‘Moonlight’ Shines at the Independent Spirit Awards 2017

Anyone who’s seen Moonlight probably walked away from the theater knowing they saw something special. The voters at the Independent Spirit Awards clearly thought so too: Barry Jenkins’ intimate and ambitious drama won six awards at tonight’s ceremony, more than any other film.

Moonlight won the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and the Robert Altman Award, a special prize that is given out to a film’s cast, director and casting director. It is the story of a young boy who becomes an adolescent and then a man, whose story is told in three different acts by three different actors, creating a sense of ongoing transformation and personal evolution.

The Independent Spirit Awards are giving an impressive show of support for a film that, despite widespread acclaim, has largely been overshadowed this Oscars season by La La Land. Damien Chazelle’s nostalgic musical wasn’t eligible for the Independent Spirit Awards but it earned a record 14 Oscar nominations, a feat only matched by Titanic and All About Eve, and is expected to sweep the Academy Awards when they are announced later this weekend. (Moonlight is considered to be the other serious contender for the Best Picture and Best Director awards.)


Also: It Looks Like ‘La La Land’ is the Next ‘The Artist’

The only other film to earn more than one Independent Spirit Award this year was the horror drama The Witch, which took home the trophies for Best First Feature and Best First Feature. The Witch is an eerie and fascinating story about a family of pilgrims living on the edge of colonial America, falling prey to either a supernatural force, or their own sins and secrets.

Other Independent Spirit Awards winners include Casey Affleck, taking home Best Actor for Manchester By The Sea, and Isabelle Huppert, who won Best Actress for Elle. Ben Foster earned the Best Supporting Actor honor for his work in Hell or High Water, and Molly Shannon earned Best Supporting Actor for her heartbreaking turn in Other People.

The complete list of Independent Spirit Award winners is below!

Best Feature:

Moonlight (A24)

Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

Best Director:

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (A24)

Best Screenplay:

Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney (Story By), Moonlight (A24)

Best First Feature:

The Witch (A24)

Director: Robert Eggers

Producers: Daniel Bekerman, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Jodi Redmond, Rodrigo Teixeira

Best First Screenplay:

Robert Eggers, The Witch (A24)

John Cassavetes Award (For best feature made under $500,000):

Spa Night (Strand Releasing)

Writer/Director: Andrew Ahn

Producers: David Ariniello, Giulia Caruso, Ki Jin Kim, Kelly Thomas

Best Supporting Female:

Molly Shannon, Other People (Vertical Entertainment)

Best Supporting Male:

Ben Foster, Hell or High Water (CBS Films/Lionsgate)

Best Female Lead:

Isabelle Huppert, Elle (Sony Pictures Classics)

Best Male Lead:

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (Amazon Studios)

Robert Altman Award:

Moonlight (A24)

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 Cinematography:

James Laxton, Moonlight (A24)

Best Editing:

Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders, Moonlight (A24)

Best International Film:

Toni Erdmann (Germany and Romania– Sony Pictures Classics)

Director: Maren Ade

Best Documentary:

O.J.: Made in America (ESPN Films)

Director/Producer: Ezra Edelman

Producers: Deirdre Fenton, Libby Geist, Nina Krstic, Erin Leyden, Tamara Rosenberg, Connor Schell, Caroline Waterlow

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

Where Oscar Winners Keep Their Oscars:

Top Photo: A24

William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.