Independent Spirit Award for Best Film

Last updated
Independent Spirit Award for Best Film
Awarded forBest Independent Film
Country United States
Presented byFilm Independent
First awarded1985
Currently held by The Lost Daughter (2021)
Website filmindependent.org

The Independent Spirit Award for Best Film (or Best Feature) is one of the annual Independent Spirit Awards, presented to recognize the best in independent filmmaking, it was first awarded in 1985 with Martin Scorsese's film After Hours being the first recipient of the award.

Contents

Criteria

In order to be considered as an independent film and therefore being eligible to this category, nomination committees base their decision on four criteria, "uniqueness of vision, original, provocative subject matter, percentage of financing from independent sources and economy of means"; the latter refers to a budget ceiling of $22.5 million. [1]

In the following lists, the first titles listed are winners. These are also in bold and in blue background; those not in bold are nominees.

Winners and nominees

Note

1980s

YearWinnerDistributing company(s)Director(s)
1985
[2]
After Hours Warner Bros. Martin Scorsese
Blood Simple Circle Films Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Smooth Talk Goldcrest Films Joyce Chopra
The Trip to Bountiful Island Pictures Peter Masterson
1986 Platoon Orion Pictures Oliver Stone
Blue Velvet De Laurentiis Entertainment Group David Lynch
Down by Law Island Pictures Jim Jarmusch
On Valentine's Day Angelika FilmsKen Harrison
Salvador Hemdale Film Corporation Oliver Stone
Stand by Me Columbia Pictures Rob Reiner
1987 River's Edge Island Pictures Tim Hunter
The Big Easy Columbia Pictures Jim McBride
The Dead Vestron Pictures John Huston
Matewan Cinecom Pictures John Sayles
Swimming to Cambodia Cinecom Pictures Jonathan Demme
Tough Guys Don't Dance The Cannon Group, Inc. Norman Mailer
1988 Stand and Deliver Warner Bros. Ramon Menendez
Hairspray New Line Cinema John Waters
Patti Rocks FilmDallas PicturesDavid Burton Morris
The Thin Blue Line Miramax Films Errol Morris
Torch Song Trilogy New Line Cinema Paul Bogart
1989 Sex, Lies, and Videotape Miramax Films Steven Soderbergh
Drugstore Cowboy International Video Entertainment Gus Van Sant
Heat and Sunlight Silverlight Pictures Rob Nilsson
Mystery Train Orion Classics Jim Jarmusch
True Love United Artists Nancy Savoca

1990s

YearWinnerDistributing company(s)Director(s)
1990 The Grifters Miramax Films Stephen Frears
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Greycat Films John McNaughton
The Plot Against Harry New Yorker Films Michael Roemer
Pump Up the Volume New Line Cinema Allan Moyle
To Sleep with Anger The Samuel Goldwyn Company Charles Burnett
1991 Rambling Rose New Line/Seven Arts Martha Coolidge
City of Hope The Samuel Goldwyn Company John Sayles
Hangin' with the Homeboys New Line Cinema Joseph Vasquez
Homicide Triumph Films David Mamet
My Own Private Idaho Fine Line Features Gus Van Sant
1992 The Player Fine Line Features Robert Altman
Bad Lieutenant Aries Films Abel Ferrara
Gas Food Lodging Cineville Allison Anders
Mississippi Masala The Samuel Goldwyn Company Mira Nair
One False Move I.R.S. Releasing Carl Franklin
1993 Short Cuts Fine Line Features Robert Altman
Equinox IRS Media Alan Rudolph
Much Ado About Nothing The Samuel Goldwyn Company Kenneth Branagh
Ruby in Paradise October Films Victor Nuñez
The Wedding Banquet The Samuel Goldwyn Company Ang Lee
1994 Pulp Fiction °Miramax Films Quentin Tarantino
Bullets over Broadway Miramax Films Woody Allen
Eat Drink Man Woman The Samuel Goldwyn Company Ang Lee
Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle Fine Line Features Alan Rudolph
Wes Craven's New Nightmare New Line Cinema Wes Craven
1995 Leaving Las Vegas United Artists Mike Figgis
The Addiction October Films Abel Ferrara
Living in Oblivion Sony Pictures Classics Tom DiCillo
Safe Sony Pictures Classics Todd Haynes
The Secret of Roan Inish Sony Pictures Classics John Sayles
1996 Fargo ° Gramercy Pictures Joel Coen
Dead Man Miramax Films Jim Jarmusch
The Funeral October Films Abel Ferrara
Lone Star Sony Pictures Classics John Sayles
Welcome to the Dollhouse Sony Pictures Classics Todd Solondz
1997 The Apostle October Films Robert Duvall
Chasing Amy Miramax Films Kevin Smith
Loved MDP Worldwide Erin Dignam
Ulee's Gold Orion Pictures Victor Nuñez
Waiting for Guffman Sony Pictures Classics Christopher Guest
1998 Gods and Monsters Lionsgate Films Bill Condon
Affliction Lionsgate Films Paul Schrader
Claire Dolan New Yorker Films Lodge Kerrigan
A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries October Films James Ivory
Velvet Goldmine Miramax Films Todd Haynes
1999
[3] [4]
Election Paramount Pictures Alexander Payne
Cookie's Fortune October Films Robert Altman
The Limey Artisan Entertainment Steven Soderbergh
The Straight Story Walt Disney Pictures David Lynch
Sugar Town October Films/USA Films Allison Anders and Kurt Voss

