Moonlight, American Honey lead Film Independent Spirit Awards nominations
Barry Jenkins' coming-of-self drama Moonlight and the millennial road trip American Honey earned six nominations to lead all contenders for the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
The Spirit awards are presented annually to the finest independently produced films budgeted under $20 million. The ceremony is traditionally held a day before the Academy Awards, in an irreverent event under an industrial tent on Santa Monica Beach.
In addition to being the coolest award show around, the Spirits have also become a steady predictor of Oscars success. Over the past three years, the Spirits winners for best feature film - 12 Years a Slave, Birdman and Spotlight - also claimed the best picture Oscar.
Moonlight and American Honey were joined as best feature film finalists by Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea starring Casey Affleck, Jackie starring Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy, and Chronic, with Tim Roth portraying an in-home nurse treating terminally ill patients.
Manchester by the Sea is schedule to open in Tampa Bay theaters on Dec. 9. Jacie is due on Dec. 21. No local release date has been set for Chronic.
Jenkins, an FSU graduate raised in Miami, earned a best director nomination alongside Andrea Arnold (American Honey), Pablo Larrain (Jackie), Jeff Nichols (Loving) and Kelly Reichart (Certain Women).
Affleck and Roth are best male actor finalists, joined by Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), Jesse Plemons (Certain People) and David Harewood (Free in Deed).
Portman is joined in the best female actor comepetion by American Honey's breakout star Sasha Lane, Annette Bening (20th Century Women), Isabelle Huppert (Elle), and Loving star Ruth Negga.
Notable omissions included every actor from the cast of Moonlight, including Oscar contenders Mahershala Ali and Naomi Harris, as a mentoring drug dealer and crack addicted mother. However, the cast has already been voted the Robert Altman Award for best ensemble,