This year, I was proud to become an official member of Film Independent. This was a decision I made at the start of 2021 when hearing about the range of opportunities they give, from watching the screeners, attending Q&As, and getting to vote for the Independent Spirit Awards, something I was glad to do. The value of the membership is so worth the money and I am glad I chose to be a part of it. Before I share my ballot, I want to highlight a few films that I got to discover on my journey to watching every single nominee.
Nine Days – a beautiful story that never compensates world-building or story for character development, only being brought out by the wonderful performances from Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz and Benedict Wong. It is yet to have a release date for the UK, but I will certainly be keeping you all updated.
Quo Vadis, Aida? – Okay, you were all right about this one. I finally got to see it and I am still thinking about the film today, particularly the performance by leading actress Jasna Đuričić. Even if it is still not my pick for International Film at the Oscars (I think everyone knows how much Another Round means to me), it is a movie that I hope everyone goes to seek out.
Straight Up – Yes, this is a film that is not as sophisticated or dramatic as others on this list, but it is a film that perfectly reflects my taste in movies. The two leading performances here are superb as this screenplay balances the light tones of the genre and the heavy tones of the narrative beautifully. One of the biggest surprises on the list and one that is available to watch now on NowTV.
With those honourable mentions out of the way, here is my final ballot on who I voted for at the Independent Spirit Awards.
Best Feature: Minari
Best Director: Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
Best Male Lead: Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Best Female Lead: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman
Best Supporting Male: Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
Best Supporting Female: Youn Yuh-jung, Minari
Best Screenplay: Promising Young Woman
Best First Screenplay: Palm Springs
Best First Feature: Sound of Metal
Best Documentary Feature: Dick Johnson is Dead
Best Cinematography: Nomadland
Best Editing: The Invisible Man
Best International Film: Quo Vadis, Aida?