It’s time for the Film Independent Spirit Awards! And the Nominees Are. . .

On Tuesday, November 21, 2017, Film Independent announced the nominations for the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards and revealed that director Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th, A Wrinkle in Time) will be this year’s Honorary Chair. Past Honorary Chairs include David Oyelowo, Jessica Chastain, Kerry Washington, Ang Lee and Martin Scorsese. The Spirit Awards are the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity in the industry. Film Independent President Josh Welsh presided over the press conference held at the Jeremy Hotel in West Hollywood, with actors Lily Collins and Tessa Thompson presenting the nominations. Nominees for Best Feature included Call Me by Your NameThe Florida Project, Get Out, Lady Bird and The Rider.  

Josh Welsh, President, Film Independent. Copyright 2017, elias entertainment.

“This year’s nominations reflect the range and vitality of artist-driven, independent film,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “Diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision are the hallmarks of the Film Independent Spirit Awards, and the films this year powerfully embody all those qualities.”

“We are so happy to have Ava DuVernay as our Spirit Awards Honorary Chair,” added Welsh, “Ava is a remarkable filmmaker – a writer, director and producer we have celebrated at the Spirit Awards and the LA Film Festival. More than that, she is a leader and a powerful voice for change, in the industry and beyond.”

Tessa Thompson and Lily Collins (l. to r.), Nov. 21, 2017, The Jeremy Hotel. Copyright 2017 elias entertainment.

Mudbound was selected to receive the Robert Altman Award, which is bestowed upon one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. The Altman Award was created in 2008 in honor of legendary director Robert Altman who was known for creating extraordinary ensemble casts.

Winners, who are selected by Film Independent Members, will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, March 3, 2018. The awards ceremony co-hosted by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney will be held on the beach in Santa Monica, just north of the Santa Monica Pier. The show will broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 2:00 pm PT/ 5:00 pm ET.

Winners of the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants and Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 6, 2018, at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood.

The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees selected nominees from 400 submissions this year and applied the following guidelines in determining the nominations: uniqueness of vision, original and provocative subject matter, economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost and individual compensation) and percentage of financing from independent sources. The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees are comprised of writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, actors, critics, casting directors, film festival programmers and other working film professionals.



BEST FEATURE – (Award given to the producer.)

 Call Me by Your Name         

The Florida Project  

Get Out          

Lady Bird      

The Rider   

BEST FIRST FEATURE – (Award given to the director and producer)


Ingrid Goes West     


Oh Lucy!

Patti Cake$   

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. (Award given to the writer, director and producer.)


A Ghost Story         

Life and nothing more       

Most Beautiful Island         

The Transfiguration


Sean Baker – The Florida Project    

Jonas Carpignano – A Ciambra      

Luca Guadagnino – Call Me by Your Name          

Jordan Peele – Get Out          

Benny SafdieJosh Safdie – Good Time     

Chloé Zhao – The Rider       


Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird        

 Azazel Jacobs – The Lovers     

 Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri   

 Jordan Peele – Get Out          

 Mike White – Beatriz at Dinner


Kris Avedisian, Story By: Kyle Espeleta, Jesse Wakeman – Donald Cried  

Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani – The Big Sick  

Ingrid Jungermann – Women Who Kill

Kogonada – Columbus       

David Branson Smith, Matt Spicer – Ingrid Goes West


Thimios Bakatakis – The Killing of a Sacred Deer 

 Elisha Christian – Columbus       

 Hélène Louvart – Beach Rats    

 Sayombhu Mukdeeprom – Call Me by Your Name          

 Joshua James Richards – The Rider


Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie – Good Time

Walter Fasano – Call Me by Your Name          

 Alex O’Flinn – The Rider

 Gregory Plotkin – Get Out          

Tatiana S. Riegel – I, Tonya          



Salma Hayek – Beatriz at Dinner        

Frances McDormand Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie – I, Tonya

Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird        

Shinobu Terajima – Oh Lucy!        

Regina Williams – Life and nothing more



Timothée Chalamet – Call Me by Your Name

Harris Dickinson – Beach Rats    

James Franco – The Disaster Artist

Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out          

Robert Pattinson – Good Time     



Holly Hunter – The Big Sick

Allison Janney – I, Tonya          

Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird                    

Lois Smith – Marjorie Prime

Taliah Lennice Webster – Good Time



Nnamdi Asomugha – Crown Heights                       

Armie Hammer – Call Me by Your Name          

Barry Keoghan – The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri   

Benny Safdie – Good Time


ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast


Director: Dee Rees

Casting Directors: Billy Hopkins, Ashley Ingram

Ensemble Cast: Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Rob Morgan, Carey Mulligan


BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

The Departure          

Faces Places

Last Men in Aleppo 



BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)

BPM (Beats Per Minute) – France, Director: Robin Campillo

A Fantastic Woman – Chile, Director: Sebastián Lelio

I Am Not a Witch – Zambia, Director: Rungano Nyoni

Lady Macbeth – U.K., Director: William Oldroyd

Loveless – Russia, Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev


BONNIE AWARD – Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo joined American Airlines in 1973 at age 24, becoming the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. In her honor, the inaugural Bonnie Award will recognize a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines.

 So Yong Kim

Lynn Shelton

Chloé Zhao


JEEP TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 23rd annual Truer Than Fiction Award, funded by the Jeep brand, 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 the Jeep brand.

Shevaun Mizrahi – Director of Distant Constellation        

Jonathan Olshefski – Director of Quest       

Jeff Unay – Director of The Cage Fighter


KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 24th annual Someone to Watch Award, funded 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.

Amman Abbasi – Director of Dayveon

Justin Chon – Director of Gook

Kevin Phillips – Director of Super Dark Times


PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 21st annual Producers Award, funded 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.

Giulia Caruso & Ki Jin Kim

Ben LeClair

Summer Shelton


In addition, Visit Seattle will fund the Seattle Story Award, which is still open for nominations. The winning filmmaker will exhibit innovation, diversity and uniqueness of vision while having a history of transforming perspectives through rich stories. The recipient will receive a $25,000 cash grant to create a short film inspired by Seattle’s independent spirit. This film will premiere during the Spirit Awards broadcast.