‘The Lighthouse,’ ‘Uncut Gems’ Lead Nominees at Independent Spirit Awards

The Safdie brothers’ “Uncut Gems” is the only film to be nominated in both the Best Feature and Best Director categories; acting nominees include Adam Sandler, Jennifer Lopez and Renee Zellweger

Marriage Story Scarlett Johansson Adam Driver

Two dark and unruly films released by A24, Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse” and the Safdie brothers’ “Uncut Gems,” led all films in nominations for the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards, Film Independent announced on Thursday.

In the Best Feature category, “Uncut Gems” was joined by Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell,” Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” Chinonye Chukwu’s “Clemency” and Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story.”

“Uncut Gems” was the only film nominated in both the Best Feature and Best Director categories, though “Marriage Story” was nominated in the former category and was also voted the special John Cassavetes Award, which goes to a film’s director, cast and casting director.

“Honey Boy” and “Give Me Liberty” received four nominations each, while “Hustlers,” “Clemency” and “Luce” received three.

As usual, the Spirit Awards’ system of using different nominating committees in each category resulted in inconsistencies across the ballot — with, for instance, “A Hidden Life” nominated for Best Feature, but not in any other category.

Acting nominees included Adam Sandler for “Uncut Gems,” Jennifer Lopez for “Hustlers,” Noah Jupe and Shia LaBeouf for “Honey Boy,” Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe for “The Lighthouse,” Elisabeth Moss for “Her Smell” and Renee Zellweger for “Judy.”

The Best International Film category included one English-language film, British director Joanna Hogg’s “The Souvenir,” along with Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and four Oscar entries: Karim Ainouz’s “Invisible Life,” Ladj Ly’s “Les Miserables,” Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio’s “Retablo” and the odds-on favorite, Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite.”

Nominated documentaries include “American Factory,” “Apollo 11” and “For Sama.”

To qualify for the Spirit Awards, a film must be made independently in the U.S. on a budget of less than $22.5 million — except in the Best International Film category, which is for films made outside the U.S.

“Joker” and “Atlanta” star Zazie Beetz and “Russian Doll” star Natasha Lyonne announced the full list of nominees live Thursday.

The 2020 Independent Spirit Awards take place Sat. Feb. 8 from its usual location at the base of the Santa Monica Pier and the awards will air live on IFC. See the full list of nominees below.

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)
A Hidden Life
Producers: Elisabeth Bentley, Dario Bergesio, Grant Hill, Josh Jeter

Producers: Timur Bekbosunov, Julian Cautherley, Bronwyn Cornelius, Peter Wong

The Farewell
Producers: Anita Gou, Daniele Melia, Andrew Miano, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Lulu Wang, Chris Weitz, Jane Zheng

Marriage Story
Producers: Noah Baumbach, David Heyman

Uncut Gems
Producers: Eli Bush, Sebastian Bear-McClard, Scott Rudin

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


Director: Olivia Wilde
Producers: Chelsea Barnard, David Distenfeld, Jessica Elbaum, Megan Ellison,
Katie Silberman

The Climb
Director/Producer: Michael Angelo Covino
Producers: Noah Lang, Kyle Marvin

Director: Kent Jones
Producers: Luca Borghese, Ben Howe, Caroline Kaplan, Oren Moverman

The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Director/Producer: Joe Talbot
Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Khaliah Neal, Christina Oh

The Mustang
Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Producer: Ilan Goldman

See You Yesterday
Director: Stefon Bristol
Producer: Spike Lee

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARDGiven to the best feature made for under $500,000 (Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)

Burning Cane
Writer/Director/Producer: Phillip Youmans
Producers: Ojo Akinlana, Jakob Johnson, Karen Kaia Livers, Mose Mayer, Wendell Pierce, Isaac Webb, Cassandra Youmans

Writer/Director: Tom Quinn
Producers: Joshua Blum, Alexandra Byer, Craig Shilowich, Matthew Thurm

