“Mank” is the big leader at the 2021 Oscars with 10 nominations, but that wasn’t the case at the 36th Film Independent Spirit Awards. The nomination leader at this ceremony was Eliza Hittman’s acclaimed “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which the Academy shut out from the Oscars. The same goes for other beloved Spirit Award nominees like “First Cow,” “Miss Juneteenth,” and “The Assistant.” In other words, the Indie Spirit Awards were a breath of fresh air in this elongated awards season where underdog indie contenders finally get their due in the spotlight.

“Minari” also preformed strong at the Indie Spirits, earning six nominations to match its six Oscar nominations. Fellow Oscar nominees “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Nomadland” each picked up five Spirit Award nominations. Netflix was the most nominated studio with 16 nominations, followed by Focus Features with 10 and A24 with 9.

“Nomadland” was the big winner, taking home the prizes for Best Feature and Best Director, plus Best Editing. “I tried to focus on the human experience and things that I feel go beyond political statements to be more universal — the loss of a loved one, searching for home,” Zhao told IndieWire last year about her awards darling. “I keep thinking about my family back in China — how would they feel about a cowboy in South Dakota, or a woman in her 60s living in America? If I make it too specific to any issues, I know it’s going to create a barrier. They’d go, ‘That’s their problem.’”

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