2000s

YearWinnerDistributing company(s)Director(s)
2000
[5]
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon °Sony Pictures Classics Ang Lee
Before Night Falls Fine Line Features Julian Schnabel
George Washington ContentFilm International David Gordon Green
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai Artisan Entertainment Jim Jarmusch
Requiem for a Dream Darren Aronofsky
2001
[6]
Memento Newmarket Films Christopher Nolan
Hedwig and the Angry Inch Fine Line Features John Cameron Mitchell
L.I.E. New Yorker Films Michael Cuesta
Things Behind the Sun Showtime Networks Allison Anders
Waking Life Fox Searchlight Richard Linklater
2002
[7]
Far from Heaven Focus Features Todd Haynes
The Good Girl Fox Searchlight Miguel Arteta
Lovely & Amazing Lionsgate Films Nicole Holofcener
Secretary Steven Shainberg
Tully Small Planet PicturesHilary Birmingham
2003
[8]
Lost in Translation °Focus Features Sofia Coppola
American Splendor HBO Films Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
In America Fox Searchlight Jim Sheridan
Raising Victor Vargas Samuel Goldwyn Films Peter Sollett
Shattered Glass Lions Gate Films Billy Ray
2004
[9]
Sideways °Fox Searchlight Alexander Payne
Baadasssss! Sony Pictures Classics Mario Van Peebles
Kinsey Fox Searchlight Bill Condon
Maria Full of Grace Fine Line Features Joshua Marston
Primer THINKFilm Shane Carruth
2005
[10]
Brokeback Mountain °Focus Features Ang Lee
Capote °Sony Pictures Classics Bennett Miller
Good Night, and Good Luck ° Warner Independent Pictures George Clooney
The Squid and the Whale Samuel Goldwyn Films Noah Baumbach
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada Sony Pictures Classics Tommy Lee Jones
2006
[11]
Little Miss Sunshine °Fox Searchlight Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
American Gun IFC Films Aric Avelino
The Dead Girl First Look International Karen Moncrieff
Half Nelson THINKFilm Ryan Fleck
Pan's Labyrinth Picturehouse Guillermo del Toro
2007
[12]
Juno °Fox Searchlight Jason Reitman
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Miramax Films Julian Schnabel
I'm Not There The Weinstein Company Todd Haynes
A Mighty Heart Paramount Vantage Michael Winterbottom
Paranoid Park IFC Films Gus Van Sant
2008
[13]
The Wrestler Fox Searchlight Darren Aronofsky
Ballast Alluvial Film Company Lance Hammer
Frozen River Sony Pictures Classics Courtney Hunt
Rachel Getting Married Jonathan Demme
Wendy and Lucy Oscilloscope Pictures Kelly Reichardt
2009
[14]
Precious °Lionsgate Lee Daniels
(500) Days of Summer Fox Searchlight Marc Webb
Amreeka National Geographic Entertainment Cherien Dabis
The Last Station Sony Pictures Classics Michael Hoffman
Sin Nombre Focus Features Cary Fukunaga

