Independent Spirit Awards Winners 2024: ‘Past Lives’ and ‘Beef’ Are Top Dogs

Other winners include “American Fiction” and “The Holdovers” and “The Last of Us” for TV

Celine Song and the "Past Lives" team at the 2024 Film Independent Spirit Awards (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The gentle drama “Past Lives” was named the Best Independent Feature of 2023 at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Sunday afternoon, with writer-director Celine Song also winning the award for Best Director.

Actors Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”) and Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”) won in the gender-neutral acting categories, while Dominic Sessa won the Breakthrough Performance Award for “The Holdovers.” Screenplay awards went to Cord Jefferson for “American Fiction” in the Best Screenplay category, and to Samy Burch and Alex Mechanik for “May December” in the Best First Screenplay category.

“The Holdovers” won for cinematography and “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” won for editing.

“Anatomy of a Fall” was named the best international film, “Four Daughters” won the documentary award, “A Thousand and One” won in the Best First Feature category and “Fremont” won the John Cassavetes Award for the best feature made for less than $1 million.

This marks the third time in five years that the top Indie Spirit Award has gone to filmmakers of Asian descent using partially Asian casts, following Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell” in 2020 and Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once” last year.

“Past Lives” could become the third Spirit Awards winner in the last four years to also win the Oscar for Best Picture, but it’d take an upset of monumental proportions for that to happen. More likely, it will join films like “Get Out,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Black Swan,” “Precious,” “Juno,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Brokeback Mountain” and “Sideways,” all of which won the Spirit Award and were nominated for but did not win the Oscar.

As usual, though, Indie Spirit voters — a mixture of film professionals and fans who pay an annual fee to become Film Independent members — veered toward Oscar nominees whenever possible, with Oscar nominees winning in almost every category in which they were eligible.

Going into the afternoon, “Past Lives,” “American Fiction” and “May December” led all films in nominations, with five each. On the TV front, “Beef” dominated with wins for Ali Wong (Lead Performance) and Best New Scripted Series.

To be eligible for the Spirit Awards, a film must have a total budget of less than $30 million and must have been exhibited commercially or shown at one of seven film festivals. Documentaries and international films can only qualify in those specific categories.

The Indie Spirit Award winner only went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture once in the show’s first 26 years, when “Platoon” won both awards. Beginning in 2012, though, the Spirit winner took the top Oscar five times in the next six years, and seven times in the next 12.

Aidy Bryant hosted the show, which took place in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica, California. For much of the ceremony, a pro-Palestinian protestor blasted “Free Palestine!” and other slogans through a bullhorn that was occasionally audible on the broadcast.

Here is the complete list of nominees. Winners are indicated by *WINNER.

BEST FEATURE
“All of Us Strangers”
“American Fiction”
“May December”
“Passages”
“Past Lives” *WINNER
“We Grown Now” 

BEST FIRST FEATURE
“All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt”
“Chronicles of a Wandering Saint”
“Earth Mama”
“A Thousand and One” *WINNER
“Upon Entry”
 
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $1,000,000 
“The Artifice Girl”
“Cadejo Blanco”
“Fremont” *WINNER
“Rotting in the Sun”
“The Unknown Country”

BEST DIRECTOR
Andrew Haigh, “All of Us Strangers”
Todd Haynes, “May December”
William Oldroyd, “Eileen”
Ira Sachs, “Passages”
Celine Song, “Past Lives” *WINNER
 
BEST SCREENPLAY
David Hemingson, “The Holdovers”
Cord Jefferson, “American Fiction” *WINNER
Laura Moss, Brendan J. O’Brien, “Birth/Rebirth”
Emma Seligman, Rachel Sennott, “Bottoms”
Celine Song, “Past Lives” 
 
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Samy Burch; Story by Samy Burch, Alex Mechanik, “May December” *WINNER
Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman, Ben Platt, “Theater Camp”
Tomás Gómez Bustillo, “Chronicles of a Wandering Saint”
Laurel Parmet, “The Starling Girl”
Alejandro Rojas, Juan Sebastián Vásquez, “Upon Entry”
 
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
Jessica Chastain, “Memory”
Greta Lee, “Past Lives”
Trace Lysette, “Monica”
Natalie Portman, “May December”
Judy Reyes, “Birth/Rebirth”
Franz Rogowski, “Passages”
Andrew Scott, “All of Us Strangers”
Teyana Taylor, “A Thousand and One”
Jeffrey Wright, “American Fiction” *WINNER
Teo Yoo, “Past Lives”
 
