Birdman, Boyhood, Whiplash Nab 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Boyhood Poster“Birdman,” “Boyhood” and “Whiplash” are among the films nominated for 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards, produced by Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also helms the Los Angeles Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA.

At a press conference held this morning, Film Independent President Josh Welsh, along with Rosario Dawson and Diego Luna, presented the nominations. Nominees for Best Feature included “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” “Boyhood,” “Love is Strange,” “Selma” and “Whiplash.”

“As we celebrate 30 years of great independent film,” said Welsh in a press release, “this year’s nominees are an astonishingly strong group of films and filmmakers which demonstrate the uniqueness of vision we honor at this show.”

“Inherent Vice” was selected to receive the Robert Altman Award, which is bestowed upon one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. The Altman Award was created in 2008 in honor of legendary director Robert Altman who was known for creating extraordinary ensemble casts.

“Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’ is a testament to the spirit of Altman’s tradition of artistic collaboration,” said Welsh. “The film features an exquisite ensemble of actors masterfully directed and cast.”

Film Independent also awarded a Special Distinction Award to Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” for its uniqueness of vision, honesty of direction and screenwriting, superb acting and achievement on every level of filmmaking. Due to Spirit Awards guidelines, “Inherent Vice” and “Foxcatcher” were not eligible for individual nominations.

Winners will be announced at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 21, 2015. The awards ceremony will be held as a daytime luncheon in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. This year the show will broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 2 PM PT/ 5 PM ET.

Winners of the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants will be highlighted during the awards ceremony and announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants and Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 10, 2015, at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood.

From the Press Release: The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees selected nominees from 341 submissions this year and applied the following guidelines in determining the nominations: uniqueness of vision, original and provocative subject matter, economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost and individual compensation) and percentage of financing from independent sources. The Spirit Awards Nominating Committees are comprised of writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, actors, critics, casting directors, film festival programmers and other working film professionals.

Over the past 30 years the Film Independent Spirit Awards has made a name for itself as the premiere awards show for the independent film community. Artists who have received industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Joel and Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams, Lena Dunham and many more.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors Piaget, The Lincoln Motor Company, Bank of America, Heineken and IFC. T-Mobile is the Official Arrivals Show Sponsor and FIJI Water is the Official Water of the 2015 Spirit Awards. WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent.


(Award given to the Producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)

  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
    Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole
  • Boyhood
    Producers: Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland
  • Love is Strange
    Producers: Lucas Joaquin, Lars Knudsen, Ira Sachs, Jayne Baron Sherman, Jay Van Hoy
  • Selma
    Producers: Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey
  • Whiplash
    Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michael Litvak


  • Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
  • Ava DuVernay, Selma
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Richard Linklater, Boyhood
  • David Zellner, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter


  • Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, Big Eyes
  • J.C. Chandor, A Most Violent Year
  • Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
  • Jim Jarmusch, Only Lovers Left Alive
  • Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias, Love is Strange

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)

  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
    Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
    Producers: Justin Begnaud, Sina Sayyah
  • Dear White People
    Director/Producer: Justin Simien
    Producers: Effie T. Brown, Ann Le, Julia Lebedev, Angel Lopez, Lena Waithe
  • Nightcrawler
    Director: Dan Gilroy
    Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak
  • Obvious Child
    Director: Gillian Robespierre
    Producer: Elisabeth Holm
  • She’s Lost Control
    Director/Producer: Anja Marquardt
    Producers: Mollye Asher, Kiara C. Jones


  • Desiree Akhavan, Appropriate Behavior
  • Sara Colangelo, Little Accidents
  • Justin Lader, The One I Love
  • Anja Marquardt, She’s Lost Control
  • Justin Simien, Dear White People

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.

  • Blue Ruin
    Writer/Director: Jeremy Saulnier
    Producers: Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani
  • It Felt Like Love
    Writer/Director/Producer: Eliza Hittman
    Producers: Shrihari Sathe, Laura Wagner
  • Land Ho!
    Writers/Directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens
    Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy
  • Man From Reno
    Writer/Director: Dave Boyle
    Writers: Joel Clark, Michael Lerman
    Producer: Ko Mori
  • Test
    Writer/Director/Producer: Chris Mason Johnson
    Producer: Chris Martin


  • Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant
  • Rinko Kikuchi, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
  • Julianne Moore, Still Alice
  • Jenny Slate, Obvious Child
  • Tilda Swinton, Only Lovers Left Alive


  • André Benjamin, Jimi: All Is By My Side
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
  • Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • John Lithgow, Love is Strange
  • David Oyelowo, Selma


  • Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  • Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
  • Carmen Ejogo, Selma
  • Andrea Suarez Paz, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
  • Emma Stone, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)


  • Riz Ahmed, Nightcrawler
  • Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  • Alfred Molina, Love is Strange
  • Edward Norton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • J.K. Simmons, Whiplash


  • Darius Khondji, The Immigrant
  • Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Sean Porter, It Felt Like Love
  • Lyle Vincent, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
  • Bradford Young, Selma


  • Sandra Adair, Boyhood
  • Tom Cross, Whiplash
  • John Gilroy, Nightcrawler
  • Ron Patane, A Most Violent Year
  • Adam Wingard, The Guest

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

  • 20,000 Days on Earth
    Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
    Producers: Dan Bowen, James Wilson
    Director/Producer: Laura Poitras
    Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky
  • Stray Dog
    Director: Debra Granik
    Producer: Anne Rosellini
  • The Salt of the Earth
    Directors: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders
    Producer: David Rosier
  • Virunga
    Director/Producer: Orlando von Einsiedel
    Producer: Joanna Natasegara

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)

  • Force Majeure (Sweden)
    Director: Ruben Östlund
  • Ida (Poland)
    Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
  • Leviathan (Russia)
    Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
  • Mommy (Canada)
    Director: Xavier Dolan
  • Norte, the End of History (Philippines)
    Director: Lav Diaz
  • Under the Skin (United Kingdom)
    Director: Jonathan Glazer

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

  • Inherent Vice
    Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
    Casting Director: Cassandra Kulukundis
    Ensemble Cast: Josh Brolin, Martin Donovan, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Joaquin Phoenix, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio Del Toro, Katherine Waterston, Michael Kenneth Williams, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon


  • Foxcatcher
    Director/Producer: Bennett Miller
    Producers: Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik
    Writers: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
    Actors: Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum

18th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 18th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, 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.

  • Chad Burris
  • Elisabeth Holm
  • Chris Ohlson

21st ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 21st annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, 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.

  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
    Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
  • H.
    Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia
  • The Retrieval
    Director: Chris Eska

20th ANNUAL LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 20th annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters.

  • Approaching the Elephant
    Director: Amanda Rose Wilder
  • Evolution of a Criminal
    Director: Darius Clark Monroe
  • The Kill Team
    Director: Dan Krauss
  • The Last Season
    Director: Sara Dosa


5 responses to “Birdman, Boyhood, Whiplash Nab 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards”

  1. Kampusbet Avatar

    keep the indie movies rocks…

  2. Armagh B Avatar

    I’ve been meaning to catch up on some independent films. Really appreciate the list, keep up the good work!

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  5. Alex Avatar

    Love me some independent film: Indie Film Hustle

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