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Alongside Spotlight, Mya Taylor, Krisha, The Look of Silence Nab 2016 Spirit Awards

Mya Taylor

Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight, about a team of Boston journalists investigating Catholic Church pedophilia scandals in the 1980s, swept the Film Independent Spirit Awards yesterday, scoring Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Editing awards, in addition to the Robert Altman Award for Best Ensemble. As if often the case at the Spirits, the Open Roads released film was by far the highest-grossing film in all of its winning categories, sometimes to a surprising degree. On the awards circuit this year, Spotlight has been that rare frontrunner without a galvanizing lead, or even supporting, performance. (Perhaps acknowledging that fact, the Spirits and the Gothams both awarded the film their ensemble acting prizes.)

Competing against formally audacious or stylistically provocative films like Anomalisa, Tangerine and Carol, Spotlight is the most mainstream of the Spirit nominees. Still, as always, newer names or more bracing work percolated up through the other categories. Joshua Oppenheimer’s masterful The Look of Silence, his companion film to The Act of Killing, won Best Documentary.

And 25 New Face Trey Edward Shults’s Krisha, a huge favorite here at Filmmaker, won the John Cassavetes Award, for Best Feature under $500,000.

And, after winning the Gotham’s Breakthrough Actor award, Mya Taylor won the Best Supporting Female Spirit Award — the first transgender performer to do so. In her speech, Taylor said that when she heard from director Sean Baker that he planned to shoot Tangerine on an iPhone, she thought, “This movie ain’t going to be shit.” Concluding, she said, “There is transgender talent, there is very beautiful transgender talent, and you got to get out there and put it in your next movie.”

A complete list of Film Independent Spirit Awards nominees and winners follows.

Best Feature:

Anomalisa
Beasts of No Nation
Carol
Spotlight
WINNER
Tangerine

Best Director

Sean Baker, Tangerine
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
Todd Haynes, Carol
Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, Anomalisa
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight WINNER
David Robert Mitchell, It Follows

Best Screenplay

Charlie Kaufman, Anomalisa
Donald Margulies, The End of the Tour
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight WINNER
S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk

Best First Feature

The Diary of a Teenage Girl WINNER
James White
Manos Sucias
Mediterranea
Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Best First Screenplay

Jesse Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Jonas Carpignano, Mediterranea
Emma Donoghue, Room WINNER
Marielle Heller, The Diary of a Teenage Girl
John Magary, Russell Harbaugh & Myna Joseph, The Mend

Best Male Lead

Christopher Abbott, James White
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation WINNER
Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind
Jason Segel, The End of the Tour
Koudous Seihon, Mediterranea

Best Female Lead

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room WINNER
Rooney Mara, Carol
Bel Powley, The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Tangerine

Best Supporting Male

Kevin Corrigan, Results
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation WINNER
Richard Jenkins, Bone Tomahawk
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes

Best Supporting Female

Robin Bartlett, H.
Marin Ireland, Glass Chin
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anomalisa
Cynthia Nixon, James White
Mya Taylor, Tangerine WINNER

Best Documentary

(T)error
Best of Enemies
Heart of a Dog

The Look of Silence WINNER
Meru
The Russian Woodpecker

Best International Film

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
Embrace of the Serpent
Girlhood
Mustang

Son of Saul WINNER

Best Cinematography

Beasts of No Nation
Carol
WINNER
It Follows
Meadlowland
Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Best Editing

Heaven Knows What
It Follows
Manos Sucias
Room
Spotlight
WINNER

John Cassavetes Award (Best Feature Under $500,000)

Advantageous
Christmas, Again
Heaven Knows What
Krisha
WINNER
Out of My Hand

Robert Altman Award (Best Ensemble)

Spotlight WINNER

Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award
The 22nd annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.
Chloe Zhao, Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Felix Thompson, King Jack WINNER
Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, God Bless the Child

Piaget Producers Award
The 19th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.
Darren Dean
Mel Eslyn WINNER
Rebecca Green & Laura D. Smith

Truer Than Fiction
The 21st annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters.
Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti, A Woman Like Me
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Incorruptible (WINNER)
Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi, Among the Believers

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