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39th Independent Spirit Awards Celebrates Independent Cinema in Santa Monica

Santa Monica Pier Hosts Annual Awards Ceremony Amid Pro-Palestinian Protest

The 39th Independent Spirit Awards ceremony, another precursor to the Academy Awards, was held on Sunday, February 25, on Santa Monica’s beach in a tent, as usual. The celebration of independent film and television was hosted by Aidy Bryant and streamed on Film Independent’s YouTube Channel.

The gala was the site of a protest by pro-Palestinian activists who had a loudspeaker that played a loop of pro-Palestinian sentiments that started over half an hour into the event. The program continued as scheduled despite the chants being heard for the rest of the ceremony.

Feature films in contention for Academy Awards like Past Lives, American Fiction, May December, The Holdovers, and Academy of a Fall all won awards at the Independent Spirit Awards on Sunday. 

Best Feature:

Past Lives (Winner)
All of Us Strangers
American Fiction
May December
We Grown Now

Best Director:

Celine Song, Past Lives (Winner)
Andrew Haigh, All of Us Strangers
Todd Haynes, May December
William Oldroyd, Eileen
Ira Sachs, Passages

Best First Feature:

A Thousand and One (Winner)
All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt
Chronicles of a Wandering Saint
Earth Mama
Upon Entry

Best Lead Performance:

Jeffrey Wright, American Fiction (Winner)
Jessica Chastain, Memory
Greta Lee, Past Lives
Trace Lysette, Monica
Natalie Portman, May December
Judy Reyes, Birth/Rebirth
Franz Rogowski, Passages
Andrew Scott, All of Us Strangers
Teyana Taylor, A Thousand and One
Teo Yoo, Past Lives

Best Supporting Performance:

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers (Winner)
Erika Alexander, American Fiction
Sterling K. Brown, American Fiction
Noah Galvin, Theater Camp
Anne Hathaway, Eileen
Glenn Howerton, BlackBerry
Marin Ireland, Eileen
Charles Melton, May December
Catalina Saavedra, Rotting in the Sun
Ben Whishaw, Passages

Best Breakthrough Performance:

Dominic Sessa, The Holdovers (Winner)
Marshawn Lynch, Bottoms
Atibon Nazaire, Mountains
Tia Nomore, Earth Mama
Anaita Wali Zada, Fremont

Best Screenplay:

Cord Jefferson, American Fiction (Winner)
David Hemingson, The Holdovers
Laura Moss, Brendan J. O’Brien, Birth/Rebirth
Emma Seligman, Rachel Sennott, Bottoms
Celine Song, Past Lives

Best First Screenplay:

Samy Burch; Story by Samy Burch, Alex Mechanik, May December (Winner)
Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman, Ben Platt, Theater Camp
Tomás Gómez Bustillo, Chronicles of a Wandering Saint
Laurel Parmet, The Starling Girl
Alejandro Rojas, Juan Sebastián Vásquez, Upon Entry

Best Cinematography:

Eigil Bryld, The Holdovers (Winner)
Katelin Arizmendi, Monica
Jomo Fray, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt
Pablo Lozano, Chronicles of a Wandering Saint
Pat Scola, We Grown Now

Best Editing:

Daniel Garber, How to Blow Up a Pipeline (Winner)

Santiago Cendejas, Gabriel Díaz, Sofía Subercaseaux, Rotting in the Sun
Stephanie Filo, We Grown Now
Jon Philpot, Theater Camp
Emanuele Tiziani, Upon Entry

Best Documentary:

Four Daughters (Winner)
Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project
Bye Bye Tiberias
Kokomo City
The Mother of All Lies

Best International Film:

Anatomy of a Fall (Winner)
Mami Wata
The Zone of Interest

Robert Altman Award:
Showing Up
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Casting Director: Gayle Keller
Ensemble Cast: André Benjamin, Hong Chau, Judd Hirsch, Heather Lawless, James Le Gros, John Magaro, Matt Malloy, Amanda Plummer, Maryann Plunkett, Denzel Rodriguez, Michelle Williams

Someone to Watch Award:

Monica Sorelle, Director of Mountains (Winner)
Joanna Arnow, Director of The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed
Laura Moss, Director of Birth/Rebirth

Truer Than Fiction Award:
Set Hernandez, Director of unseen (Winner)
Jesse Short Bull, Laura Tomaselli, Director of Lakota Nation vs. United States
Sierra Urich, Director of Joonam

John Cassavetes Award:

Fremont (Winner)
The Artifice Girl
Cadejo Blanco
Rotting in the Sun
The Unknown Country

Producers Award:

Monique Walton (Winner)
Rachael Fung
Graham Swon


Best New Scripted Series:
Beef (Winner)
Dreaming Whilst Black
I’m a Virgo
Jury Duty

Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series:

Dear Mama (Winner)
Deadlocked: How America Shaped the Supreme Court
Murder in Big Horn
Stolen Youth: Inside the Cult at Sarah Lawrence

Best Lead Performance in a New Scripted Series:

Ali Wong, Beef (Winner)
Emma Corrin, A Murder at the End of the World
Dominique Fishback, Swarm
Betty Gilpin, Mrs. Davis
Jharrel Jerome, I’m a Virgo
Zoe Lister-Jones, Slip
Bel Powley, A Small Light
Bella Ramsey, The Last of Us
Ramón Rodríguez, Will Trent
Steven Yeun, Beef

Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series:

Nick Offerman, The Last of Us (Winner)
Murray Bartlett, The Last of Us
Billie Eilish, Swarm
Jack Farthing, Rain Dogs
Adina Porter, The Changeling
Lewis Pullman, Lessons in Chemistry
Benny Safdie, The Curse
Luke Tennie, Shrinking
Olivia Washington, I’m a Virgo
Jessica Williams, Shrinking

Best Breakthrough Performance in a New Scripted Series:

Keivonn Montreal Woodard, The Last of Us (Winner)
Clark Backo, The Changeling
Aria Mia Loberti, All the Light We Cannot See
Adjani Salmon, Dreaming Whilst Black
Kara Young, I’m a Virgo

Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series:
Jury Duty
Ensemble Cast: Alan Barinholtz, Susan Berger, Cassandra Blair, David Brown, Kirk Fox, Ross Kimball, Pramode Kumar, Trisha LaFache, Mekki Leeper, James Marsden, Edy Modica, Kerry O’Neill, Rashida Olayiwola, Whitney Rice, Maria Russell, Ishmel Sahid, Ben Seaward, Ron Song, Evan Williams

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