HOLLYWOOD—I will be the first to admit that 2020 was not the greatest year for cinema. The notion of adjusting to watching cinema at home compared to on the big screen was a major adjustment for many film buffs including myself. However, what I did discover was myself watching more independent films. Those with stirring plots and characters that you wish received more notoriety than the big blockbusters we see time and time again.

I guess I can officially say awards season is underway as the nominees for the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards were revealed on Tuesday, January 26 by actresses Laverne Cox, Olivia Wilde and director Barry Jenkins. Landing on top was the drama, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” with seven nominations including Best Feature. Followed closely behind was the film “Minari” with six nominations and the films “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Nomadland” with five nominations apiece. A list of this year’s contenders can be viewed below:

Best Feature

-“First Cow”

-“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”


-“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”


Best First Feature

-“I Carry You With Me”

-“The Forty-Year-Old Version”

-“Miss Juneteenth”

-“Nine Days”

-“Sound of Metal”

Best Director

-Lee Isaac Chung “Minari”

-Emerald Fennell “Promising Young Woman”

-Eliza Hittman “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

-Kelly Reichardt “First Cow”

-Chloe Zhao “Nomadland”

Best Male Lead

-Riz Ahmed “Sound of Metal”

-Chadwick Boseman “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

-Adarsh Gourav “The White Tiger”

-Rob Morgan “Bull”

-Steven Yeun “Minari”

Best Female Lead

-Nicole Beharie “Miss Juneteenth”

-Viola Davis “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

-Sidney Flanigan “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

-Julia Garner “The Assistant”

-Frances McDormand “Nomadland”

-Carey Mulligan “Promising Young Woman”

Carey Mulligan stars in “Promising Young Woman.”

Best Supporting Male

-Colman Domingo “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

-Orion Lee “First Cow”

-Paul Raci “Sound of Metal”

-Glynn Turman “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

-Benedict Wong “Nine Days”

Best Supporting Female

-Alexis Chikaeze “Miss Juneteenth”

-Yeri Han “Minari”

-Valerie Mahaffey “French Exit”

-Talia Ryder “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

-Yu-jung Youn “Minari”

Best Screenplay

-Lee Isaac Chung “Minari”

-Emerald Fennell “Promising Young Woman”

-Eliza Hittman “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

-Mike Makowsky “Bad Education”

-Alice Wu “The Half of It”

Best First Screenplay

-Kitty Green “The Assistant”

-Noah Hutton “Lapsis”

-Channing Godfrey Peoples “Juneteenth”

-Andy Siara “Palm Springs”

-James Sweeney “Straight Up”

John Cassavetes Award

-“The Killing of Two Lovers”

-“La Leyenda Negra”

“Lingua Franca”


Best Documentary


-“Crip Camp”

-“Dick Johnson is Dead”

“The Mole Agent”


Robert Altman Award

-“One Night in Miami”

The 36th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards are slated to be handed out on April 22, three days before the Academy Awards are presented. The ceremony will air live at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST A host for the event has not yet been announced.