‘Zola,’ A24 lead indie spirit award nominations

‘The Novice,’ a sports drama and psychological thriller, also picked up five nods

The Film Independent Spirit Awards, Hollywood’s leading indie film honors, stayed true to its name this year, bestowing a leading seven nominations to Janicza Bravo’s wild road trip saga “Zola,” including best feature, best director and best female lead for Taylour Paige. “The Novice,” a sports drama and psychological thriller, followed with five.

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Nominations for the 37th edition of the awards were announced Tuesday morning by Naomi Watts, Regina Hall and Beanie Feldstein.

“Zola,” which was based on a viral twitter thread, was nominated for best feature alongside “The Novice,” “A Chiara,” “C’mon C’mon,” and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Elena Ferrante adaptation, “The Lost Daughter,” which picked up four nods, including director, screenplay and supporting female actor for Jessie Buckley.

It was a good morning overall for “Zola” studio and distributor A24, whose films received a total 13 nominations. A24’s slate included “The Humans,” Mike Mills’ “C’mon C’mon,” which got best director and screenplay, and the past-his-prime adult entertainer drama “Red Rocket,” which got best male lead for Simon Rex. Neon, which distributed “A Chiara” and “Pig,” and Netflix, which is behind “Passing” and “The Lost Daughter,” both got nine.

Historically, the Spirit Awards are held on the Saturday afternoon before the Oscars, but this year it will take place on the evening of March 6, a few weeks before the Oscars on March 27. After going virtual earlier this year, the show is returning to an in-person event, beachside in Santa Monica.

The show can sometimes serve as a preview of what will happen on Oscar night. Earlier this year, Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” picked up best feature and director at the Indie Spirits before going on to win the top prizes at the Oscars. “Moonlight,” “Spotlight,” “Birdman” and “12 Years a Slave” also all won at the Spirits before taking best picture at the Oscars.

Because of their production budgets, many top awards contenders this year were not eligible, including “Belfast,” “King Richard” and “The Power of the Dog.” To be considered, films must have cost less than $22.5 million to make.

The 37th Film Independent Spirit Awards will be broadcast on IFC starting at 8 p.m. ET. on March 6.

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