The 2018 Indie Spirit Awards Nominations Are Full Of Happy Surprises

The 2018 Independent Spirit Awards nominations were revealed today, and, at least to me, this is the most "indie" the nominees have been in a long time. There seems to have been a concerted effort to get closer to the event's roots, and we see that in some of the movies that got left out.

Coming away with the most nominations with six was Luca Guadagnino's beloved summer romance, Call Me By Your Name. The film has been earning incredible reviews since it debuted at Sundance and has appeared like an obvious Best Picture frontrunner for months. Following closely behind with five nominations were Jordan Peele's Get Out and, surprisingly, the Safdie Brothers' gritty crime flick, Good Time. Greta Gerwig's skyrocketing Lady Bird came away with four nominations, more on that in a sec, tied with The Rider which has only played at TIFF. Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri finished up with three, as well as the excellent low-key drama Columbus, while Sean Baker's The Florida Project had two, and yeah I'll comment on those right now.

First off, I'm absolutely ecstatic to see that Columbus, one of my favorite movies of the year and a gorgeous dramatic masterpiece from Kogonada, earned three nominations. I'm sad none of them were for stars Haley Lu Richardson and John Cho, but I'll deal if it gets this amazing film more attention.

Get Out and Call Me By Your Name doing so well was a given, although I remain perplexed by all the love for Guadagnino's film. Maybe I'm missing something other than the terrific, honest portrayals by Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet, but then our reviewer Mae Abdulbaki wasn't too crazy about it, either.

Good Time, which saw Robert Pattinson go street for the first time in his career, felt like it should be an indie darling, and it was treated as such. I'm still surprised by the honors it received, though; not just Pattinson but co-star (and co-director) Benny Safie and newcomer Teliah Lennice Webster.

I'm disappointed we didn't see Danielle MacDonald's fiery hip-hop performance in Patti Cake$ get some love, but then the same could be said for both Brooklynn Prince and Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project. I could see maybe snubbing Prince due to her age, but there's no excuse leaving out Dafoe who is an absolute hero in a triumphant movie.

Nothing for Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water or Taylor Sheridan's Wind River? Both are indie favorites with reviews to match, but I don't know if they seem too much like studio movies to the voters? In terms of economics they fall within the awards guidelines, so maybe we'll learn more about the decision-making process here. Actually, we probably won't.

Even though Lady Bird earned four nominations, part of me still feels it's a bit of a disappointment. Is that crazy? The film is a box office giant by arthouse standards, with word-of-mouth carrying it to genuine Oscars consideration. I thought there would be more, that's all, like Gerwig for Best Director?

