2017 Independent Spirit Awards Nominees Announced

2017 Independent Spirit Awards Nominees Announced

The year-end awards season has finally kicked off with the announcement of the 2017 Independent Spirit Award nominees. While the last couple of weeks has seen a proliferation of roundtable interview sessions and tons of for your consideration ads spread across the web, today marked the real beginning to the discussion around what films will be honoured as the year's best in a slew of ceremonies, culminating in late February with the Academy Awards.

It’s interesting that the Independent Spirit Awards announce their roster of nominees at this time, given that their ceremony will not take place until February 25th 2017 – important for being the day before the Academy Awards are held. For now, here are the nominees:

Best Feature
American Honey
Manchester by the Sea

Best Director
Andrea Arnold, American Honey
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Pablo Larrain, Jackie
Kelly Reichardt, Certain Women
Jeff Nichols, Loving

Best Screenplay
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Mike Mills, 20th Century Women
Ira Sachs, Little Men
Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water

Best First Feature
The Childhood of a Leader
The Fits
Other People
Swiss Army Man
The Witch

Best First Screenplay
Robert Eggers, The Witch
Chris Kelly, Other People
Adam Mansbach, Barry
Stella Meghie, Jean of the Joneses
Craig Shilowich, Christine

Best Male Lead
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
David Harewood, Free in Deed
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Jesse Plemons, Other People
Tim Roth, Chronic

Best Female Lead
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Sasha Lane, American Honey
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie

Best Supporting Male
Ralph Fiennes, A Bigger Splash
Ben Foster, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Shia LaBeouf, American Honey
Craig Robinson, Morris from America

Best Supporting Female
Edwina Findley, Free in Deed
Paulina Garcia, Little Men
Lily Gladstone, Certain Women
Riley Keough, American Honey
Molly Shannon, Other People

Best Documentary
I Am Not Your Negro
O.J.: Made in America
Under the Sun

Best International Film
My Golden Days
Toni Erdmann
Under the Shadow

Best Cinematography
Free in Deed
The Childhood of a Leader
The Eyes of My Mother
American Honey

Best Editing
Swiss Army Man
Manchester by the Sea
Hell or High Water

John Cassavetes Award
Free in Deed
Hunter Gatherer

Spa Night

Robert Altman Award (Best Ensemble)

As expected, there is a considerable strong showing for Barry Jenkins' Moonlight, which still holds the capacity to make a strong impression at the Oscars this year. Other major year-end players such as Manchester by the SeaJackie, and American Honey are represented, in what is sure to be a competitive field.

Just as with every year, there are a couple of titles which may not have been on many radars before, such as the Tim Roth-led Chronic which premiered at Cannes but has otherwise gone unnoticed; Jake Mahaffy's Free in Deed which seems to have really impressed the nominations jury, and Ira Sachs' Little Men, which for being a quiet intimate drama, is nice to see it still remaining in many voter's minds after several months.

While the Independent Spirit Awards aren’t broadcast on a major network (IFC has taken the reigns these last few years), the films which are selected tend to appeal to not just the indie spirit, but in many cases holding an underdog sensibility to them. Many films which are championed to get noticed by the AMPAS, but in most cases don’t. That’s not to say a Spirit Award is a consolation prize, in fact, I would argue that their choices are important for recognizing the future of both American and international filmmaking, which Oscar tends to not be as bold in highlighting.

Some of you reading this may be aware that our site, Talk Film Society, has held our own ceremony, The TFS Awards, for the last 3 years, and today we can announce that our 4th ceremony will be held on February 19th, 2017. Looking back at last year’s diverse crop of nominated films, it’s interesting to see quite an overlap in terms of what people chose that was also selected by the Spirit Awards group. Aside from major titles like Spotlight, Carol, Room, and Beasts of No Nation, films like Tangerine, Bone Tomahawk, It Follows, and The Diary of a Teenage Girl were highly favored, which just goes to show how the Spirit Awards just as worthwhile to pay attention to as the Oscars, in terms of evaluating many of the most celebrated films of the year.

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