the little screens

How to Stream (Just About) Every Film Nominated for a 2022 Indie Spirit Award

Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Neon and A24

It’s a brand-new year for the Independent Spirit Awards in 2022. Traditionally, the Spirits have operated as a kind of alterna-Oscars, lurking out on the beach in Santa Monica and taking place on the Saturday before the Oscars. That calendar pattern shifts this year, with the Spirits now taking place on March 6, three weeks before the Oscars. There was speculation that this change signaled a bid for the Spirits to be seen more as Oscar precursors/influencers rather than as doing their own indie thing, but when nominations were announced, those fears would put to rest with a decidedly indie-heavy lineup that only barely overlapped with hyped Oscar contenders.

Lucky for us, the grand majority of Indie Spirit nominees are available to stream or rent, depending on our various subscription situations. And the ones that aren’t, like Best Feature nominee A Chiara and Best International Feature nominee Drive My Car, are expected to hit streaming soon. Here’s a quick look at what’s nominated this year and where you can stream the films.


This Best Documentary Feature nominee about the rise of China to consumerist power was distributed by MTV Documentary Films and has found a streaming home on Paramount+. (Available to stream on Paramount+.)

Blue Bayou

Writer-director Justin Chon stars opposite Alicia Vikander in this Louisiana-set drama about a South Korean immigrant facing deportation that has been recognized for Ante Cheng and Matthew Chuang’s cinematography.  (Available to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudu.) 

Catch the Fair One

Native boxing champion Kali Reis scored a Best Female Lead nomination for her acting debut in this revenge thriller, which has drawn comparisons to everything from The Card Counter to the Taken franchise. It’s currently getting a limited theatrical run as well as VOD. (Available to rent on Amazon and Spectrum On Demand.)


Writer-stars Matthew Fifer and Sheldon D. Brown got a Best First Screenplay nomination for this queer Brooklyn romance (Fifer also co-directed with Kieran Mulcare). (Available to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, and Vudu.) 

C’mon C’mon

Writer-director Mike Mills’s follow-up to 20th Century Women missed out on the Oscars entirely, despite strong reviews for star Joaquin Phoenix as a very nice uncle. The Spirits were onboard, though, handing Mills nominations for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Feature.  (Available to rent via Apple, Google Play, YouTube, and Spectrum on Demand.) 


Troy Kotsur paired up his Oscar nomination with a nod as Best Supporting Male for his role in this movie about a hearing child in a deaf family that was a huge hit at Sundance in 2021, before crossing over as Apple’s first major-awards player. (Available to stream on Apple TV+.) 


This deeply peculiar and singular animated feature was a thing of great curiosity at Sundance 2021, telling a futuristic story about zoos that keep mythological creatures in captivity and the people who care for, exploit, and fear said creatures. The Spirit Awards nominated it for its John Cassavetes award for the best film made for under $500,000. (Available to stream on Hulu and to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, and DirecTV.) 


The three-time Oscar nominee — in which Amin Nawabi tells his own story as an Afghan refugee via animated documentary footage — was nominated by the Indie Spirits as Best Documentary and probably stands a better chance to win here because voters won’t have any other place to honor it. (Available to stream on Hulu and to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudu.) 


Jessica Barden (The End of the F***ing World) stars as a young woman looking to escape the poverty of her upbringing and go to college — only she has to pay for it by working on a dangerous and illegal scrap-metal crew. This well-cast drama (Becky Ann Baker and Pamela Adlon are also on board) boasts Paul Feig as an executive producer. (Available to stream on Showtime and to rent on Apple.) 

The Humans

Stephen Karam’s adaptation of his Tony Award-winning play about a family’s Thanksgiving dinner in New York City’s most psychologically threatening basement apartment was only nominated for Best Cinematography, though it deserved much more, particularly for its fantastic cast, which includes Beanie Feldstein, Steven Yeun, Jayne Houdyshel, Richard Jenkins, and Amy Schumer. (Available to stream on Showtime.) 

In the Same Breath

We are only at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the COVID-19 documentaries that will no doubt flood the marketplace in coming years. This one, from director Nanfu Wang (whose One Child Nation won a slew of prizes in 2019), juxtaposes the Chinese and American responses to the initial COVID outbreak. (Available to stream on HBO Max.) 

The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain

Longtime character actor Frankie Faison (The Wire, The Silence of the Lambs) earned his first Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Male Lead for his performance as the title character in this film based on a real-life police shooting in New Jersey in 2011. The film was also nominated for its editing. (Available to stream on HBO Max and to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, and DirecTV.) 

The Lost Daughter

Before Jessie Buckley got her surprise Oscar nomination for this film, she was nominated in the Best Supporting Female category at the Spirits. First-time director Maggie Gyllenhaal got nominations for her directing and screenplay — as well as one for Best Feature — for her adaptation of the Elena Ferrante novel, though, curiously, Oscar contender Olivia Colman was not among the Best Actress nominees. (Available to stream on Netflix.)


The ensemble cast of this Sundance 2021 hit about two pairs of parents trying to come to some sort of accord in the aftermath of a shattering school shooting includes Anne Dowd, Reed Birney, Martha Plimpton, and Jason Isaacs, and rather than try to choose from among them, the Spirits awarded them their Robert Altman Award for outstanding ensemble cast. (Available to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, and DirecTV.) 

The Novice

Very quietly racking up the second-most nominations of any film this year, writer-director Lauren Hadaway’s film — about a college freshman who joins her school’s rowing team and embarks on an obsessive and damaging quest to succeed — stars Best Female Lead nominee Isabelle Furhman, who is likely still best known as the titular orphan of Orphan. (Available to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, and DirecTV.) 

