The 2021 Film Independent Spirit Award Noms Are Out; One Night in Miami to Receive Robert Altman Award

One Night In Miami (2020), left, I May Destroy You (2020), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020), The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020)
One Night In Miami (2020), left, I May Destroy You (2020), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020), The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020)
Photo: Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Netflix

It’s time for the awards ceremony that takes itself the least seriously to drop its nominations! In a sea of awards shows, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is always a fun watch (and fun to attend!).


Laverne Cox, Barry Jenkins and Olivia Wilde announced the nominees for the 2021 Spirit Awards on Tuesday morning.

Spirit Awards Nominations 2021 / Film Independent (YouTube)

The network/platform that gets the most bragging rights is Netflix, which racks in 16 noms—a big increase from the 7 it received for the 2020 awards season, per Deadline. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and The Forty-Year-Old Version are a couple of Strong Black Leads with some notable nods.

Of course, due to the global pandemic, everything is different, but one major difference in this year’s Spirit Awards is that it includes TV categories. Additionally, the ceremony has traditionally taken place the Saturday afternoon prior to Oscars’ Sunday, but not in 2021! This year, we’ll be watching the Spirit Awards on a Thursday night, y’all.

That said, do you want to know some of the Black-ass highlights among the nominated hopefuls? I got you!

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is in a few big categories, including Best Feature, Best Female Lead (Viola Davis), Best Male Lead (Chadwick Boseman), and two nominees for Best Supporting Male (Colman Domingo and Glynn Turman).

The Forty-Year-Old Version was nominated for Best First Feature, a great look for writer-director Radha Blank.


Rob Morgan is also in the Best Male Lead Category for his performance in Bull, which is great since I’ve been said he is a qualified leading man!

It was also fabulous to see Miss Juneteenth get some love—the indie flick scored noms in the categories for Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay (Channing Godfrey Peoples), Best Female Lead (Nicole Beharie) and Best Supporting Female (Alexis Chikaeze).


Writer-director Merawi Gerima is in the running for the John Cassavetes Award, which is awarded to the best feature produced with a budget under $500,000. Gerima is also nominated in the Best Editing category.

The Best New Scripted Series category has some exciting hopefuls, such as Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You (which is also the only nominee in the Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series category, so that’s an automatic win!) and Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology film series.


Ekwa Msangi is nominated in the Someone To Watch Award category for her film, Farewell Amor and Elegance Bratton is nominated in the Truer Than Fiction Award category for Pier Kids. Meanwhile, director-producer Garrett Bradley scored a Best Documentary nom for her film, Time.

Lastly, Regina King’s feature directorial debut One Night In Miami has been named the recipient of the Robert Altman Award, which is given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast.


Congrats to the nominees!


You can check out the complete list of nominees at The 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 22 at 10:00 p.m. ET on IFC and will stream via AMC Plus.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.