‘Moonlight’ Sweeps 32nd Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards

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Photo Source: Courtesy of A24

“Moonlight” continued to shine brightly in the final stretch of film awards season, winning five out of five competitive prizes in addition to the best ensemble honor at the 32nd annual Film Independent Spirit Awards Feb. 25. The A24 film’s six wins were the latest in a series of victories at indie film awards ceremonies and festivals.

Writer-director Barry Jenkins, in accepting the statue for best director, dedicated his win to “anyone who was on the call sheet for those 25 hot-ass days in Miami.” The coming-of-age drama, adapted from Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” features Mahershala Ali, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, and Naomie Harris, all of whom shared the previously announced Robert Altman Award recognizing the year’s best ensemble.

Hosted by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, the 2017 Spirit Awards were held, as in years past, in Santa Monica Beach, California, on the night before the Academy Awards. The non-profit’s members feted the best in indie filmmaking, including Maren Ade’s best international film winner “Toni Erdmann” and Robert Eggers’ horror hit “The Witch,” which won both best first feature and best first feature screenplay.

READ: Director Robert Eggers Talks Terrorizing Actors in “The Witch”

Isabelle Huppert of Sony Pictures Classics’ “Elle” followed up her Golden Globe win with the Spirit Award for best female lead, while Casey Affleck of Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions’ “Manchester by the Sea” did the same with yet another trophy in the male category. Both will be in contention at the Oscars Feb. 26.

In the supporting acting categories, Molly Shannon of Vertical Entertainment’s “Other People” joyfully accepted her award, and Ben Foster of Lionsgate and CBS Films’ “Hell or High Water” bested the competition. The 23rd Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award went to Anna Rose Holmer for her critically acclaimed Oscilloscope Laboratories feature debut, “The Fits.”

For three years running, the best feature winner at the Spirit Awards—“12 Years a Slave,” “Birdman,” and “Spotlight”—have gone on to win big at the Oscars. Could Jenkins and “Moonlight” go all the way? For a list of 2017 Spirit Award winners, see below or visit Film Independent’s website.

Best Feature
“American Honey” (A24)
“Chronic” (Wild Bunch)
“Jackie” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
“Manchester by the Sea” (Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions)
***“Moonlight” (A24)

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

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

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 Director
Andrea Arnold, “American Honey”
***Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Pablo Larraín, “Jackie”
Jeff Nichols, “Loving”
Kelly Reichardt, “Certain Women”

Best First Feature
“The Childhood of a Leader” (IFC Films)
“The Fits” (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
“Other People” (Vertical Entertainment)
“Swiss Army Man” (A24)
***“The Witch” (A24)

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 Screenplay
***“The Witch”
“Other People”
“Jean of the Joneses”

Robert Altman Award (Best Ensemble)

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”

Best International Film
“Aquarius” (Brazil)
“Chevalier” (Greece)
“My Golden Days” (France)
***“Toni Erdmann” (Germany and Romania)
“Under the Shadow” (Iran and the U.K.)

John Cassavetes Award (Best Feature Under $500,000)
“Free in Deed”
“Hunter Gatherer”
***“Spa Night”

20th Piaget Producers Award
Lisa Kjerulff
***Jordana Mollick
Melody C. Roscher & Craig Shilowich

23rd Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award
Andrew Ahn, director, “Spa Night”
Claire Carré, director, “Embers”
***Anna Rose Holmer, director, “The Fits”
Ingrid Jungermann, director, “Women Who Kill”

22nd Truer Than Fiction Award
Kristi Jacobson, director, “Solitary”
***Nanfu Wang, director, “Hooligan Sparrow”

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