Film Independent Spirit Awards 2021 Winners: The Complete List

Check out the list of winners from the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards, hosted by SNL's Melissa Villaseñor.

By Alyssa Morin, Ryan Gajewski Apr 23, 2021 4:00 AMTags
Watch: Oscars 2021 Noms: Carey Mulligan, Riz Ahmed & More British Stars

And the winner goes to...

Hollywood's biggest and brightest stars celebrated the crème de la crème of the entertainment industry at the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards on Thursday, April 22.

Nomadland was the major standout, nabbing four prizes including Best Feature, in addition to Best Director for Chloé Zhao. The drama heads into this weekend's Oscars ceremony as the likely front-runnner in both categories. 

Riz Ahmed won Best Male Lead for Sound of Metal, and in his acceptance speech, he offered encouragement for anyone who has endured hardship throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

"Sound of Metal is about how a health crisis can throw your life off track, and on the other side of that, there can be a lot of discomfort but also some clarity," he shared. "And for everyone who's gone through some upheaval this year, I wish you peace on the other side of it."

In accepting the Best Female Lead trophy for Promising Young Woman, Carey Mulligan dedicated the award to actress Helen McCrory, who died on April 16 at age 52 after battling cancer. 

"I just want to dedicate this award to a true independent spirit—an actress that I have looked up to and will continue to look up to for the rest of my career, Helen McCrory," Carey said. "Thank you to her for everything she gave us."

And even though the pandemic has temporarily kicked traditional award shows to the curb, this year's ceremony offered a night to remember with its interactive visual experience.

However, that wasn't the only change-up this evening. For the first time in history, the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards recognized performances in television, as well as streaming, with some of the nominees including I May Destroy You, Little America and Unorthodox.

Film Independent Spirit Awards 2020: Red Carpet Fashion

As for the movie leading the film categories ahead of this year's ceremony? That honor went to Eliza Hittman's Never Rarely Sometimes Always. The movie earned seven nominations total, including Best Director, Best Feature and Best Screenplay, although it didn't prevail in any of its categories.

But that's enough lip action! Ready to see who took home an award? Keep on scrolling to see the complete list of the winners.

Best Feature

First Cow

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom


Never Rarely Sometimes Always

WINNER: Nomadland

Best First Feature

I Carry You With Me

The Forty-Year-Old Version

Miss Juneteenth

Nine Days

WINNER: Sound Of Metal

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari

Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Eliza Hittman, Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Kelly Reichardt, First Cow

WINNER: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland


Best Screenplay

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari

WINNER: Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Eliza Hittman, Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Mike Makowsky, Bad Education

Alice Wu, The Half of It

Best First Screenplay

Kitty Green, The Assistant

Noah Hutton, Lapsis

Channing Godfrey Peoples, Miss Juneteenth

WINNER: Andy Siara, Palm Springs

James Sweeney, Straight Up

John Cassavetes Award

The Killing Of Two Lovers

La Leyenda Negra

Lingua Franca

WINNER: Residue

Saint Frances

Focus Features

Best Male Lead

WINNER: Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Adarsh Gourav, The White Tiger

Rob Morgan, Bull

Steven Yeun, Minari

Best Female Lead

Nicole Beharie, Miss Juneteenth

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Sidney Flanigan, Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Julia Garner, The Assistant

Frances McDormand, Nomadland

WINNER: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Male

Colman Domingo, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Orion Lee, First Cow

WINNER: Paul Raci, Sound of Metal

Glynn Turman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Benedict Wong, Nine Days

Best Supporting Female

Alexis Chikaeze, Miss Juneteenth

Yeri Han, Minari

Valerie Mahaffey, French Exit

Talia Ryder, Never Rarely Sometimes Always

WINNER: Yuh-jung Youn, Minari

Josh Ethan Johnson/A24

Best Cinematography

Jay Keitel, She Dies Tomorrow

Shabier Kirchner, Bull

Michael Latham, The Assistant

Hélène Louvart, Never Rarely Sometimes Always

WINNER: Joshua James Richards, Nomadland

Best Editing

Andy Canny, The Invisible Man

Scott Cummings, Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Merawi Gerima, Residue

Enat Sidi, I Carry You With Me

WINNER: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Best International Film

Bacurau (Brazil)

The Disciple (India)

Night Of The Kings (Ivory Coast)

Preparations To Be Together For An Unknown Period Of Time (Hungary)

WINNER: Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia And Herzegovina)

Best Documentary


WINNER: Crip Camp

Dick Johnson Is Dead

The Mole Agent


Amazon Studios

Robert Altman Award

One Night In Miami

Producers Award

Kara Durrett

Lucas Joaquin

WINNER: Gerry Kim

Someone To Watch Award

David Midell, The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain

WINNER: Ekwa Msangi, Farewell Amor

Annie Silverstein, Bull

Truer Than Fiction Award

Cecilia Aldarondo, Landfall

WINNER: Elegance Bratton, Pier Kids

Elizabeth Lo, Stray

Best New Non-Scripted Or Documentary Series

Atlanta’s Missing And Murdered: The Lost Children

City So Real

WINNER: Immigration Nation

Love Fraud

We’re Here

Best New Scripted Series

WINNER: I May Destroy You

Little America

Small Axe

A Teacher


Natalie Seery/HBO

Best Female Performance In A New Scripted Series

Elle Fanning, The Great

WINNER: Shira Haas, Unorthodox

Abby McEnany, Work in Progress

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Never Have I Ever

Jordan Kristine Seamón, We Are Who We Are

Best Male Performance In A New Scripted Series

Adam Ali, Little America

Nicco Annan, P-Valley

Conphidance, Little America

WINNER: Amit Rahav, Unorthodox

Harold Torres, ZeroZeroZero

Best Ensemble Cast In A New Scripted Series

I May Destroy You

Watch Daily Pop weekdays at 11 a.m., only on E!.