Oscar season is indeed in full swing as the Film Independent Spirit Awards have announced their nominations for this year’s ceremony, and it’s an interesting lineup. A24 leads the pack with six nominations each for Moonlight and American Honey, two of the year’s most passionately reviewed films. Moonlight in particular looks to be a major player on this year’s awards circuit, as writer/director Barry Jenkins’ triptych drama about a gay black man searching for his identity is crafted in astounding fashion. In addition to Best Feature, Moonlight secured nods for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing, and the film also scored the Robert Altman Award which is given to one film’s director, casting director, and ensemble cast each year. As for American Honey, the film landed nods for Best Feature, Best Director for Andrea Arnold, Best Female Lead for Sasha Lane, Best Supporting Female for Riley Keough, Best Supporting Male for Shia LaBeouf, and Best Cinematography.
Elsewhere, Manchester by the Sea—by all accounts a serious contender for multiple Oscars—fared well with nods for Best Feature, Best Male Lead for Casey Affleck, Best Supporting Male for Lucas Hedges, Best Screenplay for Kenneth Lonergan, and Best Editing, but Lonergan for some reason failed to secure a Best Director nod while Michelle Williams was left out of the Best Supporting Female pack and Jody Lee Lipes‘ stunning cinematography was snubbed.
Hell or High Water, the highest grossing indie of the year, was also left out of the Best Feature pack, though it did land nods for Best Editing, Best Screenplay for Taylor Sheridan, and Best Supporting Male for Ben Foster.
The Spirit Awards are always a fascinating event, and I’m happy to see Swiss Army Man got notice for Best First Feature from Daniels as it’s a 100% bona fide original piece of filmmaking. It’s also great to see Craig Robinson recognized for his tremendous work in Morris from America.
Check out the full list of nominees below. The winners will be announced during the ceremony on IFC on February 25th.