'Nomadland' Sweeps 2021 Independent Spirit Awards, First TV Awards Handed To 'I May Destroy You,' 'Unorthodox'

See you down the road at the Oscars, Nomadland. Chloé Zhao's Western road drama became the unexpected front-runner during this year's awards season, sweeping not only the independent circuit but every single major award. And in its last stop before Academy Awards this season, Nomadland was awarded by the independent film community it hails from, taking the top honors at the 2021 Spirit Awards.

The 36th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, which recognizes the best work in the independent space, awarded Nomadland with the top honor of Best Feature — along with  three other trophies — at its virtual awards show on April 22 hosted by Saturday Night Live's Melissa Villaseñor. It seems like a fitting final stop for Nomadland, which is possibly the most indie Oscar front-runner you could imagine.

For the first time in the Spirit Awards history, television was also celebrated. Taking home the first TV Spirit Awards were critical darlings like HBO's sorely overlooked I May Destroy You and Netflix's incredible limited series Unorthodox.

See the full list of winners below.

Best Feature


First Cow

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom


Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Best Female Lead

Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)

Nicole Beharie (Miss Juneteenth)

Viola Davis (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom)

Sidney Flanigan (Never Rarely Sometimes Always)

Julia Garner (The Assistant)

Frances McDormand (Nomadland)

Someone to Watch Award

Ekwa Msangi  (Farewell Amor)

David Midell (The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain)

Annie Silverstein (Bull)

Best Male Lead

Riz Ahmed (The Sound of Metal)

Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom)

Rob Morgan (Bull)

Steven Yeun (Minari)

Adarsh Gourav (The White Tiger)

Piaget Producers Award

Gerry Kim

Kara Durrett

Lucas Joaquin

Best Director

Chloé Zhao (Nomadland)

Lee Isaac Chung (Minari)

Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)

Eliza Hittman (Never Rarely Sometimes Always)

Kelly Reichardt (First Cow)

Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series

 Immigration Nation

Atlanta's Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children

City So Real

Love Fraud

We're Here

John Cassavetes Award


The Killing of Two Lovers

La Leyenda Negra

Lingua Franca

Saint Frances

Best Cinematography

Joshua James Richards (Nomadland)

Jay Keitel (She Dies Tomorrow)

Shabier Kirchner (Bull)

Michael Latham (The Assistant)

Hélène Louvart (Never Rarely Sometimes Always)

Best International Film

 Quo Vadis, Aida?


The Disciple

Night of the Kings

Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time

Best Editing


I Carry You With Me

The Invisible Man


Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series

 I May Destroy You

Best Male Performance in a New Scripted Series

Amit Rahav (Unorthodox)

Conphidance (Little America)

Adam Ali (Little America)

Nicco Annan (P-Valley)

Harold Torre (Zero, Zero, Zero)

Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series

Shira Haas (Unorthodox)

Elle Fanning (The Great)

Abby McEnany (Work in Progress)

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Never Have I Ever)

Jordan Kristine Seamón (We Are Who We Are)

Best New Scripted Series

 I May Destroy You

Little America

Small Axe

A Teacher


Robert Altman Award

 One Night in Miami

Best Screenplay

 Promising Young Woman

Bad Education


The Half of It

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Best Documentary

 Crip Camp


Dick Johnson Is Dead


The Mole Agent

Best Supporting Male

Paul Raci (Sound of Metal)

Colman Domingo (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom)

Orion Lee (First Cow)

Glynn Turman (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom)

Benedict Wong (Nine Days)

Truer Than Fiction Award

Elegance Bratton (Pier Kids)

Cecilia Aldarondo (Landfall)

Best First Feature

 The Sound of Metal

I Carry You With Me

The 40-Year-Old Version

Miss Juneteenth

Nine Days

Best First Screenplay

Andy Siara (Palm Springs)

Kitty Green (The Assistant)

Noah Hutton (Lapsis)

Channing Godfrey Peoples (Miss Juneteenth)

James Sweeney (Straight Up)

Best Supporting Female

Yuh-jung Youn (Minari)

Alexis Chikaeze (Miss Juneteenth)

Yeri Han (Minari)

Valerie Mahaffey (French Exit)

Talia Ryder (Never Rarely Sometimes Always)