May 16, 2021


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

‘Nomadland’ takes top prize at Spirit Awards. Are Oscars next?

The Film Independent Spirit Awards gave four prizes to “Nomadland” on Thursday night, including best feature. The film also won director and editing for Chloé Zhao and cinematography for Joshua James Richards.

Rather than their typical show in a tent by the beach in Santa Monica, the event was held virtually. Speaking to the unusual nature of this year’s awards season, in her opening monologue host Melissa Villaseñor joked that the event was “honoring the best movies you heard were good.”

Female lead went to Carey Mulligan for “Promising Young Woman,” and male lead went to Riz Ahmed for “Sound of Metal.”

The supporting actress prize went to Yuh-Jung Youn for her role in “Minari.” Supporting actor went to Paul Raci for “Sound of Metal.”

The screenplay award went to Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman.”

The nominees this year included numerous films also competing for the Academy Awards on Sunday night, such as “Nomadland,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Minari,” “Promising Young Woman” and “Sound of Metal.”

Whenever there was an Oscar nominee in a category, Spirit Awards voters chose to make that film the winner. Films such as “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” and “First Cow” that came into the night with multiple Spirit Award nominations but no recognition from the Oscars went home empty-handed.

This year the Spirit Awards recognized work for television for first time. The award for new scripted series went to HBO’s British import “I May Destroy You.” Best ensemble cast in a new scripted series also went to the show’s Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Weruche Opia and Stephen Wight.

Shira Haas in Netflix’s “Unorthodox” won for female performance in a new scripted series. Amit Rahav, also from “Unorthodox,” won for male performance in a new scripted series.


Best feature

Best director
Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

Best female lead
Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”

Best male lead
Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”

Best supporting female
Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari”

Best supporting male
Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”

Best screenplay
Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”

Best first feature
“Sound of Metal”

Best first screenplay
Andy Siara, “Palm Springs”

Best cinematography
Joshua James Richards, “Nomadland”

Best editing
Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

Robert Altman Award
“One Night in Miami”

Best documentary
“Crip Camp”

Best international film
“Quo Vadis, Aida?”

John Cassavetes Awards

Best new non-scripted or documentary Series
“Immigration Nation”

Best scripted series
“I May Destroy You”

Best female performance in a scripted series
Shira Haas, “Unorthodox”

Best male Performance in a scripted series
Amit Rahav, “Unorthodox”

Best ensemble cast in a new scripted series
“I May Destroy You”: Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Weruche Opia, Stephen Wight