens, Ian Keiser, Eddie Linker, Raphael Nash, Roger Welp


Lee Isaac Chung - Minari

Emerald Fennell - Promising Young Woman

Eliza Hittman - Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Kelly Reichardt - First Cow

Chloé Zhao - Nomadland


Lee Isaac Chung - Minari

Emerald Fennell - Promising Young Woman

Eliza Hittman - Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Mike Makowsky - Bad Education

Alice Wu - The Half of It


Kitty Green - The Assistant

Noah Hutton - Lapsis

Channing Godfrey Peoples - Juneteenth

Andy Siara - Palm Springs

James Sweeney - Straight Up


Jay Keitel - She Dies Tomorrow

Shabier Kirchner - Bull

Michael Latham - The Assistant

Hélène Louvart - Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Joshua James Richards - Nomadland


Andy Canny - The Invisible Man

Scott Cummings - Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Merawi Gerima - Residue

Enat Sidi - I Carry You With Me

Chloé Zhao - Nomadland


Nicole Beharie - Miss Juneteenth

Viola Davis - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Sidney Flanigan - Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Julia Garner - The Assistant

Frances McDormand - Nomadland

Carey Mulligan - Promising Young Woman


Riz Ahmed - Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Adarsh Gourav - The White Tiger

Rob Morgan - Bull

Steven Yeun - Minari


Alexis Chikaeze - Miss Juneteenth

Yeri Han - Minari

Valerie Mahaffey - French Exit

Talia Ryder - Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Yuh-jung Youn - Minari


Colman Domingo - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Orion Lee - First Cow

Paul Raci - Sound of Metal

Glynn Turman - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Benedict Wong - Nine Days

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – Given to one film's director, casting director and ensemble cast

 One Night in Miami...

Director: Regina King

Casting Directors: Kimberly R. Hardin

Ensemble Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr.

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)


Director/Producer: Alexander Nanau

Producers: Hanka Kastelicová, Bernard Michaux, Bianca Oana

Crip Camp

Directors/Producers: Jim LeBrecht, Nicole Newnham

Producer: Sara Bolder

Dick Johnson is Dead

Director/Producer: Kirsten Johnson

Producers: Katy Chevigny, Marilyn Ness

The Mole Agent

Director: Maite Alberdi

Producer: Marcela Santibáñez


Director/Producer: Garrett Bradley

Producers: Lauren Domino, Kellen Quinn

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)



Directors: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho

The Disciple


Director: Chaitanya Tamhane

Night of the Kings

Ivory Coast

Director: Philippe Lacôte

Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time


Director: Lili Horvát

Quo Vadis, Aida?

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Director: Jasmila Žbanić

PRODUCERS AWARD – The Producers Award, now in its 24th year, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films.

Kara Durrett

Lucas Joaquin

Gerry Kim

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The Someone to Watch Award, now in its 27th year,  recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.

David Midell - Director of The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain

Ekwa Msangi - Director of Farewell Amor

Annie Silverstein - Director of Bull

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The Truer Than Fiction Award, now in its 26th year, is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition.

Cecilia Aldarondo - Director of Landfall

Elegance Bratton - Director of Pier Kids

Elizabeth Lo - Director of Stray


BEST NEW NON-SCRIPTED OR DOCUMENTARY SERIES (Award given to the Creator, Executive Producer, Co-Executive Producer)

Atlanta's Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children

Executive Producers: Jeff Dupre, Joshua Bennett, Sam Pollard, Maro Chermayeff, John Legend, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius

City So Real

Produced by: Zak Piper, Steve James

Executive Producers: Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Alex Kotlowitz, Gordon Quinn, Betsy Steinberg, Jolene Pinder

Immigration Nation

Executive Producers: Christina Clusiau, Shaul Schwarz, Dan Cogan, Jenny Raskin, Brandon Hill, Christian Thompson

Co-Executive Producers: Andrey Alistratov, Jay Arthur Sterrenberg, Lauren Haber

Love Fraud

Executive Producers: Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing, Amy Goodman Kass, Vinnie Malhotra, Jihan Robinson, Michael Bloom, Maria Zuckerman

We're Here

Creators/Executive Producers: Stephen Warren, Johnnie Ingram

Executive Producers: Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, Peter LoGreco

Co-Executive Producers: Erin Haglund, Sabrina Mar

BEST NEW SCRIPTED SERIES (Award given to the Creator, Executive Producer, Co-Executive Producer)

I May Destroy You

Creator/Executive Producer: Michaela Coel

Executive Producers: Phil Clarke, Roberto Troni

Little America

Executive Producers: Lee Eisenberg, Joshuah Bearman, Joshua Davis, Arthur Spector, Alan Yang, Siân Heder, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon

Small Axe

Executive Producers: Tracey Scoffield, David Tanner, Steve McQueen

A Teacher

Creator/Executive Producer: Hanna Fidell

Executive Producers: Michael Costigan, Kate Mara, Louise Shore, Jason Bateman, Danny Brocklehurst

Co-Executive Producer: Daniel Pipski


Creator/Executive Producer: Anna Winger

Creator: Alexa Karolinski

Executive Producer: Henning Kamm


Elle Fanning - The Great

Shira Haas - Unorthodox

Abby McEnany - Work in Progress

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan - Never Have I Ever

Jordan Kristine Seamón - We Are Who We Are


Conphidance - Little America

Adam Ali - Little America

Nicco Annan - P-Valley

Amit Rahav - Unorthodox

Harold Torres - Zero, Zero, Zero


I May Destroy You

Ensemble Cast: Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Wruche Opia, Stephen Wight

Related content:

Comments have been disabled on this post