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Riz Ahmed and Carey Mulligan among Spirit Award nominees

Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent
·3 min read

British stars Riz Ahmed and Carey Mulligan are among the nominees for the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Ahmed was recognised in the best male lead category for his portrayal of a punk music drummer struggling with losing his hearing in Sound Of Metal while Mulligan is nominated for Promising Young Woman.

The Crown star Emerald Fennell is up for best director for Promising Young Woman, her directorial debut which sees Mulligan’s Cassie seeking to avenge her best friend’s rape.

Best feature is between First Cow, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Minari, Never Rarely Sometimes Always and Nomadland.

The nominees were announced in a video shared online and hosted by directors Olivia Wilde and Barry Jenkins and actress Laverne Cox.

Ahmed is nominated in the same category as the late Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Adarsh Gourav for The White Tiger, Rob Morgan for Bull and Steven Yeun for Minari.

Mulligan, who has attracted Oscar buzz for her performance, is nominated alongside Nicole Beharie for Miss Juneteenth, Viola Davis for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Sidney Flanigan for Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Julia Garner for The Assistant and Frances McDormand for Nomadland.

Emerald Fennell
Emerald Fennell has been recognised at the Film Independent Spirit Awards for her directorial debut Promising Young Woman (Matt Crossick/PA)

Fennell, who played a young Duchess of Cornwall in The Crown, has won critical acclaim for her work on Promising Young Woman and is also nominated for best screenplay for the film.

The best director category also includes Lee Isaac Chung for Minari, Eliza Hittman for Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Kelly Reichardt for First Cow and Chloe Zhao for Nomadland.

In the supporting categories, actors nominated include Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom stars Glynn Turman and Colman Domingo, Orion Lee for First Cow, Paul Raci for Sound Of Metal and Benedict Wong for Nine Days.

The supporting actress nominees are Alexis Chikaeze for Miss Juneteenth, Valerie Mahaffey for French Exit, Talia Ryder for Never Rarely Sometimes Always and Minari stars Han Ye-ri and Youn Yuh-jung.

Crip Camp, which was produced by the Obamas for Netflix, is up for best documentary alongside Collective, Dick Johnson Is Dead, The Mole Agent and Time.

Sound Of Metal is up for best first feature alongside I Carry You With Me, The Forty-Year-Old Version, Miss Juneteenth and Nine Days.

The John Cassavetes Award goes to the best film made on a budget of under 500,000 dollars (£364,000) and the nominees are The Killing Of Two Lovers, La Leyenda Negra, Lingua Franca, Residue and Saint Frances.

The Robert Altman Award, given to a film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast, went to One Night In Miami.

Michaela Coel
Michaela Coel is up for another award for her work on I May Destroy You (Ian West/PA)

Regina King’s directorial debut stars Kingsley Ben Adir, Aldis Hodge, Eli Goree, and Leslie Odom Jr and tells the story of a fictional meeting of Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, American footballer Jim Brown and Sam Cooke.

In the TV categories, best ensemble cast in a new scripted series was awarded to the stars of Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You.

The drama is also nominated for best new scripted series in a category which includes Sir Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology series.

The Spirit Awards honour the best in independent film and the ceremony usually takes place on the beach at Santa Monica on the eve of the Academy Awards.

However, in a break with tradition, this year the Spirit Awards are set to take place on April 22, the Thursday before Sunday’s Oscars, due to the disruption to the Hollywood calendar caused by the pandemic.