‘Carol’ and ‘Beasts of No Nation’ Lead Spirit Awards Nominations with 6 Each

     November 24, 2015


After months of pontificating about this year’s awards race in Oscar Beat, we have our first actual honest-to-goodness list of nominations to pore over—and they’re pretty solid! The Independent Spirit Awards announced the nominees for their 2016 ceremony today, and Todd Haynes’ critical darling Carol and Cary Fukunaga‘s brutal child soldier drama Beasts of No Nation came away with the most nominations—6 in all—including Best Film and Director. Following closely behind is Tom McCarthy’s spectacular procedural SpotlightCharlie Kaufman’s stop-motion Anomalisa, and the trans-centric comedy Tangerine.

The Independent Spirit Awards have been bogged down in the past by semi-indies like Birdman or Silver Linings Playbook, which are technically independent films but which quickly earned the backing of a serious studio. So it’s heartening to see something like Beasts of No Nation, which was producing independently and turned down by every major studio in town, come away with a slew of nods.

In terms of pleasant surprises, the organization opted to recognize Jennifer Jason Leigh for Best Supporting Actress for her wonderful voice performance in Anomalisa, and Fukunaga nabbed a Best Cinematography nomination for his work on Beasts. And in terms of just plain surprises, Room it its first stumbling block of the season as it failed to land Best Picture or Best Director noms.


Image via Netflix

Check out the full list of nominees below and let us know what you’re most excited about in the comments.

Best Feature

  • Anomalisa
  • Beasts of No Nation
  • Carol
  • Spotlight
  • Tangerine

Best Director

  • Sean Baker – Tangerine
  • Cary Joji Fukunaga – Beasts of No Nation
  • Todd Haynes – Carol
  • Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson – Anomalisa
  • Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
  • David Robert Mitchell – It Follows

Best Screenplay

  • Charlie Kaufman – Anomalisa
  • Donald Margulies – The End of the Tour
  • Phyllis Nagy – Carol
  • Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer – Spotlight
  • S. Craig Zahler – Bone Tomahawk

Image via Sony Pictures Classics

Best First Feature

  • The Diary of a Teenage Girl
  • James White
  • Manos Sucias
  • Mediterranea
  • Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Best First Screenplay

  • Jesse Andrews – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
  • Joseph Carpignano – Mediterranea
  • Emma Donoghue – Room
  • Marielle Heller – The Diary of a Teenage Girl
  • John Magary, Russell Harbaugh, Myna Joseph – The Mend

Best Male Lead

  • Christopher Abbott – James White
  • Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation
  • Ben Mendelsohn – Mississippi Grind
  • Jason Segel – The End of the Tour
  • Koudous Seihon – Mediterranea

Image via A24 Films

Best Female Lead

  • Cate Blanchett – Carol
  • Brie Larson – Room
  • Rooney Mara – Carol
  • Bel Powley – The Diary of A Teenage Girl
  • Kitana Kiki Rodriquez – Tangerine

Best Supporting Male

  • Kevin Corrigan – Results
  • Paul Dano – Love & Mercy
  • Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation
  • Richard Jenkins – Bone Tomahawk
  • Michael Shannon – 99 Homes

Best Supporting Female

  • Robin Bartlett – H.
  • Marin Ireland – Glass Chin
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh – Anomalisa
  • Cynthia Nixon – James White
  • Mya Taylor – Tangerine


Image via Paramount

Best Documentary

  • (T)error
  • Best of Enemies
  • Heart of Dog
  • The Look of Silence
  • Meru
  • The Russian Woodpecker

Best International Film

  • Embrace the Serpent
  • Girlhood
  • Mustang
  • Son of Saul

Best Cinematography

  • Beasts of No Nation
  • Carol
  • It Follows
  • Meadlowland
  • Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Best Editing

  • Beasts of No Nation
  • Heaven Knows What
  • It Follows
  • Room
  • Spotlight

Image via Open Road Films

John Cassavetes Award (Best Feature Under $500,000)

  • Advantageous
  • Christmas, Again
  • Heaven Knows What
  • Krisha
  • Out of My Hand

Robert Altman Award (Best Ensemble)

  • Spotlight

Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award

  • Chloe Zhoa
  • Felix Thompson
  • Robert Machoian & Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck

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