British talent makes a rare appearance among Independent Spirit Nominations

The Scottish director Lynne Ramsay and the English actors Carey Mulligan and Richard E Grant are among the nominees for the Independent Spirit Awards, honouring low-budget American films.

The awards, handed out in Santa Monica the day before the Oscars, are voted for by members of the LA-based Film Independent grass-roots organisation.

Joaquin Phoenix chasing the ghosts of his past as an enforcer in Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here

Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here is one of the most nominated films, up for awards in four categories, including Best Feature, Best Director and Best Male Lead, for Joaquin Phoenix, whose competition includes Ethan Hawke for Paul Schrader’s First Reformed and John Cho in the internet drama Searching.

Mulligan has one of three nominations for actor Paul Dano’s directorial debut Wildlife. Dano himself is up for Best First Feature, while Mulligan is in the running for the Best Female Lead award, against stars including Glenn Close for The Wife and Toni Collette for Hereditary.

Grant is up for the Best Supporting Male award for Can You Ever Forgive Me? His fellow nominees include Adam Driver for BLACKkKLANSMAN, and his co-star in that film John David Washington for Monsters and Men.

Leave No Trace is nominated for Best Feature, Best Director and Best Supporting Female, for Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie

The Independent Spirit Awards specifically honour American films, but it’s increasingly common for British talent to feature in US productions – many of which are funded with money from the UK. American Animals, for example, was a Film 4 production and it’s up for 11 British Independent Film Awards, but it’s got a Best Editing nod at the Spirits, which claim it for the US. And one of the Awards Season favourites – The Favourite – a British film with an international cast and crew, features here only in the Best International Film category, alongside the Cannes Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters and Roma, which won the Golden Lion at Venice.

Other contenders in the main categories at the Spirits include Moonlight director Barry Jenkins’ latest, If Beale Street Could Talk and Leave No Trace, from Debra Granik, who’s also up for the relatively new Bonnie Award, in its second year, honouring what are described as “mid-career female directors.”

Here is the full list of Spirit Award nominees:




Eighth Grade

First Reformed         

If Beale Street Could Talk   

Leave No Trace        

You Were Never Really Here          




Sorry to Bother You

The Tale

We the Animals



JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000.   

A Bread Factory     

En el Séptimo Día

Never Goin’ Back


Thunder Road



Debra Granik – Leave No Trace

Barry Jenkins – If Beale Street Could Talk

Tamara Jenkins – Private Life

Lynne Ramsay – You Were Never Really Here

Paul Schrader – First Reformed



Colette – Richard Glatzer (Writer/Story By), Rebecca Lenkiewicz & Wash Westmoreland

Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty

Private Life – Tamara Jenkins

Sorry to Bother You – Boots Riley

First Reformed – Paul Schrader



Eighth Grade – Bo Burnham

Nancy – Christina Choe

Thoroughbreds – Cory Finley

The Tale – Jennifer Fox

Blame – Quinn Shephard (Writer/Story By), Laurie Shephard (Story By)



Ashley Connor – Madeline’s Madeline

Diego Garcia – Wildlife

Benjamin Loeb – Mandy

Sayombhu Mukdeeprom – Suspiria

Zak Mulligan – We the Animals



Joe Bini – You Were Never Really Here

Keiko Deguchi, Brian A. Kates, Jeremiah Zagar – We the Animals

Luke Dunkley, Nick Fenton, Chris Gill, Julian Hart – American Animals

Anne Fabini, Alex Hall, Gary Levy – The Tale

Nick Houy – Mid90s



Glenn Close – The Wife

Toni Collette – Hereditary

Elsie Fisher – Eighth Grade

Regina Hall – Support the Girls

Helena Howard – Madeline’s Madeline

Carey Mulligan – Wildlife



John Cho – Searching

Daveed Diggs – Blindspotting

Ethan Hawke – First Reformed

Christian Malheiros – Sócrates

Joaquin Phoenix – You Were Never Really Here



Kayli Carter – Private Life

Tyne Daly – A Bread Factory

Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk

Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie – Leave No Trace

J Smith-Cameron – Nancy



Raúl Castillo – We the Animals


Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Josh Hamilton – Eighth Grade

John David Washington – Monsters and Men


ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast


Director: Luca Guadagnino

Casting Directors: Avy Kaufman, Stella Savino

Ensemble Cast: Malgosia Bela, Ingrid Caven, Lutz Ebersdorf, Elena Fokina, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, Dakota Johnson, Gala Moody, Chloë Grace Moretz, Renée Soutendijk, Tilda Swinton, Sylvie Testud, Angela Winkler



Hale County This Morning, This Evening 

Minding the Gap

Of Fathers and Sons

On Her Shoulders


Won’t You Be My Neighbor?



Burning – South Korea, Director: Lee Chang-Dong

The Favourite – United Kingdom, Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Happy as Lazzaro – Italy, Director: Alice Rohrwacher

Roma – Mexico, Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Shoplifters – Japan, Director: Kore-eda Hirokazu


BONNIE AWARD – Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo joined American Airlines in 1973 at age 24, becoming the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. In her honor, the second Bonnie Award will recognize a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines.

Debra Granik

Tamara Jenkins

Karyn Kusama


PRODUCERS AWARD – The 22nd annual Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.

Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams

Gabrielle Nadig

Shrihari Sathe


SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 25th annual Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.

Alex Moratto – Director of Sócrates

Ioana Uricaru – Director of Lemonade

Jeremiah Zagar – Director of We the Animals


TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 24th annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.

Alexandria Bombach – Director of On Her Shoulders

Bing Liu – Director of Minding the Gap

RaMell Ross – Director of Hale County This Morning, This Evening