This year there isn’t as much overlap between the Independent Spirit Awards and the Oscars as usual, but there is one actor nominated at both events: Renee Zellweger (“Judy”). She’s the front-runner to win both awards, so she’ll need two more acceptance speeches this weekend. Though she’s already an Oscar winner, this would actually be her first Spirit Award victory; she was previously nominated for “Love and a .45” (1994) and “The Whole Wide World” (1996) years before the Oscars first gave her the time of day.
Zellweger gets leading 17/5 odds of winning Best Female Lead at the Spirit Awards for her role as tragic Hollywood icon Judy Garland. That’s based on the combined predictions of thousands of Gold Derby users, including most of the Expert journalists we’ve surveyed from top media outlets as of this writing, most of the Editors who cover awards year-round for Gold Derby, and 20 of the Top 24 Users who got the highest scores predicting last year’s winners.
Best Female Lead at the Spirit Awards has gone to an Oscar nominee for Best Actress for the last 12 years in a row. The last Spirit Award winner in this category who wasn’t an Oscar nominee was Shareeka Epps (“Half Nelson,” 2006), but there were no Oscar nominees in that category that year. There has actually never been a non-Oscar nominee who beat an Oscar nominee for this prize in the history of the Spirit Awards.
Nevertheless, a couple of our Experts currently say Alfre Woodard (“Clemency“) will upset for her role as a troubled prison warden: Joyce Eng (Gold Derby) and Tim Gray (Variety). Woodard has the benefit of her film also being nominated for Best Feature and Best Screenplay, while Zellweger is the only nomination for “Judy,” but that may not indicate more widespread voter support.
The Spirit nominations are decided by committees made up of industry insiders and journalists, while the winners are voted on by all members of Film Independent who pay their yearly dues of $95, which is why the highest-profile Oscar contenders in any given category tend to win. Are we right that Zellweger will be the next to benefit from that?
Be sure to make your Indie Spirit predictions so that Hollywood studio executives and top name stars can see how their films are faring in our odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on February 8. And join in the fierce debate over the 2020 Spirit Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.