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We the Animals, documentary filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar’s narrative debut about a mixed-race family with three young sons in upstate New York and based on Justin Torres’ 2011 debut novel of the same name, went into the 2019 Independent Spirit Awards with the most nominations, five, but left the ceremony on Saturday empty-handed, failing to win any of the honors for which it was nominated.
Instead, the pre-Oscars event celebrated a number of Academy Awards nominees and other awards season favorites, with Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, up for three Oscars, snagged the top prizes of best feature and best director for Barry Jenkins, just two years after Jenkins’ Moonlight took home both awards. Best supporting actress Oscar nominee Regina King also received the best supporting female Spirit Award.
Other Oscar nominees that prevailed at the Spirit Awards included Glenn Close (female lead), Can You Ever Forgive Me? (best screenplay and supporting male Richard E. Grant) and Roma (best international film).
And while Oscar hopefuls that were overlooked for Academy Award nominations, like First Reformed‘s Ethan Hawke and Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? documentary, took home Spirit Awards, numerous multiple Spirit Award nominees were shut out, including three-time nominees Leave No Trace (though director Debra Granik did receive the Bonnie Award at a ceremony in January), Private Life, The Tale and Wildlife.
High-profile double nominees that went home empty-handed include Hale County This Morning, This Evening and Hereditary.
And while Bo Burnham’s screenplay for Eighth Grade won, and the Elsie Fisher-starrer got a few shout-outs during the awards show, the A24 film lost out on the three other honors for which it was nominated. Fellow four-time nominee You Were Never Really Here also only won one of the four awards for which it was nominated, for editing, even though star Joaquin Phoenix received a couple of mentions from the stage.