Yesterday, the nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards were announced. Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to do a detailed breakdown of the nominees, as there was a whole lot to sift through and we wanted to just get the list out for you all. After having an opportunity to digest and reflect, we now would like to offer our input. The Spirit awards are important because more often than not, these are the first real precursor to the Oscars, though a more limited scope, since it’s limited to production budgets under $20 million. Last year, Spotlight was the big winner and then went on to win best picture while other winners that went on to Academy success included Brie Larson for Room and  Son of Saul for best foreign film.

Below we will list the nominees then we provide our take on who we think will win, and who we think should win–if we were the judge. We also run thru some snubs and surprises from the announcement. Here is the comprehensive breakdown for the Independent Spirit Award Nominees.

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD (Award given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)


Directed By Barry Jenkins

Casting Director Yesi Ramirez

This is no surprise at all. This is a master ensemble piece that spans one character through three separate points in their life. Getting the casting right was key, and the Moonlight team nailed it.



OJ: Made In America

I am Not Your Negro



Under The Sun

Who Will Win: 13th

Who Should Win: OJ: Made In America


Aquarius (Brazil)

Chevalier (Greece)

My Golden Days (France)

Toni Erdmann (Germany/Romania)

Under the Shadow (Iran/United Kingdom)

We have admittedly seen none of these films, so we will call this a toss up.


Matthew Hannam, Swiss Army Man

Jennifer Lame, Manchester by the Sea

Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders, Moonlight

Jake Roberts, Hell or High Water

Sebastián Sepúlveda, Jackie

Who Will Win: Manchester by the Sea

Who Should Win: Moonlight


Ava Berkofsky, Free In Deed

Lol Crawley, The Childhood of a Leader

Zach Kuperstein, The Eyes of My Mother

James Laxton, Moonlight

Robbie Ryan, American Honey

Who Will Win: Moonlight

Who Should Win: The Childhood of a Leader


Edwina Findley, Free In Deed

Paulina Garcia, Little Men

Lily Gladstone, Certain Women

Riley Keough, American Honey

Molly Shannon, Other People

Who Will Win: Molly Shannon

Who Should Win: Riley Keough


Ralph Fiennes, A Bigger Splash

Ben Foster, Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea

Shia LaBeouf, American Honey

Craig Robinson, Morris From America

Who Will Win: Ben Foster

Who Should Win: Shia Labeouf


Annette Benning, 20th Century Women

Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Sasha Lane, American Honey

Ruth Negga, Loving

Natalie Portman, Jackie

Who Will Win: Sasha Lane

Who Should Win: Annette Benning


Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

David Harewood, Free In Deed

Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Jesse Plemons, Other People

Tim Roth, Chronic

Who Will Win: Casey Affleck

Who Should Win: Casey Affleck


Robert Eggers, The Witch

Chris Kelly, Other People

Adam Mansbach, Barry

Stella Meghie, Jean of the Joneses

Craig Shilowich, Christine

Who Will Win: Chris Kelly

Who Should Win: Robert Eggers


Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney (story by), Moonlight

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Mike Mills, 20th Century Women

Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias, Little Men

Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water

Who Will Win: Moonlight

Who Should Win: Moonlight


Andrea Arnold, American Honey

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Pablo Larraín, Jackie

Jeff Nichols, Loving

Kelly Reichardt, Certain Women

Who Will Win: Barry Jenkins

Who Should Win: Barry Jenkins

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the producer)

American Honey



Manchester by the Sea


Who Will Win: Manchester by the Sea

Who Should Win: Moonlight

Lot’s of news out of the announcement. Moonlight and American Honey are they big winners, in terms of nominations. Considering the latter made almost no money at the box office and really gathered no momentum, it’s surprising to see it garner so much praise from the Spirits. Maybe the most confusing nomination is Shia Labeouf for supporting actor. If you have seen American Honey. He is by no means a supporting actor, he is very much the star of that film. It’s also a little surprising to see Chronic get so much love. While it is absolutely a great film, it didn’t scream of awards worthiness.

As far as snubs go–Kate Beckinsale was snubbed, hands down. Her role as a narcissistic socialite in Whitman’s take of Jane Austen’s novella, was brilliant. In the documentary category, it’s a shock to see that Weiner did not pull a nomination, especially because it’s probably the second best doc of the year, behind only OJ: Made in America. Also, Adam Driver for Paterson. It would have made more sense to remove Viggo Mortensen and add in Driver, but ultimately inconsequential since neither have a shot at winning. Keep in mind that the cast of Moonlight bringing home the Robert Altman award, excludes them from being nominated in any of the acting categories, otherwise Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, and Andre Holland would have likely garnered noms for their performances.

That’s all for now from Bro Knows on the Independent Spirit Awards nominees. We will have another prediction right before the ceremony which will air on IFC on February 25th.