The 36th Film Independent Spirit Awards are set to take place this week as a welcome reprieve to this elongated Oscar season. Unlike the Academy Awards, where David Fincher’s “Mank” reigns supreme with 10 nominations, the 2021 Indie Spirit Awards are dominated by Eliza Hittman’s “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which was shut out of the Oscar nominations. “Never Rarely” boasts seven Spirit Award nominations this year, including Best Feature and Best Director.
Unlike the Oscars, the Spirit Awards also boast a Best First Feature category to honor the greatest directorial debuts of the last year. The 2021 nominees in this category are “I Carry You With Me,” “The 40 Year Old Version,” “Sound of Metal,” “Miss Juneteenth,” and “Nine Days.” Only “Sound of Metal” broke into the Oscars among these nominees.
As always, the budget cutoff for films to be eligible for the Spirit Awards is $22.5 million. For this reason, several high profile Netflix Oscar nominees such as “The Trial of the Chicago 7″ and “Mank” were not eligible for the 2021 ceremony. Netflix still managed to dominate the Spirit Awards with nominations for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” which is nominated in the Best Feature category. Netflix is the 2021 Spirit Awards’ most nominated studio with 16 nominations, followed by Focus Features with 10 and A24 with 9.