On Tuesday December 5th, actors Joel Kim Booster and Natalie Morales announced the nominees for the 2024 Independent Spirit Awards. Several queer stories and artists are being honored at this year’s ceremony!
Unlike most traditional media award shows, the Independent Spirit Awards doesn’t separate categories for actors by gender.
The category Best Leading Performance in a Film has recognized actress Trace Lysette for her role in Monica.
Monica is the intimate portrait of a trans woman who returns home to the Midwest for the first time in 20 years to take care of her dying mother. The film “explores universal themes of abandonment, aging, rejection, hope and forgiveness, we are led into Monica’s world through an introspective and riveting journey of our shared human condition.”
The film is groundbreaking in its humanization of trans issues. It is having a profound impact on people all over the world and opening up conversations about trans lives in the mainstream.
Recently on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Lysette stated that “I feel like our journey with our families and just where we fall in the world, and how the world makes space for us or doesn’t make space for us is just a fight that we’re always going to have to fight,” Lysette continued. “This is for the trans women that have been waiting so long for their stories to be told.”
The film was also nominated for Best Cinematography. Fans are hopeful Lysette will receive an Oscar nomination for her incredible portrayal of Monica.
Up against Lysette in the Best Leading Performance in a Film category are Passages’ Franz Rogowski and All of Us Strangers’ Andrew Scott.
Ira Sachs’ Passages tells the story of a gay couple who’s marriage is thrown into crisis when one of them impulsively begins a passionate affair with a young woman. The film is also up for Best Feature, Best Director, and Ben Whishaw is up for Best Supporting Performance.
Directed by Andrew Haigh, All of Us Strangers is a British romantic fantasy inspired by the 1987 novel by Taichi Yamada. The film follows a screenwriter who is drawn back to his childhood home as he enters a fledgling relationship with a mysterious neighbor. He then discovers his parents appear to be living just as they were on the day they died, 30 years before. The film is also up for Best Feature and Best Director.
Up for Best Screenplay is Emma Seligman and Rachel Sennott’s queer-comedy, Bottoms. The film chronicles two unpopular best friends named PJ and Josie who start a high school fight club to meet girls and lose their virginity. They soon find themselves in over their heads when the most popular students start beating each other up in the name of self-defense.
The Seattle Seahawks Marshawn Lynch made his acting debut in the film and is nominated for Best Breakthrough Performance.
Rotting in the Sun, tells the story of Sebastián Silva. He is detached from life, struggling to succeed in the art world and habitually taking ketamine. When he meets social media influencer Jordan Firstman at a nudist beach, the two discuss collaborating, but fate has other plans. Directed by Silva himself, the film is up for Best First Feature, Best Editing, and Catalina Saavedra is nominated for Best Supporting Performance.
Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman, Ben Platt, and Noah Galvin’s Theater Camp is up for several awards as well. The film follows the eccentric staff of a rundown theater camp in upstate New York must band together with the beloved founder’s bro-y son to keep the camp afloat.
The film is nominated for Best First Screenplay, Best Editing, and Noah Galvin is up for Best Supporting Performance.
Another film with queer talent on and off camera is How to Blow Up a Pipeline. Directed by Daniel Goldhaber, the film is about a group of brave environmental activists come up with a daring plan to make their voices heard and disrupt an oil pipeline. It is up for Best Editing.
Up for Best Documentary is D. Smith’s Kokomo City. The film spotlights four Black transgender sex workers tell their life stories in intimate and candid interviews.
In the television categories, HBO Max’s groundbreaking series The Last of Us is up for several awards. Based off the video game with the same name, The Last of Us follows Joel and Ellie, a pair connected through the harshness of the world they live in, are forced to endure brutal circumstances and ruthless killers on a trek across a post-outbreak America.
Bella Ramsey, who plays Ellie is up for Best Lead Performance in a New Scripted Series, both Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett are up for Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series, and Keivonn Montreal Woodard is up for Best Breakthrough Performance in a New Scripted Series.
Queer actors Emma Corrin and Billie Eilish are both nominated. Corrin is up for Best Lead Performance in a New Scripted Series for their role in A Murder at the End of the World and Eilish is up for Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series for her role in Swarm.
For a full list of nominees, visit www.filmindependent.org. The winners will be announced on February 25th, 2024.