2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards Winners (Complete List)

The Wrap


“Nomadland” wins four awards, including Best Feature; “Sound of Metal” wins three and “Promising Young Woman” takes two

“Nomadland” won Best Feature at the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards, which were announced live Thursday, and for the first time in primetime.

“Nomadland” took home four prizes, including Best Feature, Best Director for Chloé Zhao, as well as Best Editing and Best Cinematography. “Sound of Metal” also had a big night, winning Best First Feature, Best Supporting Male Paul Raci and an upset win for Best Male Lead Riz Ahmed. Carey Mulligan also won Best Female Lead for “Promising Young Woman,” and Yuh-Jung Youn won Best Supporting Female for “Minari.”

The coronavirus resulted in moving the Indie Spirits ceremony, now in its 36th year, away from its usual slot as an afternoon hangout in a tent near the Santa Monica pier on the Saturday before the Oscars to now taking place Thursday, April 22 on IFC, with the show also being simulcast on AMC+.

“SNL” cast member Melissa Villaseñor hosted this year’s show.

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The 2021 crop of nominees was led by “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” with seven nominations, including Best Feature, though the film went home empty handed.

2021 was also the first year that the Indie Spirits recognized TV categories, and HBO’s “I May Destroy You” won Best Scripted Series and the previously announced Best Ensemble Cast, while Netflix’s “Unorthodox” won both of the acting prizes for Shira Haas and Amit Rahav.

Here’s the full list of nominees below with the full list of winners, as well as links to reviews for the nominated films:

*Best Feature*
First Cow
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
*Nomadland (Winner)*

*Best First Feature*
I Carry You With Me
The 40-Year-Old Version
Miss Juneteenth
Nine Days
*Sound of Metal (Winner)*

*Best Male Lead*
*Riz Ahmed (Winner) – Sound of Metal*
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Adarsh Gourav – The White Tiger
Rob Morgan – Bull
Steven Yeun – Minari

*Best Female Lead*
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 (Winner) – Promising Young Woman*

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*Best Supporting Male*
Colman Domingo – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Orion Lee – First Cow
*Paul Raci (Winner) – Sound of Metal*
Glynn Turman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Benedict Wong – Nine Days

*Best Supporting Female*
Alexis Chikaeze – Miss Juneteenth
Yeri Han – Minari
Valerie Mahaffey – French Exit
Talia Ryder – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
*Yuh-Jung Youn (Winner) – Minari*

*John Casssavetes Award
*The Killing of Two Lovers
La Leyenda Negra
Lingua Franca
*Residue (Winner)*
Saint Frances

*Best Screenplay*
Mike Makowsky – Bad Education
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Alice Wu – The Half of It
Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
*Emerald Fennell (Winner) – Promising Young Woman*

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*Best First Screenplay*
Kitty Green – The Assistant
Noah Hutton – Lapsis
Channing Godfrey Peoples – Miss Juneteenth
*Andy Siara (Winner) – Palm Springs*
James Sweeney – Straight Up

*Best Cinematography*
The Assistant
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
*Nomadland (Winner)*
She Dies Tomorrow

*Best Documentary*
*Crip Camp (Winner)*
Dick Johnson is Dead
The Mole Agent

*Best Director*
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
*Chloé Zhao – Nomadland* *(Winner)*

*Best Editing*
Andy Canny – The Invisible Man
Scott Cummings – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Merawi Gerima – Residue
Enat Sidi – I Carry You With Me
*Chloé Zhao (Winner) – Nomadland*

*Robert Altman Award*
*“One Night in Miami…” (Winner)*
Director: Regina King
Casting Directors: Kimberly R. Hardin
Ensemble Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr.

*Best International Film
*Bacurau – Brazil (Directors: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho)
The Disciple – India (Director: Chaitanya Tamhane)
Night of the Kings – Ivory Coast (Director: Philippe Lacôte)
Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time – Hungary (Director: Lili Horvát)
*Quo Vadis, Aida? – Bosnia and Herzegovina (Director: Jasmila Žbanić)* *(Winner)*

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*Producers Award*
Kara Durrett
Lucas Joaquin
*Gerry Kim (Winner)*

*Someone to Watch Award
*David Midell – Director of The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain
*Ekwa Msangi – Director of Farewell Amor* *(Winner)*
Annie Silverstein – Director of Bull

*Truer Than Fiction Award
*Cecilia Aldarondo – Director of Landfall
*Elegance Bratton – Director of Pier Kids* *(Winner)*
Elizabeth Lo – Director of Stray


“Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children”
“City So Real”
*“Immigration Nation” (Winner)*
“Love Fraud”
“We’re Here”

*“I May Destroy You” (Winner)*
“Little America”
“Small Axe”
“A Teacher”

Elle Fanning – “The Great”
*Shira Haas – “Unorthodox”* *(Winner)*
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”* *(Winner)*
Harold Torres – “Zero, Zero, Zero”

*“I May Destroy You” (Winner)*
Ensemble Cast: Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Wruche Opia, Stephen Wight

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