2021 Independent Spirit Awards: The Complete Winners List

Spirit Awards

'Ma Rainey,' 'Minari' and 'Nomadland' are among the year's top nominees.

The Venn diagram between the Oscars and the Film Independent Spirit Awards is essentially a circle this year, as films like Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Minari and Nomadland dominate both awards shows.

Ahead of Sunday's Academy Awards, the 36th Independent Spirit Awards honored the best in indie filmmaking and, for the first time, television during Thursday's live primetime ceremony on IFC. (A break from tradition, as the Spirit Awards are usually a daytime fête the day before the Oscars.)

Saturday Night Live's Melissa Villaseñor served as host, with the likes of Cate Blanchett, Laura Dern, Kumail Nanjiani, Adam Sandler, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Lulu Wang and more on hand to present the awards.

See the full list of winners, in bold, below.

Best Feature

First Cow
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Nomadland  — Winner

Best First Feature

I Carry You With Me
The Forty-Year-Old Version
Miss Juneteenth
Nine Days

Sound of Metal  — Winner

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
Eliza Hittman, Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Kelly Reichardt, First Cow
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland — Winner

Best Screenplay

Bad Education
The Half of It
Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Promising Young Woman — Winner

Best First Screenplay

The Assistant
Miss Juneteenth
Palm Springs — Winner
Straight Up

John Cassavetes Award

Given to the best feature made for under $500,000

The Killing of Two Lovers
La Leyenda Negra

Lingua Franca
Residue — Winner
Saint Frances

Best Male Lead

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal — Winner
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 — Winner

Best Supporting Male

Colman Domingo, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Orion Lee, First Cow
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal — Winner
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
Youn Yuh-jung, Minari — Winner

Best Cinematography

The Assistant
Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Nomadland — Winner
She Dies Tomorrow

Best Editing

I Carry You With Me
The Invisible Man
Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Nomadland — Winner

Best International Film

Bacurau (Brazil)
The Disciple (India)
Night of the Kings (Ivory Coast)
Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time (Hungary)
Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina) — Winner

Best Documentary

Crip Camp 
— Winner
Dick Johnson Is Dead
The Mole Agent

Robert Altman Award

Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast.

One Night in Miami

Director: Regina King
Casting Directors: Kimberly R. Hardin
Ensemble Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr.

Producers Awards

(The Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films)

Lucas Joaquin
Gerry Kim — Winner
Kara Durrett

Someone to Watch Award

(The Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition)

David Midell (Director of The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain)
Ekwa Msangi (Director of Farewell Amor) — Winner
Annie Silverstein (Director of Bull)

Truer Than Fiction Award

(The 26th Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition)

Cecilia Aldarondo (Director of Landfall)
Elegance Bratton (Director of Pier Kids) — Winner
Elizabeth Lo (Director of Stray)

Best New Scripted Series

A Teacher
I May Destroy You — Winner
Little America
Small Axe

Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series

Atlanta's Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children
City So Real

Immigration Nation — Winner
Love Fraud
We're Here

Best Male Performance in a Scripted Series

Conphidance, Little America
Adam Ali, Little America
Nicco Annan, P-Valley
Amit Rahav, Unorthodox — Winner
Harold Torres, ZeroZeroZero

Best Female Performance in a Scripted Series

Elle Fanning, The Great
Shira Haas, Unorthodox — Winner
Abby McEnany, Work in Progress
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Never Have I Ever
Jordan Kristine Seamón, We Are Who We Are

Best Ensemble Cast in a Scripted Series

I May Destroy You

Cast: Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Wruche Opia, Stephen Wight