Independent Spirit Awards are Saturday(2/25) at 5PM EST (IFC-TV)- It is typically my favorite of the “other” award shows with its loose atmosphere and irreverent overall attitude.   I won’t spam everyone on Facebook during this so if you care what I think about it as it unfolds, find me on twitter (@jjtierney)

I’ll do the same for Academy Awards hopefully by Friday night.

Will Win = My Prediction

Should Win = My Preference.


I’ve seen most of the nominated films so here are this year’s fearless predictions.


Best Feature

  • Moonlight  (Will Win/Should Win) 
  • American Honey
  • Chronic
  • Jackie
  • Manchester By The Sea

Don’t be surprised if Manchester By The Sea comes out though.  Moonlight is tremendous and a perfect movie for these awards but so is Manchester By The Sea which is not quite bombastic enough for Oscar so you may see some blowback.  American Honey could have been a contender but it was way too long (strike one, and Shia LaBeouf is in it, strike two)


Best First Feature

  • Swiss Army Man (Will Win)
  • Other People (Should Win)
  • The Childhood of a Leader
  • The Fits
  • The Witch

Swiss Army Man is one entertaining and deeply philosophically dense fart joke into madness.  I love the choices Paul Dano makes in picking his roles and I loved the movie for a bunch of reasons.  That said,  Other People is a small character driven film and the kind of film that I personally tend to gravitate to.


Best Director

  • BARRY JENKINS – Moonlight (Will Win/Should Win)
  • ANDREA ARNOLD – American Honey
  • PABLO LARRAÍN – Jackie
  • JEFF NICHOLS – Loving
  • KELLY REICHARDT – Certain Women

Moonlight is going to own the indie spirit awards.  I think they MAY sneak Andrea Arnold in there, but like I said, American Honey is just too long and can be seen as pretentious and self-indulgent, if such a thing is even possible in at the Indie spirits.


Best Screenplay

  • KENNETH LONERGAN – Manchester by the Sea  (Will Win/Should Win)
  • BARRY JENKINS, TARELL ALVIN McCRANEY (story by) – Moonlight
  • MIKE MILLS – 20th Century Women
  • TAYLOR SHERIDAN – Hell or High Water

Kenneth Lonergan is a respected playwright, it shows in this film, he wins this one going away.  Ill be stunned if anyone else gets this.


Best First Screenplay

  • ROBERT EGGERS – The Witch (Will Win)
  • CHRIS KELLY – Other People  (Should Win)
  • STELLA MEGHIE – Jean of the Joneses
  • CRAIG SHILOWICH – Christine

Everyone seems to love The Witch for this.  I loved Other People, I wish I could have written something like that.



Best Male Lead

  • CASEY AFFLECK – Manchester by the Sea (Will Win/Should Win)
  • DAVID HAREWOOD – Free In Deed
  • VIGGO MORTENSEN – Captain Fantastic
  • JESSE PLEMONS – Other People
  • TIM ROTH – Chronic

Affleck is going to win.  His performance in Manchester was brilliant.  It’s hard to maintain that level of pain throughout a full feature I think.  He will win, he deserves to win.  But god, I know you didn’t see Chronic but holy cow did Tim Roth knock it out of the oddball park.  I don’t think he’s on the radar for that but I think it’s one of the great performances of the year.


Best Female Lead

  • ISABELLE HUPPERT – Elle (Will Win/Should Win)
  • ANNETTE BENING – 20th Century Women
  • SASHA LANE – American Honey
  • RUTH NEGGA – Loving

The Meryl Streep of France wins this one.   What a dark twisted soul in an imperfect but well done psychological drama disguised as a rape revenge movie.   Huppert tears it UP in Elle.  The movie is good because of her.  This for me was an easy pick given this list, but it would have been WAY harder had Tilda Swinton been on it.


Best Supporting Male

  • LUCAS HEDGES – Manchester by the Sea (Will Win/Should Win)
  • RALPH FIENNES – A Bigger Splash
  • BEN FOSTER – Hell or High Water
  • SHIA LaBEOUF – American Honey
  • CRAIG ROBINSON – Morris From America

Boy do I want to say Ralph Fiennes wins this.  He was over the top in a most pleasing way in A Bigger Splash but I agree with the conventional wisdon in giving this to Lucas Hedges.  What a mature and deep performance in Manchester.  Don’t be surprised by a Ben Foster upset though.


Best Supporting Female

  • MOLLY SHANNON – Other People (Will Win/Should Win)
  • EDWINA FINDLEY – Free In Deed
  • PAULINA GARCIA – Little Men
  • LILY GLADSTONE – Certain Women
  • RILEY KEOUGH – American Honey

I looked at this category as a chance for a dark horse.   So I am going out on a limb and calling it for a movie that apparently only I saw.  Molly Shannon shows amazing humor of course, but also such remarkable depth and honesty in her role as the dying mother in Other People.  Every note in the performance is credible and heartbreaking.   If this one is right, I will be THRILLED.


Best Cinematography

  • JAMES LAXTON – Moonlight  (Will Win)
  • ROBBIE RYAN – American Honey (Should Win)
  • AVA BERKOFSKY – Free In Deed
  •  LOL CRAWLEY – The Childhood of a Leader
  • ZACH KUPERSTEIN – The Eyes of My Mother


Best Editing

  • JOI McMILLON, NAT SANDERS – Moonlight  (Will Win/Should Win)
  • MATTHEW HANNAM – Swiss Army Man
  • JENNIFER LAME – Manchester by the Sea
  • JAKE ROBERTS – Hell or High Water


Best International Film

  • TONI ERDMANN (Germany/Romania) (Will Win)
  • AQUARIUS (Brazil)
  • CHEVALIER (Greece)
  • MY GOLDEN DAYS (France)
  • UNDER THE SHADOW (UK/Qatar/Jordan)


Best Documentary

  • O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA (Will Win)
  • 13th

I agree with Paul Doherty, OJ: Made In America is a 7 hour slow burn. I haven’t seen all the nominees as I write this but I can’t imagine one better than this.


John Cassavetes Award

(Award given to the best feature made for under $500,000; award given to the writer, director, and producer)

  • SPA NIGHT (Will Win)