Give Me Liberty
Writer/Director/Producer: Kirill Mikhanovsky
Writer/Producer: Alice Austen
Producers: Val Abel, Wally Hall, Michael Manasseri, George Rush, Sergey Shtern

Writer/Director/Producer: Rashaad Ernesto Green
Writer: Zora Howard
Producer: Darren Dean, Joy Ganes

Wild Nights With Emily
Writer/Director/Producer: Madeleine Olnek
Producers: Anna Margarita Albelo, Casper Andreas, Max Rifkind-Barron


Alma Har’el, Honey Boy
Lorene Scafaria, Hustlers
Julius Onah, Luce
Robert Eggers, The Lighthouse
Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems


Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Jason Begue, Shawn Snyder, To Dust
Ronald Bronstein & Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems
Chinonye Chukwu, Clemency
Tarell Alvin McCraney, High Flying Bird


Fredrica Bailey & Stefon Bristol, See You Yesterday
Hannah Bos & Paul Thureen, Driveways
Bridget Savage Cole & Danielle Krudy, Blow the Man Down
Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe, Greener Grass
James Montague & Craig W. Sanger, The Vast of Night


Todd Banhazl, Hustlers
Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse
Natasha Braier, Honey Boy
Chananun Chotrungroj, The Third Wife
Pawel Pogorzelski, Midsommar


Julie Béziau, The Third Wife
Ronald Bronstein & Benny Safdie, Uncut Gems
Tyler L. Cook, Sword of Trust
Louise Ford, The Lighthouse
Kirill Mikhanovsky, Give Me Liberty


Karen Allen, Colewell
Hong Chau, Driveways
Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell
Mary Kay Place, Diane
Alfre Woodard, Clemency
Renée Zellweger, Judy 


Chris Galust, Give Me Liberty
Kelvin Harrison Jr., Luce
Robert Pattinson, The Lighthouse
Matthias Schoenaerts, The Mustang
Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems


Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
Taylor Russell, Waves
Lauren “LoLo” Spencer, Give Me Liberty
Octavia Spencer, Luce
Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell


Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse
Noah Jupe, Honey Boy
Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy
Jonathan Majors, The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Wendell Pierce, Burning Cane 

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

Marriage Story
Director: Noah Baumbach
Casting Directors: Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler
Ensemble Cast: Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Julie Hagerty, Scarlett Johansson, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson, Merritt Wever

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

American Factory
Director/Producer: Steven Bognar & Julia Reichert
Producers: Julie Parker Benello, Jeff Reichert

Apollo 11
Director/Producer: Todd Douglas Miller
Producers: Evan Krauss, Thomas Baxley Petersen

For Sama
Director: Edward Watts
Director/Producer: Waad al-Kateab 

Director: Tamara Kotevska
Director/Producer: Ljubo Stefanov
Producer: Atanas Georgiev

Island of the Hungry Ghosts
Director/Producer: Gabrielle Brady
Producers: Gizem Acarla, Samm Haillay, Alex Kelly, Alexander Wadouh

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)

Invisible Life, Brazil
Director: Karim Aïnouz 

Les Misérables, France
Director: Ladj Ly

Parasite, South Korea
Director: Bong Joon-Ho

Portrait of a Lady on Fire, France
Director: Céline Sciamma

Retablo, Peru
Director: Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio L.

The Souvenir , United Kingdom
Director: Joanna Hogg

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 third Bonnie Award will recognize a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines.

Marielle Heller
Kelly Reichardt
Lulu Wang

PRODUCERS AWARD – The 23rd annual Producers Award 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.

Mollye Asher
Krista Parris
Ryan Zacarias

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 26th annual Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.

Rashaad Ernesto Green, Director of Premature
Ash Mayfair, Director of The Third Wife
Joe Talbot, Director of The Last Black Man in San Francisco

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 25th 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.

Khalik Allah, Director of Black Mother
Davy Rothbart, Director of 17 Blocks
Nadia Shihab , Director of Jaddoland
Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside, Director of América