Nominees for the 33rd annual Independent Spirit Awards were announced on Tuesday afternoon, offering an early glimpse at which indie films and performances could compete for Academy Awards this year. A few clear cut front-runners have emerged: Sony Pictures Classics’ gay coming-of-age drama Call Me by Your Name picked up the most nominations this year with six, while A24’s neon-infused thriller Good Time and Blumhouse Productions’ subversive horror flick Get Out nabbed five each. A24, in a particularly impressive flex, led all studios with 17 nominations.
Though the Spirit Awards only consider domestic films that have been produced for less than $20 million (meaning that Christopher Nolan’s $100 million Dunkirk wasn’t considered), the ceremony is a solid precursor to the Academy Awards. In the past four years, the film that won Best Feature at the Spirit Awards has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture (Moonlight in 2017, Spotlight in 2016, Birdman in 2015, 12 Years a Slave in 2014). The event has had similar success predicting Oscars in the acting categories. In the past three years, Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Brie Larson (Room), and Julianne Moore (Still Alice) have all won Academy Awards after taking home Spirit Awards.
This year, the films getting a boost to their Oscar buzz are Call Me by Your Name, The Florida Project, Lady Bird, The Rider, and Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out, which were all nominated for Best Feature. The Oscars’ acting categories are also crystallizing. After nabbing Spirit noms, buzzy names like Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), and Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) all feel like locks for Best Actress nods at the Oscars. Meanwhile, the Best Actor category is starting to look really interesting after these nominations, as it may be filled with unexpected newcomers—Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name) and Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)—and more familiar names—Robert Pattinson (Good Time) and James Franco (The Disaster Artist)—who have delivered subversive, career-shifting performances in 2017.
This year’s Oscars race is wide open, which means that any of these smaller movies—Call Me by Your Name, Get Out, Lady Bird, I, Tonya—have a legitimate chance at Best Picture. That’s actually pretty awesome to think about.
Check out the full list of Spirit Awards nominees here.