The Nowhere Inn

Did YOU know there was a movie written by Carrie Brownstein and Annie “St. Vincent” Clark, starring Brownstein, Clark, and Dakota Johnson, in which all three of them play one another in a fake St. Vincent documentary? And that it devolves into a psychological thriller?? Well, it’s a Best Editing nominee at the Spirits. (Available to stream on Hulu and to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, and YouTube.) 

Parallel Mothers

Penelope’s latest collaboration with Pedro Almodóvar earned her a well-deserved nomination for Best Female Lead for this movie that, in classic Almodóvar style, uses the lens of melodrama (baby swaps!) to get to deeper truths. (Available to rent via Spectrum on Demand.)


Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut is a delicately ravishing drama about two light-skinned Black women played by Tessa Thompson and Best Supporting Female nominee Ruth Negga, the latter of whom is passing for white in 1920s New York City. (Available to stream on Netflix.)

Petite Maman

Portrait of a Lady on Fire director Céline Sciamma went for something completely different with her follow-up film, a quiet, sweet, and surprising movie about two little girls who meet and become friends in the woods behind their houses, only there’s more than meets the eye at play. (Available via MUBI until February 18th.)


We all figured this movie — about a man in the wilderness whose prized truffle pig and only companion is abducted — would end up being a kind of porcine John Wick, but it’s going for something else entirely. Cage wasn’t nominated for his performance here, which is a shame, as it’s one of his best in a long while, but writers Michael Sarnoski (who also directed) and Vanessa Block are up for Best First Screenplay. (Available to stream on Hulu and to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, and DirecTV.) 

Prayers for the Stolen

Mexico’s submission to the Oscars didn’t get nominated, but the Spirits were fond of its story of three girls coming of age in a Mexican village that’s at the mercy of the drug war. (Available to stream on Netflix.)


The ongoing horror of sexual abuse by priests within the Catholic Church has yielded several memorable films, including this documentary, which follows six survivors who now, as adults, seek justice, solace, and some kind of catharsis in staging fictionalized reenactments of their trauma. (Available to stream on Netflix.)

Red Rocket

There are layers upon layers in the premise of this story, which involves Simon Rex playing a washed-up former porn star clinging delusionally to his old glory and proving to be a malignant force of misapplied charisma when he returns to his hometown and sets his sights on an underage girl (Suzanna Son) whom he sees as his ticket back to the top. Both Rex and Son are nominated for their performances in this film from Tangerine and The Florida Project director Sean Baker. (Available to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, and DirecTV.)

Shiva Baby

It’s kind of deeply insane that this film — written and directed by Emma Seligman and starring Rachel Sennott as a young woman whose lack of direction transforms into a psychologically harrowing ordeal over the course of a shiva with her parents — wasn’t nominated for more than merely the Cassavetes/under $500,000 prize, but given the stressful mental space the film so successfully puts the viewer in, that’s probably appropriate. (Available to stream on HBO Max, Hulu, and to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudu.

Summer of Soul

Questlove’s directorial debut about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which featured the likes of Sly and the Family Stone and Gladys Knight and the Pips, was one of the most crowd-pleasing indies of the year and a major favorite to win Best Documentary Feature. (Available to stream on Hulu and to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, and DirecTV.) 

Swang Song

German character actor extraordinaire Udo Kier — whom you’ve seen if you’ve seen anything by Lars von Trier or Rainer Werner Fassbinder or, not kidding, the “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” music video — gets his moment to shine in this movie about a hairdresser facing down old age in a long walk across his small Ohio town and down memory lane (not to be confused with the Mahershala Ali film that is also called Swan Song and is also a part of this year’s awards race, just not at the Spirits). (Available to stream on Hulu and to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudu.) 

Sweet Thing

Two young siblings grow up unmoored in a home with an alcoholic father and find moments of freedom when they run away in this film from writer-director Alxandre Rockwell. Will Patton, a face you might know from Armageddon or, most recently, Halloween Kills, was nominated as Best Supporting Male for his performance as the dad. (Available to stream on MUBI and to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudu.) 

Test Pattern

Writer-director Shatara Michelle Ford earned nominations in Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay for their debut film about a Black woman who has been raped and her white boyfriend who drives her around looking for a rape kit. Brittany S. Hall (Amber from Ballers) is nominated in Best Female Lead for her performance. (Available to stream with a Starz subscription or to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudu.) 

This Is Not a War Story

Writer-director Talia Lugacy earned a ton of praise for this movie about combat veterans struggling with a return to home life who form an art collective and repurpose their old military uniforms to make paper. It’s up for the Cassavetes award for films under $500,000. (Available to stream on HBO Max.)

Together Together

One of the big crowd pleasers of Sundance 2021 was this sweet comedy starring Ed Helms and Patti Harrison as a single man looking to have a child and his surrogate, with whom he forms a tentative and boundary-shifting relationship. Harrison was nominated in Best Female Lead for her funny, low-key performance, while writer-director Nicole Beckwith was recognized for her screenplay. (Available to stream on Hulu and to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, and DirecTV.) 

Wild Indian

Michael Greyeyes and Chaske Spencer both earned acting nominations for their performances in this dark thriller, making Greyeyes a twice-nominated performer; he was also recognized by the Spirits’ TV awards for his performance on Rutherford Falls(Available to stream on Starz and to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, and DirecTV.) 


Alphabetically last but topping out the Spirit Award nominations this year, this buzzy, inventive drama from director Janzica Bravo based on the viral Twitter thread scored seven nominations, including Best Feature, Best Director, Best Female Lead for Taylour Paige, and Best Supporting Male for Colman Domingo. Who needs Oscars?? (Available to stream on Showtime and to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, and DirecTV.)

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How to Stream the Films Nominated for the 2022 Indie Spirits