Film Independent Spirit Awards


Ceremony aired live on IFC and AMC+ at 10:00 PM

LOS ANGELES (April 22, 2021) – Top honors were handed out tonight at the 36th Film Independent Spirit Awards ceremony to Nomadland, Sound of Metal, Promising Young Woman, Unorthodox and I May Destroy You. Crip Camp, Minari, Palm Springs, Quo Vadis, Aida?, Residue and Immigration Nation also received awards at the ceremony, which was broadcast live on IFC and AMC+. The virtual ceremony was hosted by SNL breakout star Melissa Villaseñor. In addition to being the celebration that honors artist driven films and shows that embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision, the Spirit Awards is the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs. This year’s major winners in the film categories were Nomadland which won Best Feature, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Editing; Sound of Metal which won Best First Feature, Best Male Lead and Best Supporting Male; Promising Young Woman which won Best Female Lead and Best Screenplay; Minari which won Best Supporting Female; Palm Springs which won Best First Screenplay; Residue which won the John Cassavetes Award; Crip Camp which won Best Documentary; and Quo Vadis, Aida? which won Best International Film.

For the first time in its history, this year’s Spirit Awards also honored exceptional content in TV. This year’s major winners in the TV categories were Unorthodox which won Best Female and Male Performance in a New Scripted Series, I May Destroy You which won Best New Scripted Series and Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series; and Immigration Nation which won Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series.

The 14th annual Robert Altman Award was given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. One Night in Miami… director Regina King received this award, along with casting director Kimberly R. Hardin as well as ensemble cast Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, and Leslie Odom Jr. Previously announced winners of the Spirit Awards grants are Ekwa Msangi who received the Someone to Watch Award, Gerry Kim who received the Producers Award and Elegance Bratton who received the Truer Than Fiction Award. All three grants were supported by Genesis Motor North America. “Genesis is pleased to support these independent voices at the Spirit Awards,” said Mark Del Rosso, President & CEO of Genesis Motor North America. “We want to encourage independent voices to use their stories and films to inspire others all over the world.” As Premier Sponsor, Genesis Motor North America is also supporting the ongoing Film Independent Directors Close-Up series.

The ceremony aired live tonight on IFC and AMC+, and virtually on Looped. Clips from the ceremony will be available on Film Independent’s YouTube channel after the show.

The following is a complete list of the winners:


Best Feature

Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)

Producers: Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Chloé Zhao

Best Director

Chloé Zhao, Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)

Best Screenplay

Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)

Best First Feature

Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)

Director: Darius Marder

Producers: Bill Benz, Kathy Benz, Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche

Best First Screenplay

Andy Siara, Palm Springs (NEON/Hulu)

John Cassavetes Award (for best feature made under $500,000):


Writer/Director: Merawi Gerima

Best Supporting Female

Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari (A24)

Best Supporting Male

Paul Raci, Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)

Best Female Lead

Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)

Focus Features)

Best Male Lead

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)

Robert Altman Award

One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios)

Director: Regina King

Casting Director: Kimberly R. Hardin

Ensemble Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr.

Best Cinematography

Joshua James Richards, Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)

Best Editing

Chloé Zhao, Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)

Best International Film

Quo Vadis, Aida? (Cinéart / Indie Sales)

Director: Jasmila Žbanić

Best Documentary

Crip Camp (Netflix)

Directors/Producers: Jim LeBrecht, Nicole Newnham

Producer: Sara Bolder


Best New Scripted Series

I May Destroy You (HBO)

Creator/Executive Producer: Michaela Coel

Executive Producers: Phil Clarke, Roberto Troni

Best New Non-Scripted Or Documentary Series

Immigration Nation (Netflix)

Executive Producers: Christina Clusiau, Shaul Schwarz, Dan Cogan, Jenny Raskin,

Brandon Hill, Christian Thompson

Co-Executive Producers: Andrey Alistratov, Jay Arthur Sterrenberg, Lauren Haber

Best Female Performance In A New Scripted Series

Shira Haas, Unorthodox (Netflix)

Best Male Performance In A New Scripted Series

Amit Rahav, Unorthodox (Netflix)

Best Ensemble Cast In A New Scripted Series

I May Destroy You (HBO)

Ensemble Cast: Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Weruche Opia, Stephen Wight

Presenters included: Maria Bakalova, Cate Blanchett, Don Cheadle, Laura Dern, Daveed Diggs, Dominique Fishback, Julia Garner, Kathryn Hahn, Annie Murphy, Kumail Nanjiani, Leslie Odom Jr, Adam Sandler, Lulu Wang, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Renee Zellweger.


Now in its 36th year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody independence and originality. The Spirit Awards recognizes the achievements of American independent filmmakers and promotes the finest independent films of the year to a wider audience. The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored byPremier Sponsors Genesis Motor North America and IFC. Bulleit Frontier Whiskey is the Official Spirit. FIJI Water is the Official Water. Looped is the Official Host of the Virtual Spirit Awards. Getty Images is the Official Photographer. We are also honored to be partnering with the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) SeeHer, the leading global movement for gender equality in media, advertising, marketing and entertainment and AMC Networks to further celebrate and act as a catalyst for accurate and meaningful representation in storytelling.


Film Independent is the nonprofit arts organization that champions creative independence in visual storytelling and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff and constituents are comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a Member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover. In addition to producing the Spirit Awards, Film Independent produces Film Independent Presents, a year-round screening series for its members that offers unique cinematic experiences for the worldwide creative community as well as film lovers in the general public. Through annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents yearround networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry. The winners of the Film Independent Spirit Awards are voted upon by Film Independent Members. Membership is open to the public. For more information or to become a Member, visit


IFC is the home of offbeat, unexpected comedies. Acclaimed series Documentary Now!, Sherman’s Showcase, Baroness von Sketch Show and Year of the Rabbit air alongside fan-favorite movies and comedic cult TV shows. IFC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc., and available across multiple platforms. IFC is Always On, Slightly Off.


AMC+ is the company’s new premium streaming bundle featuring an extensive lineup of popular and critically acclaimed original programming from AMC, BBC America, IFC, and SundanceTV and full access to targeted streaming services Shudder, Sundance Now and IFC Films Unlimited, which feature content such as A Discovery of Witches, Creepshow, Riviera and Boyhood. Currently available to Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV channels, Roku Channels, Comcast Xfinity, DirecTV, DISH, Sling TV and YouTube TV customers, AMC+ features a continually refreshed library of commercial-free content, including fan favorites Mad Men, Rectify, Orphan Black, Hell on Wheels, NOS4A2 and series from The Walking Dead Universe, among many others. The service also offers a growing slate of original and exclusive series including Gangs of London, The Salisbury Poisonings, Cold Courage, Spy City and forthcoming dramas Too Close and Kin.