The Independant Spirit Awards match the Oscars now more than ever. With so many films having $100 million plus budgets, the pool gets smaller and they crossover into Oscar race more often. 
The Spirit Awards don’t technically have a budget ceiling and many presume. They say that they consider films based on:
-Uniqueness of vision
-Original, provocative subject matter
-Economy of means
-Percentage of financing from independent sources

Films that are made with an “economy of means” AND are fully financed by a studio or an “indie” studio division may still be considered independent if the subject matter is original and provocative. In other words, Film Independent does not—as of 1994—define “independent” strictly on the basis of financing. 

I personally think that they should have a budget ceiling to truly celebrate independant film making. They are becoming more and more mainstream which is disappointing. 

They went a little less mainstream this year and gratefully nominated Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight and Other People and the best documentary of the past decade, OJ:Made in America. 

The awards will be handed out in a tent on Santa Monica Beach on February 25th. 

List of nominees:

Best Feature
American Honey
Manchester by the Sea

Best Director
Andrea Arnold (“American Honey”)
Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”)
Pablo Larrain (“Jackie”)
Jeff Nichols (“Loving”)
Kelly Reichart (“Certain Women”)

Best First Feature
The Childhood of a Leader
The Fits
Other People
Swiss Army Man
The Witch

Best Male Lead
Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”)
David Harewood (“Free in Deed”)
Viggo Mortensen (“Captain Fantastic”)
Jesse Plemons (“Other People”)
Tim Roth (“Chronic”)

Best Female Lead
Annette Bening (“20th Century Women”)
Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”)
Sasha Lane (“American Honey”)
Ruth Negga (“Loving”)
Natalie Portman (“Jackie”)

Best Supporting Male
Ralph Fiennes (“A Bigger Splash”)
Ben Foster (“Hell or High Water”)
Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”)
Shia LaBeouf (“American Honey”)
Craig Robinson (“Morris from America”)

Best Supporting Female
Edwina Findley (“Free in Deed”)
Paulina Garcia (“Little Men”)
Lily Gladstone (“Certain Women”)
Riley Keough (“American Honey”)
Molly Shannon (“Other People”)

Best Screenplay
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women
Little Men
Hell or High Water

Best First Screenplay
The Witch
Other People
Jean of the Joneses

Best International Film
My Golden Days
Toni Erdmann
Under the Shadow

Best Documentary Feature
I Am Not Your Negro
O.J.: Made in America
Under the Sun

Best Cinematography
Free in Deed
Eyes of My Mother
American Honey

Best Editing
Swiss Army Man
Manchester by the Sea
Hell or High Water

John Cassavetes Award
Free in Deed
Hunter Gatherer
Spa Night

Robert Altman Award