Joshua James Richards wins best cinematography at the 2021 Independent Spirit Awards

Apr 23, 2021
(From L-R): Director/Writer Chloé Zhao, Director of Photography Joshua Richardson and Frances McDormand on the set of NOMADLAND. Photo Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Top honours were handed out at the 36th Film Independent Spirit Awards ceremony to NomadlandSound of MetalPromising Young Woman, Unorthodox and I May Destroy YouCrip Camp, Minari, Palm SpringsQuo Vadis, Aida?Residue and Immigration Nation also received awards at the ceremony. British cinematographer Joshua James Richards, won the cinematography award for his lensing of Nomadland.

The virtual ceremony was hosted by SNL breakout star Melissa Villaseñor. In addition to being the celebration that honors artist-driven films and shows that embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision, the Spirit Awards is the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs. Other presenters included: Maria Bakalova, Cate Blanchett, Don Cheadle, Laura Dern, Daveed Diggs, Dominique Fishback, Julia Garner, Kathryn Hahn, Annie Murphy, Kumail Nanjiani, Leslie Odom Jr, Adam Sandler, Lulu Wang, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Renee Zellweger.

This year’s major winners in the film categories were Nomadland which won Best Feature, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Editing; Sound of Metal which won Best First Feature, Best Male Lead and Best Supporting Male; Promising Young Woman which won Best Female Lead and Best Screenplay; Minari which won Best Supporting Female; Palm Springs which won Best First Screenplay; Residue which won the John Cassavetes Award; Crip Camp which won Best Documentary; and Quo Vadis, Aida? which won Best International Film.

For the first time in its history, this year’s Spirit Awards also honoured exceptional content in TV. This year’s major winners in the TV categories were Unorthodox which won Best Female and Male Performance in a New Scripted Series, I May Destroy You which won Best New Scripted Series and Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series; and Immigration Nation which won Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series.

The 14th annual Robert Altman Award was given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. One Night in Miami… director Regina King received this award, along with casting director Kimberly R. Hardin as well as ensemble cast Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, and Leslie Odom Jr.

Previously announced winners of the Spirit Awards grants are Ekwa Msangi who received the Someone to Watch Award, Gerry Kim who received the Producers Award and Elegance Bratton who received the Truer Than Fiction Award

All three grants were supported by Genesis Motor North America. “Genesis is pleased to support these independent voices at the Spirit Awards,” said Mark Del Rosso, President & CEO of Genesis Motor North America. “We want to encourage independent voices to use their stories and films to inspire others all over the world.” As Premier Sponsor, Genesis Motor North America is also supporting the ongoing Film Independent Directors Close-Up series.

The following is a complete list of the winners in the ceremony’s film categories:

Best Cinematography
Joshua James Richards, Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)

Best Feature
Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Chloé Zhao

Best Director
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)

Best Screenplay
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)

Best First Feature
Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
Director: Darius Marder
Producers: Bill Benz, Kathy Benz, Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche

Best First Screenplay
Andy Siara, Palm Springs (NEON/Hulu)

John Cassavetes Award (for best feature made under $500,000):
Writer/Director: Merawi Gerima

Best Supporting Female
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari (A24)

Best Supporting Male
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)

Best Female Lead
Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)

 Best Male Lead
Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)

Robert Altman Award
One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios)
Director: Regina King
Casting Director: Kimberly R. Hardin
Ensemble Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr.

Best Editing
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)

Best International Film
Quo Vadis, Aida? (Cinéart / Indie Sales)
Director: Jasmila Žbanić

Best Documentary
Crip Camp (Netflix)
Directors/Producers: Jim LeBrecht, Nicole Newnham
Producer: Sara Bolder

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