Spirit Awards 2019 Winners: ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Tops the List with 3 Wins

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2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Elsie Fisher, Regina King and Glenn Close pose during the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards (Photo by Kevin Mazur/ Courtesy of Getty Images and Film Independent)

Barry Jenkins’ critically acclaimed drama If Beale Street Could Talk was the big winner at the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The drama, which didn’t earn Oscar nominations in either the Best Film or Best Director categories, picked up the Best Feature, Best Director and Best Supporting Female (Regina King) awards. Following close behind was Can You Ever Forgive Me? with two wins: Best Supporting Male (Richard E. Grant) and Best Screenplay (Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty).

We the Animals went into the Spirit Awards with the most nominations, however it was shut out in all five of the categories in which it was nominated. Roma, the favorite to win the Best Picture Oscar, wasn’t nominated for a Best Film Spirit Award but it did win in the Best International Film category.

The annual awards honor the best in independent films with a much less formal ceremony than the glitzy Oscars. The Spirit Awards are held in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica the day prior to the Academy Awards. This year’s ceremony was hosted by Legion‘s Aubrey Plaza.

2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominees and Winners

  • BEST FEATURE
    Eighth Grade
    First Reformed
    WINNER: If Beale Street Could Talk
    Leave No Trace
    You Were Never Really Here
  • BEST FIRST FEATURE
    Hereditary – Director: Ari Aster
    WINNER: Sorry to Bother You – Director: Boots Riley
    The Tale – Director/Producer: Jennifer Fox
    We the Animals – Director: Jeremiah Zagar
    Wildlife – Director/Producer: Paul Dano
  • JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000.
    A Bread Factory
    WINNER: En el Séptimo Día
    Never Goin’ Back
    Sócrates
    Thunder Road
  • BEST DIRECTOR
    Debra Granik – Leave No Trace
    WINNER: Barry Jenkins – If Beale Street Could Talk
    Tamara Jenkins – Private Life
    Lynne Ramsay – You Were Never Really Here
    Paul Schrader – First Reformed
  • BEST SCREENPLAY
    Colette – Richard Glatzer, Rebecca Lenkiewicz & Wash Westmoreland
    WINNER: Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
    Private Life – Tamara Jenkins
    Sorry to Bother You – Boots Riley
    First Reformed – Paul Schrader
  • BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
    WINNER: Eighth Grade – Bo Burnham
    Nancy – Christina Choe
    Thoroughbreds – Cory Finley
    The Tale – Jennifer Fox
    Blame – Quinn Shephard (Writer/Story By), Laurie Shephard (Story By)
  • BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
    Madeline’s Madeline – Ashley Connor
    Wildlife – Diego Garcia
    Mandy – Benjamin Loeb
    WINNER: Suspiria – Sayombhu Mukdeeprom
    We the Animals – Zak Mulligan
  • BEST EDITING
    WINNER: You Were Never Really Here – Joe Bini
    We the Animals – Keiko Deguchi, Brian A. Kates, Jeremiah Zagar
    American Animals – Luke Dunkley, Nick Fenton, Chris Gill, Julian Hart
    The Tale – Anne Fabini, Alex Hall, Gary Levy
    Mid90s – Nick Houy
  • BEST FEMALE LEAD
    WINNER: Glenn Close – The Wife
    Toni Collette – Hereditary
    Elsie Fisher – Eighth Grade
    Regina Hall – Support the Girls
    Helena Howard – Madeline’s Madeline
    Carey Mulligan – Wildlife
  • BEST MALE LEAD
    John Cho – Searching
    Daveed Diggs – Blindspotting
    WINNER: Ethan Hawke – First Reformed
    Christian Malheiros – Sócrates
    Joaquin Phoenix – You Were Never Really Here
  • BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
    Kayli Carter – Private Life
    Tyne Daly – A Bread Factory
    WINNER: Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
    Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie – Leave No Trace
    J. Smith-Cameron – Nancy
  • BEST SUPPORTING MALE
    Raúl Castillo – We the Animals
    Adam Driver – BLACKkKLANSMAN
    WINNER: Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
    Josh Hamilton – Eighth Grade
    John David Washington – Monsters and Men
  • ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast

    Suspiria
    Director: Luca Guadagnino
    Casting Directors: Avy Kaufman, Stella Savino
    Ensemble Cast: Malgosia Bela, Ingrid Caven, Lutz Ebersdorf, Elena Fokina, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, Dakota Johnson, Gala Moody, Chloë Grace Moretz, Renée Soutendijk, Tilda Swinton, Sylvie Testud, Angela Winkler

  • BEST DOCUMENTARY
    Hale County This Morning, This Evening
    Minding the Gap
    Of Fathers and Sons
    On Her Shoulders
    Shirkers
    WINNER: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  • BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
    Burning
    The Favourite
    Happy as Lazzaro
    WINNER: Roma
    Shoplifters
  • 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 second Bonnie Award will recognize a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines.
    – Debra Granik
    – Tamara Jenkins
    – Karyn Kusama
  • PRODUCERS AWARD – The 22nd 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.
    – Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams
    – Gabrielle Nadig
    – Shrihari Sathe
  • SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 25th 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.
    – Alex Moratto – Director of Sócrates
    – Ioana Uricaru – Director of Lemonade
    – Jeremiah Zagar – Director of We the Animals
  • TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 24th 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.
    – Alexandria Bombach – Director of On Her Shoulders
    – Bing Liu – Director of Minding the Gap
    – RaMell Ross – Director of Hale County This Morning, This Evening




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