Todd Haynes is in the running for best director and both Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are in contention for best female lead alongside Room’s Brie Larson as Carol earned six 2016 Film Independent Spirit Award nominations in Los Angeles on Tuesday.


Scroll down for full list of nominations

Close behind were Spotlight and Beasts Of No Nation on five apiece, followed by indie darling Tangerine and Anomalisa on four each.

Not even a glitch that saw the list of nominees temporarily appear on the Film Independent website prior to the official announcement could spoil what turned out by and large to be a recognition of independent film in its myriad forms.

Besides the more predictable contenders like Carol, Spotlight and Room, there was plenty of love for Tangerine, shot on an iPhone, and Beasts Of No Nation from Netflix, whose day-and-date release (and what that portends) infuriated large swathes of the exhibition sector but has clearly impressed critics.

Magnolia Pictures earned seven for a varied slate as did A24 mostly for Room and The End Of The Tour, while The Weinstein Company earned six nods for Carol. Bleecker Street/Netflix earned five for Beasts Of No Nation, as did Open Road for Spotlight and RADiUS-TWC for It Follows and Heaven Knows What.

Cary Joji Fukunaga earned a best director nod for Beasts Of No Nation alongside Tom McCarthy for Spotlight, the aforementioned Haynes, Sean Baker for Tangerine, David Robert Mitchell for It Follows and Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman for Anomalisa.

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez for Tangerine and Bel Powley from The Diary Of A Teenage Girl will also compete for the best female lead prize, while Mya Taylor from Tangerine and Jennifer Jason Leight from Anomalisa are among the supporting female nominees.

Jason Segel landed a slot in the best male lead category for The End Of The Tour alongside Abraham Attah of Beasts Of No Nation.

The African war film’s Idris Elba is nominated in the supporting male category and will face stiff competition from Paul Dano for Love & Mercy and Michael Shannon for 99 Homes.

The ensemble cast of Spotlight will receive the Robert Altman Award with director Tom McCarthy and casting directors Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee.

Colombia’s The Embrace Of The Serpent is among the best international film nominees and will vie for the prize against Hungary’s Oscar frontrunner Son Of Saul, Girlhood (France), Mustang (France-Turkey) and A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence (Sweden).

Documentary contenders are (T)ERROR, Best Of Enemies, Heart Of A Dog, The Look Of Silence, Meru and The Russian Woodpecker.

The winners will be announced at the traditional beach tent ceremony in Santa Monica on February 27, one day before the Academy Awards.

The nominating committees made their choices from 362 submissions based on: uniqueness of vision, original and provocative subject matter, economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost and individual compensation) and percentage of financing from independent sources.

The full nominations are as follows:


(Award given to the producer. Executive producers are not awarded.)

Producers: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman, Dino Stamatopoulos, Rosa Tran

Beasts Of No Nation
Producers: Daniel Crown, Idris Elba, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Amy Kaufman, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Riva Marker

Producers: Elizabeth Karlsen, Christine Vachon, Stephen Woolley 

Producers: Blye Pagon Faust, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Michael Sugar

Producers: Sean Baker, Karrie Cox, Marcus Cox, Darren Dean, Shih-Ching Tsou


(Award given to the director and producer)

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl
Director: Marielle Heller
Producers: Miranda Bailey, Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit

James White
Director: Josh Mond
Producers: Max Born, Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin, Melody Roscher, Eric Schultz

Manos Sucias
Director: Josef Kubota Wladyka
Producers: Elena Greenlee, Márcia Nunes

Director: Jonas Carpignano
Producers: Jason Michael Berman, Chris Columbus, Jon Coplon, Christoph Daniel, Andrew Kortschak, John Lesher, Ryan Lough, Justin Nappi, Alain Peyrollaz, Gwyn Sannia, Marc Schmidheiny, Victor Shapiro, Ryan Zacarias

Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Director/Producer: Chloé Zhao
Producers: Mollye Asher, Nina Yang Bongiovi, Angela C Lee, Forest Whitaker


Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive producers are not awarded.

Writer-director-producer: Jennifer Phang
Writer-producer: Jacqueline Kim
Producers: Robert Chang, Ken Jeong, Moon Molson, Theresa Navarro

Christmas, Again
Writer-director-producer: Charles Poekel

Heaven Knows What
Directors: Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie
Writers: Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie
Producers: Oscar Boyson, Sebastian Bear McClard

Writer-director-producer: Trey Edward Shults
Producers: Justin R. Chan, Chase Joliet, Wilson Smith

Out Of My Hand
Writer-director: Takeshi Fukunaga
Writer-producer: Donari Braxton
Producer: Mike Fox


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


  • Charlie Kaufman, Anomalisa
  • Donald Margulies, The End Of The Tour
  • Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight
  • Phyllis Nagy, Carol
  • S Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk


  • Jesse Andrews, Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
  • Jonas Carpignano, Mediterranea
  • Emma Donoghue, Room
  • Marielle Heller, The Diary Of A Teenage Girl
  • John Magary, Story by Russell Harbaugh and Myna Joseph,The Mend


  • Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts Of No Nation
  • Michael Gioulakis, It Follows
  • Ed Lachman, Carol
  • Reed Morano, Meadowland
  • Joshua James Richards, Songs My Brothers Taught Me


  • Ronald Bronstein and Benny Safdie, Heaven Knows What
  • Tom McArdle, Spotlight
  • Nathan Nugent, Room
  • Julio C. Perez IV, It Follows
  • Kristan Sprague, Manos Sucias


  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Bel Powley, The Diary Of A Teenage Girl
  • Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Tangerine


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


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


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


Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast

Director: Tom McCarthy
Casting directors: Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee
Ensemble cast: Billy Crudup, Paul Guilfoyle, Neal Huff, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Jamey Sheridan, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci


Award given to the director and producer

Directors/Producers: Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe
Producer: Christopher St. John

Best Of Enemies
Directors-producers: Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville

Heart Of A Dog
Director-producer: Laurie Anderson
Producer: Dan Janvey

The Look Of Silence
Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
Producer: Signe Byrge Sørensen

Directors-producers: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
Producer: Shannon Ethridge

The Russian Woodpecker
Director-producer: Chad Gracia
Producers: Ram Devineni, Mike Lerner


(Award given to the director)

  • Embrace Of The Serpent (Colombia), Ciro Guerra
  • Girlhood (France), Céline Sciamma
  • Mustang (France-Turkey), Deniz Gamze Ergüven
  • A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence (Sweden), Roy Andersson
  • Son Of Saul (Hungary), László Nemes


The 19th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honours 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.

  • Darren Dean
  • Mel Eslyn
  • Rebecca Green and Laura D Smith


The 22nd annual Someone To Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognises 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.

  • God Bless The Child, Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck
  • King Jack, Felix Thompson
  • Songs My Brothers Taught Me, Chloé Zhao


The 21st 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.

  • Among The Believers, Mohammed Ali Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi
  • Incorruptible, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
  • A Woman Like Me, Elizabeth Giamatti and Alex Sichel.