The Farewell, Uncut Gems, The Lighthouse and Marriage Story among the big winners at the pre-Oscar independent Spirit Awards

As a film awards season nears its end, during which a lack of female directors has been one of the key talking points, Film Independent’s Sprit Awards have given three of their top prizes to films directed by women.

The Farewell, from Lulu Wang, was one of three films directed by women to take top awards at the Spirits.

Best First Feature went to Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart, Julia Reichart won the Best Documentary trophy for American Factory and the top award of the night, Best Feature, went to Lula Wang’s The Farewell.

One of its stars, Zhao Shuzhen, was named the Best Supporting Actress.

Overlooked at the Oscars, Adam Sandler took home the Best Male Lead trophy for Uncut Gems, which also won Best Director for the Safdie Brothers, Benny and Josh, as well as Best Editing.

There are two main criteria to qualify for most of the categories at the Independent Spirit Awards; a film must be an American production that was made for less than $22.5 million.

But as is so often the case, co-productions throw up some peculiar results, with the Best Female Lead going to Renée Zellweger for her portrayal of Judy Garland in Judy – a role which also won her the corresponding prize at the British Independent Film Awards, which is open only to British films.

Willem Dafoe was named the Best Supporting Actor for The Lighthouse, which also took the cinematography prize.

Unusually for this event, which takes place in a marquee on Santa Monica beach, the day before the Oscars, most of the winners failed to get a look-in at the Academy Awards, but one of the Oscar hopefuls, Marriage Story, picked up the Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for Noah Baumbach, as well as being honoured with the predetermined Robert Altman Award, that recognises the achievement of the entire cast and crew.

South Korea’s Parasite continued to dominate the International category that it’s expected to win at the Oscars too.

And here is the full list of winners of the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards:

BEST FEATURE – The Farewell


BEST FEMALE LEAD – Renee Zellweger, Judy

BEST MALE LEAD – Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems 

BEST DIRECTOR Benny and Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems

BEST DOCUMENTARY — American Factory, directors Julia Reichart, Steven Bognar

BEST SUPPORTING MALE: Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse 

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE – Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell

BEST SCREENPLAY– Marriage StoryNoah Baumbach

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY  – See You Yesterday, Fredrica Bailey, Stefon Bristol

BEST EDITING: Uncut Gems– Benny Safdie, Ronald Bronstein

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse



Noah Baumbach, Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler, Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Julie Hagerty, Scarlett Johansson, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson, Merritt Wever



SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD -Rashaad Ernesto Green, director of Premature

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD Nadia Shihab, director of Jabboland

THE BONNIE AWARD– Kelly Reichardt