Tomorrow, November 21, Zazie Beetz and Natasha Lyonne will announce the nominees for the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The nomination press conference will be held at The LINE LA and will be brought to you on Twitter by Awards Daily’s own Jalal Haddad.
In terms of nominees, you should look for multiple nominations for high-profile festival entries like Marriage Story, Uncut Gems, Waves, Clemency, Honey Boy, and Queen & Slim. They’ll likely join earlier films such as The Farewell, Midsommer, The Lighthouse, Booksmart, or The Last Black Man in San Francisco. Getting nominated at the Spirit Awards is a bit of a mixed blessing, historically, for films with Oscar hopes. Last year’s If Beale Street Could Talk seemed to emerge an early Oscar front runner and won all three Spirit Awards it was nominated for. Then, the Oscar play just kind of died, Regina King aside of course.
The trick in forecasting the Spirit Awards is to find those tiny films unlikely to show up at the Oscars. That’s what the Spirit Awards tend to embrace. Beale Street is one of those. In fact, all of last year’s Best Feature nominees, in my mind, really captured the image of what a Spirit Award represents: Eighth Grade, First Reformed, Leave No Trace, You Were Never Really Here in addition to Beale Street. These are tiny films that often don’t have huge Oscar campaign budgets, so they don’t bubble up outside of critics’ groups. Sure, something like Call Me By Your Name or Manchester By the Sea gets in as Marriage Story likely will tomorrow.
But you really have to look for tiny indies to get a leg up on your predictions. I’m talking about things like Honey Boy or Waves or Uncut Gems. I wouldn’t count out The Lighthouse or Willem Dafoe. The Spirit Awards responded to Robert Eggers’s earlier (better) film The Witch. The Farewell will likely show up here too, although I’m not 100% convinced that star Awkwafina manages a nomination. I could be wrong.
Outside of the expected performances, I’d look out for Elisabeth Moss’s transcendent performance in Her Smell (an indie award-winning performance if I’ve ever seen one). Florence Pugh will likely show up for Midsommer too, even if the film itself doesn’t make it in. Shia LeBeouf feels strong here too as buzz for his performance has steadily increased as the film makes its way through the festival circuit. And don’t count out Julianne Moore in Gloria Bell.
Who do you think will be a surprise nominee tomorrow? Sound off in the comments below, and check back here at Awards Daily tomorrow and on Twitter for our coverage of the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Award nominations.