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Awards Season

A Look at the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Award Nominees

A Look at the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Award Nominees
Photo Source: Merie Wallace/courtesy A24

The nominations for the 33rd Film Independent Spirit Awards represent the best of an especially eclectic and strong year for indie film.

Determined by a committee composed of an unknown number of working film professionals, the Film Independent Spirit Award nominations are viewed as an early harbinger of other awards, including the Oscars. For the past four years running, the Spirit Awards have shared their best picture winner with the Academy: “12 Years a Slave,” “Birdman,” “Spotlight,” and last year’s “Moonlight,” which at the 2017 ceremony swept all six of its nominated categories.

Unlike the Academy Awards, films without a theatrical release that have screened at a handful of the most prestigious festivals are eligible for Spirit Awards, which also enforces a loose budget ceiling of $20 million and requires films classified to be as American-made. Coinciding with the Academy Awards’ focus on honoring smaller, independent films with their top prizes is the Spirit Awards’ tendency to reward projects closer to that $20 million limit. Any of the thousands of industry professionals with Film Independent membership—many of whom also weigh in on Oscars—may vote for Spirit Award winners.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards ceremony takes place on Santa Monica Beach in L.A. each year the day prior to the Oscars ceremony. Nick Kroll and John Mulaney return to co-host the festivities, which will air live on IFC Saturday, March 3, at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET. Check out the full list of this year’s nominees below, and for more film awards coverage, visit!

(Award given to the producer. Executive producers are not awarded.)

“Call Me by Your Name”
Producers: Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges, Rodrigo Teixeira, Marco Morabito, James Ivory, Howard Rosenman

“The Florida Project”
Producers: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch, Kevin Chinoy, Andrew Duncan, Alex Saks, Francesca Silvestri, Shih-Ching Tsou

“Get Out”
Producers: Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., Sean McKittrick, Jordan Peele

“Lady Bird”
Producers: Eli Bush, Evelyn O’Neill, Scott Rudin

“The Rider”
Producers: Mollye Asher, Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, Chloé Zhao

(Award given to the director and producer.) 

Director: Kogonada
Producers: Danielle Renfrew Behrens, Aaron Boyd, Giulia Caruso, Ki Jin Kim, Andrew Miano, Chris Weitz

“Ingrid Goes West”
Director: Matt Spicer
Producers: Jared Ian Goldman, Adam Mirels, Robert Mirels, Aubrey Plaza, Tim White, Trevor White

Director/Producer: Joshua Z. Weinstein
Producers: Yoni Brook, Traci Carlson, Daniel Finkelman, Alex Lipschultz 

“Oh Lucy!”
Director/Producer: Atsuko Hirayanagi
Producers: Jessica Elbaum, Yukie Kito, Han West

“Patti Cake$”
Director: Geremy Jasper
Producers: Chris Columbus, Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Noah Stahl, Rodrigo Teixeira

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

Amman Abbasi
Writer: Steven Reneau
Producers: Lachion Buckingham, Alexander Uhlmann

“A Ghost Story”
Writer/Director: David Lowery
Producers: Adam Donaghey, Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston

“Life and Nothing More”
Writer/Director: Antonio Méndez Esparza
Producers: Amadeo Hernández Bueno, Alvaro Portanet Hernández, Pedro Hernández Santos

“Most Beautiful Island”
Writer/Director/Producer: Ana Asensio
Producers: Larry Fessenden, Noah Greenberg, Chadd Harbold, Jenn Wexler

“The Transfiguration”
Writer/Director: Michael O’Shea
Producer: Susan Leber


Salma Hayek, “Beatriz at Dinner”

Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”

Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

Shinobu Terajima, “Oh Lucy!”

Regina Williams, “Life and Nothing More”


Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”

Harris Dickinson, “Beach Rats”

James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”

Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”

Robert Pattinson, “Good Time”


Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”

Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird” 

Lois Smith, “Marjorie Prime”

Taliah Lennice Webster, “Good Time”


Nnamdi Asomugha, “Crown Heights”

Armie Hammer,
“Call Me by Your Name”

Barry Keoghan,
“The Killing of a Sacred Deer”

Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Benny Safdie, “Good Time”

(Given to one film’s director, casting director, and ensemble cast.)

Director: Dee Rees
Casting Directors: Billy Hopkins, Ashley Ingram
Ensemble Cast: Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Rob Morgan, Carey Mulligan


Sean Baker, “The Florida Project”

Jonas Carpignano, “A Ciambra”

Luca Guadagnino, “Call Me by Your Name”

Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, “Good Time”

Chloé Zhao, “The Rider”


Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”

Azazel Jacobs, “The Lovers”

Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

Mike White, “Beatriz at Dinner”


Kris Avedisian, “Donald Cried”
Story by: Kyle Espeleta, Jesse Wakeman

Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani, “The Big Sick”

Ingrid Jungermann, “Women Who Kill”

Kogonada, “Columbus”

David Branson Smith, Matt Spicer, “Ingrid Goes West”


Thimios Bakatakis, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”

Elisha Christian, “Columbus”

Hélène Louvart, “Beach Rats”

Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, “Call Me by Your Name”

Joshua James Richards, “The Rider”


Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie, “Good Time”

Walter Fasano,
“Call Me by Your Name”

Alex O’Flinn, “The Rider”

Gregory Plotkin, “Get Out”

Tatiana S. Riegel, “I, Tonya”

(Award given to the director and producer.)

“The Departure”
Director/Producer: Lana Wilson

“Faces Places”
Directors: Agnés Varda, JR
Producer: Rosalie Varda

“Last Men in Aleppo”
Director: Feras Fayyad
Producers: Kareem Abeed, Søeren Steen Jespersen, Stefan Kloos

Director/Producer: Ramona S. Díaz
Producer: Rey Cuerdo

Director: Jonathan Olshefski
Producer: Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

(Award given to the director.)

“BPM (Beats Per Minute),” France
Director: Robin Campillo

“A Fantastic Woman,” Chile
Director: Sebastián Lelio

“I Am Not a Witch,” Zambia
Director: Rungano Nyoni

“Lady Macbeth,” U.K.
Director: William Oldroyd

“Loveless,” Russia
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

(Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo joined American Airlines in 1973 at age 24, becoming the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. In her honor, the inaugural Bonnie Award will recognize a midcareer female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines.)

So Yong Kim

Lynn Shelton

Chloé Zhao

(The 23rd annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of nonfiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by the Jeep brand.)

Shevaun Mizrahi, director of
“Distant Constellation”

Jonathan Olshefski,
director of “Quest”

Jeff Unay, director of
“The Cage Fighter”

(The 24th annual Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.)

Amman Abbasi, director of “Dayveon”

Justin Chon, director of “Gook” 

Kevin Phillips, director of
“Super Dark Times”

(The 21st annual Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.)

Giulia Caruso & Ki Jin Kim

Ben LeClair

Summer Shelton

Want to star in an award-winning indie? Check out Backstage’s film audition listings!


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