Independent Spirit Awards

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Independent Spirit Awards
Current: 38th Independent Spirit Awards
Spirit Awards Trophy.png
Awarded forExcellence in the independent film industry
Country United States
Presented byFilm Independent [1]
First awardedMarch 3, 1984; 38 years ago

The Independent Spirit Awards [2] (abbreviated Spirit Awards and originally known as the FINDIE or Friends of Independents Awards), founded in 1984, [3] are awards dedicated to independent filmmakers. [4] [5] Winners were typically presented with acrylic glass pyramids containing suspended shoestrings representing the bare budgets of independent films [ citation needed ]. Since 2006, winners have received a metal trophy depicting a bird with its wings spread sitting atop of a pole with the shoestrings from the previous design wrapped around the pole.


In 1986, the event was renamed the Independent Spirit Awards. Now called the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the show is produced by Film Independent, a not-for-profit arts organization that used to produce the LA Film Festival. Film Independent members vote to determine the winners of the Spirit Awards. [6]

The awards show is held inside a tent in a parking lot at the beach in Santa Monica, California, usually on the day before the Academy Awards (since 1999; originally the Saturday before). [7] The show is broadcast live on the IFC network, [8] as well as Hollywood Suite in Canada and A&E Latin America. [9]

In 2020, new categories were announced for the 36th Independent Spirit Awards, which would honor the best in television productions and performances. These categories included Best New Scripted Series, Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series, Best Male Performance, Best Female Performance, and Best Ensemble Cast. [10] In 2022, it was announced that gender neutral acting categories would be implemented and that the previous gendered film categories — Male Lead, Female Lead, Male Supporting and Female Supporting — would be retired in favor of a Best Lead Performance and a Best Supporting Performance categories, which would feature 10 nominees each. Other new categories added included Best Breakthrough Performance and Best Lead and Supporting Performance in the TV section. [11]


Current categories

Retired categories


The Independent Features Project/West was founded by Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas. [12] [13]

In 1984 the FINDIE Awards (Friends of Independents) were conceived by Independent Features Project/West board member Jeanne Lucas [14] and Independent Features Project/West President Anne Kimmel [15] and director/writer Sam O'Brien was an event producer. [14] The awards are voted on by a nominating committee.

In 1985, Peter Coyote and Jamie Lee Curtis presented winners with a Plexiglas pyramid designed by Carol Bosselman, which contain a suspended shoestring, printed with sprocket holes, representing the shoestring budgets of independent films. The Reel Gold Award, also designed by Bosselman, was given to Steve Wachtel for allowing Independent Features Project/West continuing free use of his screening room. It was associated with Filmex. [3] In 1986, Bosselman designed and sculpted the Independent Spirit Award statue that is still given out today, using a lost wax bronze casting method.

Independent Features Project/West eventually became Film Independent. [16]

Dawn Hudson was director of Independent Features Project/West in 1995. [17]

Barbara Boyle was Independent Features Project/West president from 1994 to 1999. [18]

Independent Features Project eventually became Independent Filmmaker Project.


#DateYear HonoredBest FilmBest First FeatureHost(s)
1st March 22, 1986 1985 After Hours Peter Coyote
2nd March 28, 1987 1986 Platoon She's Gotta Have It Buck Henry
3rd February 11, 1988 1987 River's Edge Dirty Dancing
4th March 25, 1989 1988 Stand and Deliver Mystic Pizza
5th March 24, 1990 1989 Sex, Lies, and Videotape Heathers
6th March 23, 1991 1990 The Grifters Metropolitan
7th March 28, 1992 1991 Rambling Rose Straight Out of Brooklyn
8th March 27, 1993 1992 The Player Reservoir Dogs
9th March 19, 1994 1993 Short Cuts El Mariachi Robert Townsend
10th March 25, 1995 1994 Pulp Fiction Spanking the Monkey Kevin Pollak
11th March 23, 1996 1995 Leaving Las Vegas The Brothers McMullen Samuel L. Jackson
12th March 22, 1997 1996 Fargo Sling Blade
13th March 21, 1998 1997 The Apostle Eve's Bayou John Turturro
14th March 20, 1999 1998 Gods and Monsters The Opposite of Sex Queen Latifah
15th March 25, 2000 1999 Election Being John Malkovich (Over $500,000)
The Blair Witch Project (Under $500,000)
Jennifer Tilly
16th March 24, 2001 2000 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon You Can Count on Me
Chuck & Buck (Under $500,000)
John Waters
17th March 23, 2002 2001 Memento In the Bedroom
18th March 22, 2003 2002 Far from Heaven The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
19th February 28, 2004 2003 Lost in Translation Monster
20th February 26, 2005 2004 Sideways Garden State Samuel L. Jackson
21st March 4, 2006 2005 Brokeback Mountain Crash Sarah Silverman
22nd February 24, 2007 2006 Little Miss Sunshine Sweet Land
23rd February 23, 2008 2007 Juno The Lookout Rainn Wilson
24th February 21, 2009 2008 The Wrestler Synecdoche, New York Steve Coogan
25th March 5, 2010 2009 Precious Crazy Heart Eddie Izzard
26th February 26, 2011 2010 Black Swan Get Low Joel McHale
27th February 25, 2012 2011 The Artist Margin Call Seth Rogen
28th February 23, 2013 2012 Silver Linings Playbook The Perks of Being a Wallflower Andy Samberg
29th March 1, 2014 2013 12 Years a Slave Fruitvale Station Patton Oswalt
30th February 21, 2015 2014 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Nightcrawler Fred Armisen, Kristen Bell
31st February 27, 2016 2015 Spotlight The Diary of a Teenage Girl Kate McKinnon, Kumail Nanjiani
32nd February 25, 2017 2016 Moonlight The Witch Nick Kroll, John Mulaney
33rd March 3, 2018 2017 Get Out Ingrid Goes West
34th February 23, 2019 2018 If Beale Street Could Talk Sorry to Bother You Aubrey Plaza
35th February 8, 2020 2019 The Farewell Booksmart
36th April 22, 2021 2020 Nomadland Sound of Metal Melissa Villaseñor
37th March 6, 2022 2021 The Lost Daughter 7 Days Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman
38th March 4, 2023 2022

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