Diversity Celebrated at This Year’s Independent Spirit Awards


Tom McCarthy’s journalism crime drama Spotlight was the big winner at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday. The film starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, and Stanley Tucci — about the Boston Globe‘s investigation of widespread sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church — took home Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, and the Robert Altman Award for Best Ensemble.

Mya Taylor’s breakout performance in Tangerine won for Best Supporting Female, making her the first transgender performer to win a major award. “There’s very beautiful transgender talent. So, you better get it out there and put it in your next movie,” Taylor said during her speech. Beasts of No Nation stars Abraham Attah (Best Male Lead) and Idris Elba (Best Supporting Male) joined Room‘s Brie Larson (Best Female Lead) in the acting categories.

This year’s winners were far more diverse than the Academy Award nominees — all 20 of them, all granted to white actors, leading to a boycott by multiple Hollywood stars and social media protests with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.

This is the 31st year for the Film Independent Spirit Awards, which celebrates “artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody independence and originality.”


Best Feature: Spotlight (Open Road Films)

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

Best Director: Tom McCarthy, Spotlight (Open Road Films)

Best Screenplay: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer, Spotlight (Open Road Films)

Best First Feature: The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sony Pictures Classics)

Director: Marielle Heller

Producers: Miranda Bailey, Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit

Best First Screenplay: Emma Donoghue, Room (A24)

John Cassavetes Award (For best feature made under $500,000): Krisha (A24)

Writer/Director/Producer: Trey Edward Shults

Producers: Justin R. Chan, Chase Joliet, Wilson Smith

Best Supporting Female: Mya Taylor, Tangerine (Magnolia Pictures)

Best Supporting Male: Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation (Bleecker Street/Netflix)

Best Female Lead: Brie Larson, Room (A24)

Best Male Lead: Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation (Bleecker Street/Netflix)

Robert Altman Award: Spotlight (Open Road Films)

Director: Tom McCarthy

Casting Directors: Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee

Ensemble Cast: Billy Crudup, Michael Cyril Creighton, Paul Guilfoyle, Neal Huff, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Jamey Sheridan, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci

Best Cinematography: Ed Lachman, Carol (The Weinstein Company)

Best Editing: Tom McArdle, Spotlight (Open Road Films)

Best International Film: Son of Saul (Hungary – Sony Pictures Classics)

Director: László Nemes

Best Documentary: The Look of Silence (Drafthouse Films/Participant Media)

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer

Producer: Signe Byrge Sørensen