Film Independent Announces 2015 Spirit Award Nominees, Including ‘Carol,’ ‘Tangerine’ and ‘Anomalisa’


Earlier today at a press conference in Los Angeles, Film Independent enlisted John Boyega and Elizabeth Olsen to announce their 31st Spirit Award nominees. (However, as Deadline explains, due to a technical glitch, the nominees were actually listed in advance of the conference, clearly leading to the embitterment of those who’d attended in hopes of breaking the news first.) Regardless of how or when news of the announcements rolled out, Film Independent Spirit Awards news is often good news, and their latest round of nominees sees them honoring films many of us would like to see (but cannot necessarily count on seeing) on some of the larger awards lists this year. In choosing their shortlists, the organization was looking for films that were “a testament to the strength, vitality and diversity of independent, artist-driven filmmaking,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh.

Spotlight, which Flavorwire’s Jason Bailey called a “whip-smart, gripping, electrifyingincredible film,” is receiving the Robert Altman Award, which goes to one director, casting director and ensemble, and honors the power of well-conceived ensemble films. Welsh said of the decision to bestow the award on the team behind Spotlight:

Spotlight is a remarkable film that excels on every level, but the Nominating Committee thought it was especially deserving of the Robert Altman Award…The film is beautifully cast with every member of the ensemble working together to tell the story of the Boston Globe investigating allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church.

Meanwhile, the list of nominees for Best Feature is just as exciting, featuring the likes of Carol, Tangerine, Beasts of No Nation and Charlie Kaufman’s upcoming stop-motion romance, Anomalisa. The awards are honoring some of the most memorable performances of the year (many of which were from the list of films above), including newcomer Abraham Attah for his turn as a child soldier in Beasts of No Nation, Cate Blanchett for Carol, Bel Powley for Diary of a Teenage Girl and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez for Tangerine. Below is the full list of the nominees, courtesy of Film Independent. (Winners will be announced at a ceremony on February 27, which will be broadcast on IFC.)


Anomalisa Producers: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman, Dino Stamatopoulos, Rosa Tran

Beasts of No Nation Producers: Daniel Crown, Idris Elba, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Amy Kaufman, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Riva Marker

Carol Producers: Elizabeth Karlsen, Christine Vachon, Stephen Woolley

Spotlight Producers: Blye Pagon Faust, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Michael Sugar

Tangerine Producers: Sean Baker, Karrie Cox, Marcus Cox, Darren Dean, Shih-Ching Tsou


The Diary of a Teenage Girl Director: Marielle Heller Producers: Miranda Bailey, Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit

James White Director: Josh Mond Producers: Max Born, Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin, Melody Roscher, Eric Schultz

Manos Sucias Director: Josef Kubota Wladyka Producers: Elena Greenlee, Márcia Nunes

Mediterranea Director: Jonas Carpignano Producers: Jason Michael Berman, Chris Columbus, Jon Coplon, Christoph Daniel, Andrew Kortschak, John Lesher, Ryan Lough, Justin Nappi, Alain Peyrollaz, Gwyn Sannia, Marc Schmidheiny, Victor Shapiro, Ryan Zacarias

Songs My Brothers Taught Me Director/Producer: Chloé Zhao Producers: Mollye Asher, Nina Yang Bongiovi, Angela C. Lee, Forest Whitaker

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – (This is granted to their pick for the best feature with a budget of less than $500,000.)

Advantageous Writer/Director/Producer: Jennifer Phang Writer/Producer: Jacqueline Kim Producers: Robert Chang, Ken Jeong, Moon Molson, Theresa Navarro

Christmas, Again Writer/Director/Producer: Charles Poekel

Heaven Knows What Directors: Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie Writers: Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie Producers: Oscar Boyson, Sebastian Bear McClard

Krisha Writer/Director/Producer: Trey Edward Shults Producers: Justin R. Chan, Chase Joliet, Wilson Smith

Out of My Hand Writer/Director: Takeshi Fukunaga Writer/Producer: Donari Braxton Producer: Mike Fox


Sean Baker Tangerine

Cary Joji Fukunaga Beasts of No Nation

Todd Haynes Carol

Duke Johnson & Charlie Kaufman Anomalisa

Tom McCarthy Spotlight

David Robert Mitchell It Follows


Charlie Kaufman Anomalisa

Donald Margulies The End of the Tour

Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer Spotlight

Phyllis Nagy Carol

S. Craig Zahler Bone Tomahawk


Jesse Andrews Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Jonas Carpignano Mediterranea

Emma Donoghue Room

Marielle Heller The Diary of a Teenage Girl

John Magary Story by Russell Harbaugh and Myna Joseph The Mend


Cary Joji Fukunaga Beasts of No Nation

Michael Gioulakis It Follows

Ed Lachman Carol

Reed Morano Meadowland

Joshua James Richards Songs My Brothers Taught Me


Ronald Bronstein and Benny Safdie Heaven Knows What

Tom McArdle Spotlight

Nathan Nugent Room

Julio C. Perez IV It Follows

Kristan Sprague Manos Sucias


Cate Blanchett Carol

Brie Larson Room

Rooney Mara Carol

Bel Powley The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez Tangerine


Christopher Abbott James White

Abraham Attah Beasts of No Nation

Ben Mendelsohn Mississippi Grind

Jason Segel The End of the Tour

Koudous Seihon Mediterranea


Robin Bartlett H.

Marin Ireland Glass Chin

Jennifer Jason Leigh Anomalisa

Cynthia Nixon James White

Mya Taylor Tangerine


Kevin Corrigan Results

Paul Dano Love & Mercy

Idris Elba Beasts of No Nation

Richard Jenkins Bone Tomahawk

Michael Shannon 99 Homes


Spotlight Director: Tom McCarthy Casting Directors: Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee Ensemble Cast: Billy Crudup, Paul Guilfoyle, Neal Huff, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Jamey Sheridan, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci


(T)ERROR Directors/Producers: Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe Producer: Christopher St. John

Best of Enemies Directors/Producers: Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville

Heart of a Dog Director/Producer: Laurie Anderson Producer: Dan Janvey

The Look of Silence Director: Joshua Oppenheimer Producer: Signe Byrge Sørensen

Meru Directors/Producers: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi Producer: Shannon Ethridge

The Russian Woodpecker Director/Producer: Chad Gracia Producers: Ram Devineni, Mike Lerner


Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia) Director: Ciro Guerra

Girlhood (France) Director: Céline Sciamma

Mustang (France, Turkey) Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Sweden) Director: Roy Andersson

Son of Saul (Hungary) Director: László Nemes

19th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – (This is a $25,000 grant for producers who worked creatively with limited resources)

Darren Dean Mel Eslyn Rebecca Green and Laura D. Smith

22nd ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – (This is a $25,000 award given to an up-and-coming filmmaker who they’ve deemed needs more recognition)

God Bless the Child Directors: Robert Machoian & Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck

King Jack Director: Felix Thompson

Songs My Brothers Taught Me Director: Chloé Zhao

21st TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – (This is a $25,000 award granted to a non-fiction up-and-coming filmmaker who they’ve deemed needs more recognition.)

Among the Believers Directors: Mohammed Ali Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi

Incorruptible Director: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

A Woman Like Me Directors: Elizabeth Giamatti and Alex Sichel