Nomadland, Sound of Metal and Promising Young Woman dominate Spirit Awards

The awards season front-runner Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland has taken four prizes – including Best Feature and Best Director – at the Independent Spirit Awards, the traditional curtain raiser to the Oscars. The film also won the cinematography and editing awards.

Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman

But its star, Frances McDormand missed out in the Best Female Lead category to Carey Mulligan, for Promising Young Woman. Accepting her award, Mulligan dedicated the honour to the actress Helen McCrory, who died from cancer earlier this month, calling her a “true independent spirit.”

At an awards ceremony usually dominated by Americans, Mulligan’s fellow British actress Emerald Fennell, who also wrote and directed Promising Young Woman, won the Best Screenplay Prize.

Another British actor, Riz Ahmed, was named Best Male Lead for his role as a drummer who loses his hearing in Sound of Metal. His co-star Paul Raci won the Best Supporting Male award, signing his acceptance speech. The film’s director and producers won the prize for the Best First Feature.

The Best Supporting Actress prize went to Minari’s Yuh-Jung Youn, a favourite for the upcoming Oscars, having picked up prizes at most of this year’s awards ceremonies.

The Film Independent organisation, which honours films with budgets of less than $22.5m, has recently started recognising TV too, with more British success this year; Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You was named the Best New Scripted Series and also won the ensemble cast prize.

The individual acting prizes went to Shira Haas and Amit Rahav for the German mini-series Unorthodox.

And here is the full list of Independent Spirit Awards winners:


Best feature – Nomadland
Best first feature – Sound of Metal
Best male lead – Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Best female lead – Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman
Best supporting male – Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
Best supporting female – Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
Best director – Chloe Zhao, Nomadland
Best screenplay – Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
Best first screenplay – Andy Siara, Palm Springs
John Cassavetes Award (best feature made for under $500,000) – La Leyanda Negra
Best cinematography – Joshua James Richards, Nomadland
Best editing – Chloe Zhao, Nomadland
Best international film – Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Best documentary – Crip Camp
Robert Altman Award (given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast) – One Night in Miami
Producers Award – Gerry Kim
Someone to Watch Award – Ekwa Msangi, director of Farewell Amor
Truer Than Fiction Award (given to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition) – Elegance Bratton, director of Pier Kids


Best new non-scripted or documentary series – Immigration Nation
Best new scripted series – I May Destroy You
Best female performance in a new scripted series – Shira Haas, Unorthodox
Best male performance in a new scripted series – Amit Rahav, Unorthodox
Best ensemble cast in a new scripted series – I May Destroy You