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Distributor A24 and Zola led nominations as the Film Independent Spirit Awards revealed their 37th annual nods in a pre-taped presentation hosted by Beanie Feldstein, Regina Hall and Naomi Watts. The Spirit Awards are skedded for Sunday, March 6, 2022 — live and in-person this year back on the beach in Santa Monica, and broadcast on IFC.
A24’s Zola, by Janicza Bravo and based on a Twitter chain from a riotous road trip, was recognized for Best Feature Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Female Lead and Supporting Male. Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon with Joaquin Phoenix took four nods including feature, director and screenplay. The distributor’s dominating 13 nods were rounded out by two for Sean Baker’s Red Rocket — for Best Male Lead, Simon Rex, and Best Supporting Female, Suzanna Son. The Humans, directed by Stephen Karam based on his one-act play, was nominated in cinematography.
Netflix and Neon took nine nods each, with the giant streamer’s tally buoyed by much decorated The Lost Daughter from Maggie Gyllenhaal based on the Elena Ferranti novel, and a pair of nods for Rebecca Hall’s Passing. Neon spread the wealth led by a wave of nominations for A Chiara (Best Feature, Editing, Cinematography) and including Pig, Pleasure, Flee for Best Documentary and Petite Maman for International Film.
IFC Films had eight nods led by multiple Tribeca Festival-award winner The Novice from first-time director Lauren Hadaway which opens this weekend in theaters and on demand.
It’s become a busy but odd awards season leading up to Oscar nominations that don’t roll around until Feb. 8. Box office coin is flowing to big budget wide releases, with older audiences that are the key demo for most of these films still reluctant to return to theaters and little data available about how they’re being consumed on streaming or VOD.
The Film Independent Spirit awards cap film budgets at $22.5 million or below to be eligible, which is why some other high-profile indie names aren’t in contention. A selection committee of more than 50 people culled 650 candidates to settle on the nods below, said president of Film Independent, Josh Welsh. Unlike other awards, all members of the nonprofit — “filmmakers and film lovers” alike — in good standing as of Dec. 21 can vote for the winners.
Welsh said 44% of the writers and directors nominated identify as women and 38% as BIPOC. Of the nominating committee, 63% identified as women, 5% as non-binary and 56% as BIPOC.
In other multiple nominations, Magnolia Pictures nabbed five nods, two apiece for Swan Song and Queen of Glory, one for Cryptozoo. Sony Pictures Classics had four nods, two for Jockey and two contenders for best international film, Parallel Mothers and Compartment No. 6.
Wild Indian swept Vertical Entertainment to four nods (Best First Feature, First Screenplay, Male Lead, Supporting Male). Kino Lorber took three nominations for Test Pattern, one for Luzzu.
Bleecker Street garnered two nods each for Together, Together and Mass.
And The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain from Gravitas Ventures saw a nod to Frankie Faison for Best Male Lead (fresh off his win for Outstanding Lead Performance at the Gotham Independent Film Awards Nov, 29) and another for Best Editing.