Saturday, February 21, 2015
Over the past 30 years, the Film Independent Spirit Awards has made a name for itself as the premiere awards show for the independent film community. Artists who have received industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Joel and Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams, Lena Dunham and many more.
This year’s major category winners were Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); which won Best Feature, Best Male Lead and Best Cinematography, Boyhood; which won Best Director and Best Supporting Female, Nightcrawler; which won Best First Feature and Best Screenplay and Whiplash; which won Best Supporting Male and Best Editing; Still Alice, which won Best Female Lead; Dear White People, which won Best First Screenplay; Land Ho!, which won the John Cassavetes Award; Ida, which won Best International Film and CITIZENFOUR, which won Best Documentary.
The 8th annual Robert Altman Award was given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice received this award, along with casting director Cassandra Kulukundis and ensemble cast members Josh Brolin, Hong Chau, Martin Donovan, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Joaquin Phoenix, Sasha Pieterse, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short, Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio del Toro, Katherine Waterston, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon and Michael Kenneth Williams.
The Special Distinction Award, given to a film for its uniqueness of vision, honesty of direction and screenwriting, superb acting and overall filmmaking achievement, was given to Foxcatcher. The award was given to director/producer Bennett Miller, producers Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik, writers E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman, actors Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum.
The 2015 Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation Fellowship which includes a cash grant of $10,000 was awarded to Christina Choe. This annual award is given to a filmmaker currently participating in a Film Independent Artist Development program with the mission of diversity in mind. Choe, a participant in the 2015 Directing Lab, is currently in active pre-production on her first narrative feature film, Nancy.
Nominations for the 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards
Complete list of winners for the 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole
Richard Linklater (IFC Films)
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler (Open Road Films)
Best First Feature
Nightcrawler (Open Road Films)
Director: Dan Gilroy, Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak
Best First Screenplay
Justin Simien, Dear White People (Roadside Attractions/ Lionsgate)
John Cassavetes Award (For best feature made under $500,000): Land Ho! (Sony Pictures Classics)
Writers/Directors: Aaron Katz, Martha Stephens, Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy
Best Supporting Female
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood (IFC Films)
Best Supporting Male
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash (Sony Pictures Classics)
Best Female Lead
Julianne Moore, Still Alice (Sony Pictures Classics)
Best Male Lead
Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Robert Altman Award
Inherent Vice (Warner Bros.)
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, Casting Director: Cassandra Kulukundis, Ensemble Cast: Josh Brolin, Hong Chau, Martin Donovan, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Joaquin Phoenix, Sasha Pieterse, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short, Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio del Toro, Katherine Waterston, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Kenneth Williams
Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Tom Cross, Whiplash (Sony Pictures Classics)
Best International Film
Ida (Poland – Music Box Films)
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
CITIZENFOUR (RADiUS-TWC / HBO Documentary Films / Participant Media)
Director: Laura Poitras; Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky
Special Distinction Award
Foxcatcher (Sony Pictures Classics)
Director/Producer: Bennett Miller, Producers: Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik, Writers: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman, Actors: Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum
On January 10 the following winners were honored at the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood:
Chris Ohlson received the Piaget Producers Award. The award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality independent films. The annual award, in its 18th year, includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget for the 8th year. Finalists were Chad Burris and Elisabeth Holm.
Dan Krauss, director of The Kill Team, received the LensCrafters Truer Than Fiction Award. The award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not received significant recognition. The award is in its 20th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters. Finalists for the award were Sara Dosa for The Last Season, Darius Clark Monroe for Evolution of a Criminal and Amanda Rose Wilder for Approaching the Elephant.
Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia, directors of H., received the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award. The award recognizes talented filmmakers of singular vision who have not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is in its 21st year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851. Finalists for the award were Ana Lily Amirpour for A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and Chris Eska for The Retrieval.