2010s

YearWinnerDistributing company(s)Director(s)
2010
[15]
Black Swan °Fox Searchlight Darren Aronofsky
127 Hours °Fox Searchlight Danny Boyle
Greenberg Focus Features Noah Baumbach
The Kids Are All Right Lisa Cholodenko
Winter's Bone ° Roadside Attractions Debra Granik
2011
[16]
The Artist The Weinstein Company Michel Hazanavicius
50/50 Summit Entertainment Jonathan Levine
Beginners Focus Features Mike Mills
The Descendants °Fox Searchlight Alexander Payne
Drive FilmDistrict Nicolas Winding Refn
Take Shelter Sony Pictures Classics Jeff Nichols
2012
[17]
Silver Linings Playbook °The Weinstein Company David O. Russell
Beasts of the Southern Wild °Fox Searchlight Benh Zeitlin
Bernie Millennium Entertainment Richard Linklater
Keep the Lights On Music Box Films Ira Sachs
Moonrise Kingdom Focus Features Wes Anderson
2013
[18]
12 Years a Slave Fox Searchlight Steve McQueen
All Is Lost Lionsgate J. C. Chandor
Frances Ha IFC Films Noah Baumbach
Inside Llewyn Davis CBS Films Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Nebraska °Paramount Vantage Alexander Payne
2014
[19]
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Fox Searchlight Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Boyhood °IFC Films Richard Linklater
Love Is Strange Sony Pictures Classics Ira Sachs
Selma Paramount Pictures Ava DuVernay
Whiplash °Sony Pictures Classics Damien Chazelle
2015
[20]
Spotlight Open Road Films Tom McCarthy
Anomalisa Paramount Pictures Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson
Beasts of No Nation Bleecker Street/Netflix Cary Joji Fukunaga
Carol StudioCanal/The Weinstein Company Todd Haynes
Tangerine Magnolia Pictures Sean Baker
2016
[21]
Moonlight A24 Barry Jenkins
American Honey A24 Andrea Arnold
Chronic Wild Bunch Michel Franco
Jackie Fox Searchlight Pablo Larraín
Manchester by the Sea ° Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions Kenneth Lonergan
2017
[22]
Get Out ° Universal Pictures Jordan Peele
Call Me by Your Name °Sony Pictures Classics Luca Guadagnino
The Florida Project A24 Sean Baker
Lady Bird °A24 Greta Gerwig
The Rider Sony Pictures Classics Chloé Zhao
2018
[23]
If Beale Street Could Talk Annapurna Pictures Barry Jenkins
Eighth Grade A24 Bo Burnham
First Reformed A24 Paul Schrader
Leave No Trace Bleecker Street Debra Granik
You Were Never Really Here Amazon Studios Lynne Ramsay
2019
[24]
The Farewell A24 Lulu Wang
A Hidden Life Fox Searchlight Terrence Malick
Clemency Neon Chinonye Chukwu
Marriage Story °Netflix Noah Baumbach
Uncut Gems A24 Benny Safdie and Joshua Safdie

2020s

YearWinnerDistributing company(s)Director(s)
2020
[25] [26]
Nomadland Searchlight Pictures Chloé Zhao
First Cow A24 Kelly Reichardt
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Netflix George C. Wolfe
Minari °A24 Lee Isaac Chung
Never Rarely Sometimes Always Focus Features Eliza Hittman
2021
[27]
The Lost Daughter Netflix Maggie Gyllenhaal
A Chiara Neon Jonas Carpignano
C’mon C’mon A24 Mike Mills
The Novice IFC FilmsLauren Hadaway
Zola A24 Janicza Bravo
2022
[28]
Bones and All MGM/United Artists Releasing Luca Guadagnino
Everything Everywhere All at Once A24 Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
Our Father, the DevilResolve MediaEllie Foumbi
Tár Focus Features Todd Field
Women Talking MGM/United Artists Releasing Sarah Polley

Distributors with most wins and nominations (3 or more)

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References

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  23. Welk, Brian (February 24, 2019). "Independent Spirit Awards 2019: Complete Winners List". TheWrap . Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  24. D'Alessandro, Anthony; Blyth, Antonia (February 8, 2020). "Independent Spirit Awards Redresses Female Balance With Wins For Lulu Wang, Olivia Wilde & Julia Reichert – Complete Winners List". Deadline . Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  25. Grobar, Matt (April 22, 2021). "'Nomadland' Wins Independent Spirit Awards For Best Picture, Director, Editing & Cinematography, Further Solidifying Oscars Prospects". Deadline . Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  26. Sharf, Zack (April 23, 2021). "2021 Independent Spirit Awards Winner's List". IndieWire . Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  27. Long, Brent; Tangcay, Jazz (December 14, 2021). "Indie Spirit Awards 2022: Full List of Nominations". Variety . Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  28. Davis, Clayton (November 22, 2022). "Independent Spirit Awards Nominations: 'Everything Everywhere' Leads With Eight Noms". Variety . Retrieved November 22, 2022.