2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards Winners

Film Independent Spirit Awards

Hosted by Aubrey Plaza, the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards are taking place today on the beach in Santa Monica, just north of the Santa Monica Pier.

2019 Film Independent Spirit Award Winners

  • Best Supporting Male: Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • Best First Screenplay: Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade
  • John Cassavetes Award: En el Séptimo Día
    • Writer/Director/Producer: Jim McKay
    • Producers: Alex Bach, Lindsey Cordero, Caroline Kaplan, Michael Stipe
  • Bonnie Award: Debra Granik
  • Best International Film: Roma (Mexico), Director: Alfonso Cuarón
  • Truer than Fiction Award: Minding the Gap; Bing Liu, director
  • Best Editing: Joe Bini, You Were Never Really Here
  • Best First Feature: Sorry to Bother You
    • Director: Boots Riley
    • Producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Jonathan Duffy, Charles D. King, George Rush, Forest Whitaker, Kelly Williams
  • Robert Altman Award: Suspiria
    • Director: Luca Guadagnino
    • Casting Directors: Avy Kaufman, Stella Savino
    • Ensemble Cast: Malgosia Bela, Ingrid Caven, Lutz Ebersdorf, Elena Fouina, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, Dakota Johnson, Gala Moody, Chloë Grace Moretz, Fabrizia Sacchi, Renée Soutendijk, Tilda Swinton, Sylvie Testud, Angela Winkler
  • Best Documentary: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
    • Director/Producer: Morgan Neville
    • Producers: Caryn Capotosto, Nicholas Ma
  • Best Supporting Female: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Best Screenplay: Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • Best Cinematography: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Suspiria
  • Best Director: Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Best Male Lead: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
  • Best Female Lead: Glenn Close, The Wife
  • Best Feature: If Beale Street Could Talk
    • Producers: Dede Gardner, Barry Jenkins, Jeremy Kleiner, Sara Murphy, Adele Romanski


Aubrey Plaza starts the ceremony with a Black Magic bit that reminds us what the Oscars ceremony will be missing by forgoing a host.  Poor Finn Wolfhard.  He had to die so the show can go on.

“Welcome to the Spirit Awards where we celebrate the movies that are too important to see.”  Plaza digs at the lack of a host because “No One” was already booked for tomorrow.

Plaza makes note of 60% of the best director nominees are women.  Overall, a fun monologue that delivered.

Richard E. Grant, who was the third actor to be cast in the particular role, starts breaking down in his speech.

Bo Burnham thanks Subaru for having the courage to make maroon cars.

Oh hey, it’s Jim O’Heir making an appearance on Aubrey Plaza’s behalf.

While presenting the John Cassavetes Award, presenter Jon Hamm was rooting for Avengers: Infinity War.  Unfortunately for him, Avengers wasn’t nominated since the award goes to films with budgets under $500,000.

The Bonnie Award is named for Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo.  She 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 recognizes a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines.  Debra Granik recieved this award over finalists Tamara Jenkins and Karyn Kusama.

Upon winning Best International Film, Alfonso Cuarón believes that the diversity is going to “very soon make this category irrelevant.”

The Truer than Fiction Award was presented during a previous ceremony.

On winning for You Were Never Really Here, film editor Joe Bini comments, “At the end of the day, I think what’s beautiful about this film is that we never had to compromise our creative expression.”

Boots Riley says that class struggle shouldn’t have to be edited out of films.  The writer-director also uses his speech to stop the US from having regime change for oil in Venezuela.

The Robert Altman Award is given to one film’s director, casting director, and ensemble catch.  Armie Hammer presented the award to his former Call Me By Your Name director among Suspiria‘s other recipients.  Luca was unable to attend the ceremony.

Paddleton stars Mark Duplass and Ray Romano are really promoting their new film.  The duo presented together at Sundance and again tonight.  Romano admittedly isn’t great at improv.

Ekaterina Samsonov had never heard of Joaquin Phoenix prior to auditioning for Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here.

Nicole Holofcener invites director Marielle Heller on stage while accepting the screenplay win. Holofcener notes that two unlikable characters can still be entertaining and loved.

Barry Jenkins uses speech to thank the women involved with If Beale Street Could Talk.  “I cannot make a movie about women without women at the forefront.”  He’s really talking up female filmmakers and stressing the importance of female directors.

Glenn Close’s dog steals the show during her speech.  The Wife took 14 years to get made.

While If Beale Street Could Talk takes Best Picture, the film was not even nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.  Take note of this.

The 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards will be broadcast exclusively on IFC at 2:00 pm PT/5:00 pm ET on February 23, 2019.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.