‘Jackie,’ ‘Moonlight,’ ‘Manchester by the Sea’ Nominated for Best Film by Spirit Awards

“American Honey” and “Chronic” also receive nominations in the top category

“Moonlight,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Jackie,” “American Honey” and “Chronic” were nominated as the best independent features of 2016 by the Film Independent Spirit Awards, which will be presented next February 25, the day before the Oscars.

Spirit Awards acting nominees included Annette Bening for “20th Century Women,” Sasha Lane for “American Honey,” Ruth Negga for “Loving,” Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea” and Viggo Mortensen for “Captain Fantastic.”

“La La Land,” the presumed Oscar frontrunner, was not eligible because its budget exceeded $20 million.

“Moonlight” and “American Honey” landed the most nominations, with six each. While Barry Jenkins’ touching “Moonlight” was expected to be one of the leading nominees, the showing by Andrea Arnold’s raucous and divisive “American Honey” came as something of a surprise.

“Manchester by the Sea” received five Spirit Awards nominations, while “Free in Deed,” “Jackie” and “Other People” received four each.

Best director nominees were Arnold for “American Honey,” Jenkins for “Moonlight,” Jeff Nichols for “Loving,” Pablo Larrain for “Jackie” and Kelly Reichardt for “Certain Women.”

Among the surprises were a supporting-actress category that included Edwina Findley for “Free In Deed,” Paulina Garcia for “Little Men,” Lily Gladstone for “Certain Women” and Riley Keough for “American Honey,” but not Michelle Williams for “Manchester by the Sea” or Greta Gerwig for “20th Century Women.”

And while Ben Foster received a supporting-male nomination for his role in “Hell or High Water,” his costar Jeff Bridges did not.

Although the Spirit Awards are meant for American-made independent films, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle,” a French-language film that is France’s entry in the Oscar foreign-language race, landed a surprise nomination for lead actress Isabelle Huppert.

In lieu of individual acting nominations, “Moonlight” was also given the Robert Altman Award, which goes to a film’s entire cast, along with its director and casting director.

Films that didn’t receive any nominations included Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson” and Richard Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some!!,” both of which did well in nominations at the New York-based Gotham Independent Film Awards.

The nominations were announced by Edgar Ramirez and Jenny Slate at the W Hotel in Hollywood.

Spirit Awards nominations are made by a series of nominating committees, which allows committee members to spread the wealth and lends itself to more surprises than most awards shows.

In recent years, the Best Feature category at the Spirit Awards has produced anywhere from four Oscar Best Picture nominees in 2010 and 2014 to a single nominee in 2009 and 2015. While the Spirit Awards and Academy Awards winners have only matched five times in 31 years, four of those times have come in the last five years, including the last three years in a row with “12 Years a Slave,” “Birdman” and “Spotlight.”

The 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards will take place on Saturday, February 25, 2017 in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica, California.

The nominees:

BEST FEATURE
“American Honey”
“Chronic”
“Jackie”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”

BEST DIRECTOR
Andrea Arnold, “American Honey”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Pablo Larraín, “Jackie”
Jeff Nichols, “Loving”
Kelly Reichardt, “Certain Women”

BEST FIRST FEATURE
“The Childhood of a Leader”
“The Fits”
“Other People”
“Swiss Army Man”
“The Witch”

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Annette Bening, “20th Century Women”
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Sasha Lane, “American Honey”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

BEST MALE LEAD
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
David Harewood, “Free In Deed”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Jesse Plemons, “Other People”
Tim Roth, “Chronic”

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Edwina Findley, “Free In Deed”
Paulina Garcia, “Little Men”
Lily Gladstone, “Certain Women”
Riley Keough, “American Honey”
Molly Shannon, “Other People”

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Ralph Fiennes,  “A Bigger Splash”
Ben Foster, “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Shia LaBeouf, “American Honey”
Craig Robinson, “Morris from America”

BEST SCREENPLAY
Moonlight”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“20th Century Women”
“Little Men”
“Hell or High Water”

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
The Witch”
“Other People”
“Barry”
“Jean of the Joneses”
“Christine”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Free In Deed”
“The Childhood of a Leader”
“The Eyes of My Mother”
“Moonlight”
“American Honey”

BEST EDITING
Swiss Army Man”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”
“Hell or High Water”
“Jackie”

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

“Moonlight”
Director: Barry Jenkins
Casting Director: Yesi Ramirez
Ensemble Cast: Mahershala Ali, Patrick Decile, Naomie Harris, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders

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

“Free In Deed”
“Hunter Gatherer”
“Lovesong”
“Nakom”
“Spa Night”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
13th”
“Cameraperson”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“O.J.: Made in America”
“Sonita”
“Under the Sun”

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
“Aquarius” (Brazil)
“Chevalier” (Greece)
“My Golden Days” (France)
“Toni Erdmann” (Germany and Romania)
“Under the Shadow” (Iran and U.K.)

20th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 20th 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.
Lisa Kjerulff
Jordana Mollick
Melody C. Roscher & Craig Shilowich

23rd ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 23rd 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.

Andrew Ahn, director of “Spa Night”
Claire Carré, director of “Embers”
Anna Rose Holmer, director of “The Fits”
Ingrid Jungermann, director of “Women Who Kill”

22nd TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 22nd annual Truer Than Fiction Award 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.

Kristi Jacobson, director of “Solitary”
Sara Jordenö, director of “Kiki”
Nanfu Wang, director of “Hooligan Sparrow”