The full list of nominees is below. The Indie Spirits will be held on March 3rd 2018.
(Award given to the producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)     
Call Me by Your Name         
Producers: Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges, Rodrigo Teixeira, Marco Morabito, James Ivory, Howard Rosenman 
The Florida Project  
Producers: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch, Kevin Chinoy, Andrew Duncan, Alex Saks, Francesca Silvestri, Shih-Ching Tsou
Get Out          
Producers: Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., Sean McKittrick, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird      
Producers: Eli Bush, Evelyn O’Neill, Scott Rudin
The Rider      
Producers: Mollye Asher, Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, Chloé Zhao
(Award given to the director and producer)
ColumbusDirector: Kogonada
Producers: Danielle Renfrew Behrens, Aaron Boyd, Giulia Caruso, Ki Jin Kim, Andrew Miano, Chris Weitz
Ingrid Goes WestDirector: Matt Spicer
Producers: Jared Ian Goldman, Adam Mirels, Robert Mirels, Aubrey Plaza, Tim White, Trevor White
MenasheDirector/Producer: Joshua Z. Weinstein
Producers: Yoni Brook, Traci Carlson, Daniel Finkelman, Alex Lipschultz
Oh Lucy!Director/Producer: Atsuko Hirayanagi
Producers: Jessica Elbaum, Yukie Kito, Han West
Patti Cake$Director: Geremy Jasper
Producers: Chris Columbus, Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Noah Stahl, Rodrigo Teixeira
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.)
DayveonWriter/Director/Producer: Amman Abbasi
Writer: Steven Reneau
Producers: Lachion Buckingham, Alexander Uhlmann 
A Ghost StoryWriter/Director: David Lowery
Producers: Adam Donaghey, Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston 
Life and nothing moreWriter/Director: Antonio Méndez Esparza
Producers: Amadeo Hernández Bueno, Alvaro Portanet Hernández, Pedro Hernández Santos
Most Beautiful IslandWriter/Director/Producer: Ana Asensio
Producers: Larry Fessenden, Noah Greenberg, Chadd Harbold, Jenn Wexler
The TransfigurationWriter/Director: Michael O’Shea
Producer: Susan Leber 
Sean BakerThe Florida Project     
Jonas CarpignanoA Ciambra       
Luca GuadagninoCall Me by Your Name           
Jordan PeeleGet Out          
Benny SafdieJosh SafdieGood Time     
Chloé ZhaoThe Rider       
Greta GerwigLady Bird         
Azazel JacobsThe Lovers      
Martin McDonaghThree Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri  
Jordan PeeleGet Out           
Mike WhiteBeatriz at Dinner
Kris AvedisianStory By: Kyle Espeleta, Jesse WakemanDonald Cried  
Emily V. Gordon, Kumail NanjianiThe Big Sick  
Ingrid JungermannWomen Who Kill
David Branson Smith, Matt SpicerIngrid Goes West
 Thimios BakatakisThe Killing of a Sacred Deer  
Elisha ChristianColumbus        
Hélène LouvartBeach Rats     
Sayombhu MukdeepromCall Me by Your Name          
Joshua James RichardsThe Rider
Ronald Bronstein, Benny SafdieGood Time 
Walter FasanoCall Me by Your Name          
Alex O’FlinnThe Rider
Gregory PlotkinGet Out          
Tatiana S. RiegelI, Tonya          
Salma HayekBeatriz at Dinner        
Frances McDormandThree Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
 Margot RobbieI, Tonya
Saoirse RonanLady Bird        
Shinobu TerajimaOh Lucy!                  
Regina WilliamsLife and nothing more 
Timothée ChalametCall Me by Your Name
Harris DickinsonBeach Rats     
James FrancoThe Disaster Artist 
Daniel KaluuyaGet Out          
Robert PattinsonGood Time      
Holly HunterThe Big Sick 
Allison JanneyI, Tonya          
Laurie MetcalfLady Bird                    
Lois SmithMarjorie Prime
Taliah Lennice WebsterGood Time
Nnamdi AsomughaCrown Heights                       
Armie HammerCall Me by Your Name          
Barry KeoghanThe Killing of a Sacred Deer 
Sam RockwellThree Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri    
Benny SafdieGood Time 
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast
MudboundDirector: Dee Rees
Casting Directors: Billy Hopkins, Ashley Ingram
Ensemble Cast: Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Rob Morgan, Carey Mulligan 
BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)
The DepartureDirector/Producer: Lana Wilson
Faces PlacesDirectors: Agnés Varda, JR
Producer: Rosalie Varda
Last Men in AleppoDirector: Feras Fayyad
Producers: Kareem Abeed, Søeren Steen Jespersen, Stefan Kloos
MotherlandDirector/Producer: Ramona S. Diaz
Producer: Rey Cuerdo 
QuestDirector: Jonathan Olshefski
Producer: Sabrina Schmidt Gordon
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
BPM (Beats Per Minute)France
Director: Robin Campillo
A Fantastic WomanChile
Director: Sebastián Lelio 
I Am Not a WitchZambia
Director: Rungano Nyoni 
Lady MacbethU.K.
Director: William Oldroyd 
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev 
BONNIE AWARD – Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo joined American Airlines in 1973 at age 24, becoming the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. In her honor, the inaugural Bonnie Award will recognize a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines.
So Yong KimLynn SheltonChloé Zhao
JEEP TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 23rd annual Truer Than Fiction Award, funded by the Jeep brand, 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 the Jeep brand.
Shevaun MizrahiDirector of Distant Constellation         
Jonathan OlshefskiDirector of Quest        
Jeff UnayDirector of The Cage Fighter
KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 24th annual Someone to Watch Award, funded 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.
Amman AbbasiDirector of Dayveon 
Justin ChonDirector of Gook         
Kevin PhillipsDirector of Super Dark Times 
PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 21st annual Producers Award, funded 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. 
Giulia Caruso & Ki Jin KimBen LeClairSummer Shelton