Earlier tonight Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards, the LA Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA, handed out awards to the best that cinema had to offer in 2015.
Top honors of the night went to Spotlight, Beasts of No Nation and Room – this marked the 31st Film Independent Spirit Awards. Carol, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Krisha, The Look of Silence, Son of Saul and Tangerine also received awards at the ceremony, which was held in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica.
Spotlight received the Robert Altman Award. In addition to being the celebration that honors artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision, the Spirit Awards is the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs. The ceremony aired live today on IFC.
Artists who have received industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Ava DuVernay, Justin Simien, Ryan Coogler, Joel and Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams, Lena Dunham and many more.
This year’s major category winners were Spotlight, which won Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Editing; Beasts of No Nation, which won Best Male Lead and Best Supporting Male; Room, which won Best Female Lead and Best First Screenplay; Carol, which won Best Cinematography; The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which won Best First Feature; Krisha, which won the John Cassavetes Award; The Look of Silence, which won Best Documentary; Son of Saul, which won Best International Film and Tangerine, which won Best Supporting Female.
The 9th annual Robert Altman Award was given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight received this award, along with casting directors Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee and ensemble cast members Michael Cyril Creighton, Billy Crudup, Paul Guilfoyle, Neal Huff, Brian D’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Jamey Sheridan, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci.
The 2016 Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation Fellowship, which includes a cash grant of $10,000, was awarded to Zimbabwean filmmaker Sue-Ellen Chitunya. This annual award is given to a filmmaker currently participating in a Film Independent Artist Development program with the mission of diversity in mind. Chitunya, a participant in Project Involve, is currently in active development as a producer on her first narrative feature film, A Hard Place.
The following is a complete list of the winners:
Best Feature: Spotlight (Open Road Films)
Producers: Blye Pagon Faust, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Michael Sugar
Best Director: Tom McCarthy, Spotlight (Open Road Films)
Best Screenplay: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer, Spotlight (Open Road Films)
Best First Feature: The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sony Pictures Classics)
Director: Marielle Heller
Producers: Miranda Bailey, Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit
Best First Screenplay: Emma Donoghue, Room (A24)
John Cassavetes Award (For best feature made under $500,000): Krisha (A24)
Writer/Director/Producer: Trey Edward Shults
Producers: Justin R. Chan, Chase Joliet, Wilson Smith
Best Supporting Female: Mya Taylor,Tangerine (Magnolia Pictures)
Best Supporting Male: Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation (Bleecker Street/Netflix)
Best Female Lead: Brie Larson, Room (A24)
Best Male Lead: Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation (Bleecker Street/Netflix)
Robert Altman Award: Spotlight (Open Road Films)
Director: Tom McCarthy
Casting Directors: Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee
Ensemble Cast: Billy Crudup, Michael Cyril Creighton, Paul Guilfoyle, Neal Huff, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Jamey Sheridan, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci
Best Cinematography: Ed Lachman, Carol (The Weinstein Company)
Best Editing: Tom McArdle, Spotlight (Open Road Films)
Best International Film: Son of Saul (Hungary – Sony Pictures Classics)
Director: László Nemes
Best Documentary: The Look of Silence (Drafthouse Films/Participant Media)
Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
Producer: Signe Byrge Sørensen