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
Erika Alexander, “American Fiction”
Sterling K. Brown, “American Fiction”
Noah Galvin, “Theater Camp”
Anne Hathaway, “Eileen”
Glenn Howerton, “BlackBerry”
Marin Ireland, “Eileen”
Charles Melton, “May December”
Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers” *WINNER
Catalina Saavedra, “Rotting in the Sun”
Ben Whishaw, “Passages”
 
BEST BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
Marshawn Lynch, “Bottoms”
Atibon Nazaire, “Mountains”
Tia Nomore, “Earth Mama”
Dominic Sessa, “The Holdovers” *WINNER
Anaita Wali Zada, “Fremont”
 
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Katelin Arizmendi, “Monica”
Eigil Bryld, “The Holdovers” *WINNER
Jomo Fray, “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt”
Pablo Lozano, “Chronicles of a Wandering Saint”
Pat Scola, “We Grown Now”

BEST EDITING
Santiago Cendejas, Gabriel Díaz, Sofía Subercaseaux, “Rotting in the Sun”
Stephanie Filo, “We Grown Now”
Daniel Garber, “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” *WINNER
Jon Philpot, “Theater Camp”
Emanuele Tiziani, “Upon Entry”

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD 
(Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)
“Showing Up” *WINNER
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Casting Director: Gayle Keller
Ensemble Cast: André Benjamin, Hong Chau, Judd Hirsch, Heather Lawless, James Le Gros, John Magaro, Matt Malloy, Amanda Plummer, Maryann Plunkett, Denzel Rodriguez, Michelle Williams
 
BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Bye Bye Tiberias”
“Four Daughters” *WINNER
“Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project”
“Kokomo City”
“The Mother of All Lies” 

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM 
“Anatomy of a Fall” *WINNER
“Godland”
“Mami Wata”
“Tótem”
“The Zone of Interest”
 
PRODUCERS AWARD
Rachael Fung
Graham Swon
Monique Walton *WINNER
 
SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD  
Joanna Arnow, director of “The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed”
Laura Moss, director of “Birth/Rebirth”
Monica Sorelle, director of “Mountains” *WINNER
 
TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD  
Set Hernandez, director of “unseen” *WINNER
Jesse Short Bull, Laura Tomaselli, director of “Lakota Nation vs. United States”
Sierra Urich, director of “Joonam”
 
BEST NEW NON-SCRIPTED OR DOCUMENTARY SERIES  
“Deadlocked: How America Shaped the Supreme Court”
“Dear Mama” *WINNER
“Murder in Big Horn”
“Stolen Youth: Inside the Cult at Sarah Lawrence”
“Wrestlers” 

BEST NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
“Beef” *WINNER
“Dreaming Whilst Black”
“I’m a Virgo”
“Jury Duty”
“Slip” 

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
Emma Corrin, “A Murder at the End of the World”
Dominique Fishback, “Swarm”
Betty Gilpin, “Mrs. Davis”
Jharrel Jerome, “I’m a Virgo”
Zoe Lister-Jones, “Slip”
Bel Powley, “A Small Light”
Bella Ramsey, “The Last of Us”
Ramón Rodríguez, “Will Trent”
Ali Wong, “Beef” *WINNER
Steven Yeun, “Beef”
 
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
Murray Bartlett, “The Last of Us”
Billie Eilish, “Swarm”
Jack Farthing, “Rain Dogs”
Nick Offerman, “The Last of Us” *WINNER
Adina Porter, “The Changeling”
Lewis Pullman, “Lessons in Chemistry”
Benny Safdie, “The Curse”
Luke Tennie, “Shrinking”
Olivia Washington, “I’m a Virgo”
Jessica Williams, “Shrinking”
 
BEST BREAKTRHOUGH PERFORMANCE IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
Clark Backo, “The Changeling”
Aria Mia Loberti, “All the Light We Cannot See”
Adjani Salmon, “Dreaming Whilst Black”
Keivonn Montreal Woodard, “The Last of Us” *WINNER
Kara Young, “I’m a Virgo”
 
BEST ENSEMBLE CAST IN A NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
“Jury Duty” *WINNER
Ensemble Cast: Alan Barinholtz, Susan Berger, Cassandra Blair, David Brown, Kirk Fox, Ross Kimball, Pramode Kumar, Trisha LaFache, Mekki Leeper, James Marsden, Edy Modica, Kerry O’Neill, Rashida Olayiwola, Whitney Rice, Maria Russell, Ishmel Sahid, Ben Seaward, Ron Song, Evan Williams

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