The 2022 Film Independent Spirit Awards took place Sunday night, and the celebration of indie films featured some great winners. Some of the highlights of the awards include Ruth Negga winning Best Supporting Actress for starring in Passing, Taylour Paige winning best lead actress for her role in Zola, Joi McMillion for her editing work in Zola and Thuso Mbedu winning the first-ever winner of the ceremony’s Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series award for her role in The Underground Railroad.
Ruth Negga wins Best Supporting Female for 'Passing'
Negga won the honor over Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter), Amy Forsyth (The Novice), Revika Reustle (Pleasure), and Suzanna Son (Red Rocket).
She was not able to attend the awards show, but during her remote speech, the Passing actor spoke about the importance of community. After thanking her fellow castmates the crew and the author of the book the film was based on Negga spoke about how “community” created the environment necessary to make great art.
“Nothing can be created in isolation without anybody else. We create in solidarity with others,” she said. “And so I feel like this is an award for all of us.”
She continued, “I’m just so proud to have been part of such a beautiful, beautiful film.”
Negga ended her speech by expressing her solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
Taylour Paige wins Best Female Lead for 'Zola'
Taylour Paige beat out Isabelle Fuhrman (The Novice), Brittany S. Hall (Test Pattern), Patti Harrison (Together Together), and Kali Reis (Catch the Fair One) to win the award.
Paige was emotional while accepting her award and delivering her speech joking that she prepared words ahead of time because “I’m not eloquent, and I’m drunk.”
During her speech, Paige thanked her late grandmother. “The day that I got nominated for this award, my grandmother passed away,” she shared. “Thank you so much for this and thank you, grandma. What a journey this life is.”
The actress thanked the director of the film Janicza Bravo, as well as her castmates and the real-life A’Ziah “Zola” King, whose viral tweets and story was adapted in the film, saying of her, “for knowing that your story was worth telling and only the way that you could tell it was gold. Thank you for just being you and your power and also helping me find my own.”
Paige ended her speech by thanking the crew of the film and remarking on how hard it is to make movies and how making Zola was a truly unique experience.
Thuso Mbedu wins Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series
The Underground Railroad actress Thuso Mbedu beat out Anjana Vasan (We Are Lady Parts), Jana Schmieding (Rutherford Falls), Jasmine Cephas Jones (Blindspotting) and Deborah Ayorinde (THEM: Covenant) for the female lead honor.
“They told me a number of times to prepare something and I really didn’t,” the first-time nominee and winner began. “First and foremost, thank you to Film Independent for this recognition.”
During her speech, Mbedu thanked director Barry Jenkins for “absolutely everything,” and showed her appreciation for casting director Francine Maisler’s “guidance.”
The actress also thanked her sister in South Africa, joking that “she would kill me if I don’t say anything about her.”
Mbedu showed love to everyone who worked on the project saying, every single person who was involved in The Underground Railroad. There was no person who was too small in making the project what it was, and I really, really hope that you guys will take the time to watch it because it’s an absolute masterpiece.”
The actress talked about the importance of the story of The Underground Railroad, saying it was a “great challenge to tell the story because it is a very important story and she “wanted it to go to whoever could tell it as authentically and as respectfully as possible.”
Check out the complete list of winners below;
Best Feature – The Lost Daughter
Best Director – Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter
Best Male Lead – Simon Rex, Red Rocket
Best Female Lead– Taylour Paige, Zola
Best Supporting Male – Troy Koster, CODA
Best Supporting Female – Ruth Negga, Passing
Best Screenplay – Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter
Best First Screenplay – Michael Sarnoski and Vanessa Block, Pig
Best First Feature – 7 Days
Best Documentary Feature – Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Best Cinematography – Eduard Grau, Passing
Best Editing – Joi McMillon, Zola
Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series – Black and Missing
Best New Scripted Series – Reservation Dogs
Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series – Thuso Mbedu, The Underground Railroad
Best Male Performance in a New Scripted Series – Lee Jung-jae, Squid Game
Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series – Reservation Dogs – Devery Jacobs, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Lane Factor, Paulina Alexis, Sarah Podemski, Zahn McClarnon, Lil Mike, FunnyBone