“Moonlight” gets its just desserts — Indie Spirit wins

moonb1“Moonlight” was the big winner at last night’s Independent Spirit Awards. And for my money, that’s where this splendid film belonged in the accolades arena all along.

Indie in origin, indie in casting (save for Naomie Harris), indie in feel. Very good-not-quite-great film, but only an Oscar front-runner if you’re grading on the curve.

It won best ensemble, best picture honors.

Casey Affleck won best actor for “Manchester by the Sea,” another intimate small-scale picture that is this award’s bread and butter.

Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”) won best actress, Molly Shannon (“Other People”) was a surprise winner for beset supporting actress.

Great to see Ben Foster get some recognition for “Hell or High Water,” a top drawer late summer thriller that got a nice awards season bounce.

All docs are “indie” in nature, so giving one to “O.J.” seems a waste. “I Am Not Your Negro” is better. And “Toni Erdmann” isn’t the best foreign language film of last year, not by a long shot. But there you are.

BEST FEATURE

Moonlight
Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

BEST MALE LEAD

Casey Affleck
Manchester by the Sea

BEST FEMALE LEAD

Isabelle Huppert
Elle

BEST DIRECTOR

Barry Jenkins
Moonlight

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

Molly Shannon
Other People

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
(Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)

Moonlight
Director: Barry Jenkins
Casting Director: Yesi Ramirez
Ensemble Cast: Mahershala Ali, Patrick Decile, Naomie Harris, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM

Toni Erdmann (Germany and Romania)
Director: Maren Ade

BEST SCREENPLAY

Moonlight
Barry Jenkins
Story By Tarell Alvin McCraney

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)

Spa Night
Writer/Director: Andrew Ahn
Producers: David Ariniello, Giulia Caruso, Ki Jin Kim, Kelly Thomas

BEST DOCUMENTARY

O.J.: Made In America
Director/Producer: Ezra Edelman
Producers: Nina Krstic, Tamara Rosenberg, Caroline Waterlow

BEST FIRST FEATURE

The Witch
Director: Robert Eggers
Producers: Daniel Bekerman, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Jodi Redmond, Rodrigo Teixeira

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Moonlight
James Laxton

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

The Witch
Robert Eggers

BEST SUPPORTING MALE

Ben Foster
Hell or High Water

BEST EDITING

Moonlight
Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders

PIAGET 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 funded by Piaget.)

Jordana Mollick

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
(Presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.)

Nanfu Wang
Director of Hooligan Sparrow

KIEHL’S 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 funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.)

Anna Rose Holmer
Director of The Fits

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