Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead

The Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead is an award presented annually at the Independent Spirit Awards to honor of an actor who has delivered an outstanding lead performance in the independent film.

Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
Current recipient: Ethan Hawke
Presented byIndependent Spirit Awards
First awardedM. Emmet Walsh
Blood Simple (1986)
Currently held byEthan Hawke
First Reformed (2018)
Websitespiritawards.com

Notes

Winners and nominees

1980s

Year Winner and nominees Film Role
1985M. Emmet WalshBlood SimpleInvestigator Loren Visser
Rubén BladesCrossover DreamsRudy Veloz
Tom BowerWildroseRick Ogaard
Treat WilliamsSmooth TalkArnold Friend
1986James WoodsSalvadorRichard Boyle
Roberto BenigniDown by LawRoberto
Willem DafoePlatoonSgt. Elias ‡
Dennis HopperBlue VelvetFrank Booth
Victor LoveNative SonBigger Thomas
1987Dennis QuaidThe Big EasyDet. Remy McSwain
Spalding GraySwimming to CambodiaHimself
Terry O'QuinnThe StepfatherJerry Blake
Mickey RourkeBarflyHenry Chinaski
James WoodsBest SellerCleve
1988Edward James OlmosStand and DeliverJaime Escalante
Eric BogosianTalk RadioBarry Champlain
Harvey FiersteinTorch Song TrilogyArnold Beckoff
Chris MulkeyPatti RocksBilly Regis
James WoodsThe BoostLenny Brown
1989Matt DillonDrugstore CowboyBob Hughes
Nicolas CageVampire's KissPeter Loew
Charles LaneSidewalk StoriesArtist
Randy QuaidParentsNick Laemle
James SpaderSex, Lies, and VideotapeGraham Dalton

1990s

Year Winner and nominees Film Role
1990Danny GloverTo Sleep with AngerHarry
Martin PriestThe Plot Against HarryHarry Plotnick
Christopher ReidHouse PartyKid
Michael RookerHenry: Portrait of a Serial KillerHenry
Christian SlaterPump Up the VolumeMark Hunter
1991River PhoenixMy Own Private IdahoMike "Mikey" Waters
Doug E. DougHangin' with the HomeboysWillie
Robert DuvallRambling RoseDaddy Hillyer
Gary OldmanRosencrantz & Guildenstern Are DeadRosencrantz
William RussPastimeRoy Dean Bream
1992Harvey KeitelBad LieutenantThe Lieutenant
Craig ChesterSwoonNathan Leopold, Jr.
Laurence FishburneDeep CoverRussell Stevens / John Hull
Peter GreeneLaws of GravityJimmy
Michael RapaportZebraheadZack
1993Jeff BridgesAmerican HeartJack Kelson
Vincent D'OnofrioHousehold SaintsJoseph Santangelo
Mitchell LichtensteinThe Wedding BanquetSimon
Matthew ModineEquinoxHenry Petosa / Freddy Ace
Tyrin TurnerMenace II SocietyCaine
1994Samuel L. JacksonPulp FictionJules Winnfield
Sihung LungEat Drink Man WomanChu
William H. MacyOleannaJohn
Campbell ScottMrs. Parker and the Vicious CircleRobert Benchley
Jon SedaI Like It Like ThatChino Linares
1995Sean PennDead Man WalkingMatthew Poncelet
Nicolas CageLeaving Las VegasBen Sanderson †
Tim RothLittle OdessaJoshua Shapira
Jimmy SmitsMy FamilyJimmy Sánchez
Kevin SpaceySwimming with SharksBuddy Ackerman
1996William H. MacyFargoJerry Lundegaard
Chris CooperLone StarSheriff Sam Deeds
Chris PennThe FuneralChez
Tony ShalhoubBig NightPrimo
Stanley TucciSecondo
1997Robert DuvallThe ApostleEuliss "Sonny" Dewey / The Apostle E.F.
Peter FondaUlee's GoldUlysses "Ulee" Jackson ‡
Christopher GuestWaiting for GuffmanCorky St. Clair
Philip Baker HallHard EightSydney Brown
John TurturroBox of Moon LightAl Fountain
1998Ian McKellenGods and MonstersJames Whale
Dylan BakerHappinessBill Maplewood
Nick NolteAfflictionWade Whitehouse ‡
Sean PennHurlyburlyEddie
Courtney B. VanceBlind FaithJohn Williams
1999Richard FarnsworthThe Straight StoryAlvin Straight
John CusackBeing John MalkovichCraig Schwartz
Terence StampThe LimeyWilson
David StrathairnLimboJoe "Jumpin" Gastineau
Noble WillinghamThe Corndog ManAce Barker

2000s

Year Winner and nominees Film Role
2000Javier BardemBefore Night FallsReinaldo Arenas
Adrien BrodyRestaurantChris Calloway
Billy CrudupJesus' SonFH
Hill HarperThe VisitAlex Waters
Mark RuffaloYou Can Count On MeTerry Prescott
2001Tom WilkinsonIn the BedroomMatt Fowler
Brian CoxL.I.E.Big John Harrigan
Ryan GoslingThe BelieverDanny Balint
Jake GyllenhaalDonnie DarkoDonnie Darko
John Cameron MitchellHedwig and the Angry InchHansel Schmidt / Hedwig Robinson
2002Derek LukeAntwone FisherAntwone "Fish" Fisher
Graham GreeneSkinsMogie Yellow Lodge
Danny HustonIvans XtcIvan Beckman
Jeremy RennerDahmerJeffrey Dahmer
Campbell ScottRoger DodgerRoger Swanson
2003Bill MurrayLost in TranslationBob Harris
Peter DinklageThe Station AgentFinbar McBride
Paul GiamattiAmerican SplendorHarvey Pekar
Ben KingsleyHouse of Sand and FogMassoud Amir Behrani ‡
Lee PaceSoldier's GirlCalpernia Addams / Scottie
2004Paul GiamattiSidewaysMiles Raymond
Kevin BaconThe WoodsmanWalter
Jeff BridgesThe Door in the FloorTed Cole
Jamie FoxxRedemptionStan Tookie Williams
Liam NeesonKinseyAlfred Kinsey
2005Philip Seymour HoffmanCapoteTruman Capote
Jeff DanielsThe Squid and the WhaleBernard Berkman
Terrence HowardHustle & FlowDJay ‡
Heath LedgerBrokeback MountainEnnis Del Mar
David StrathairnGood Night, and Good Luck.Edward R. Murrow
2006Ryan GoslingHalf NelsonDan Dunne
Aaron EckhartThank You for SmokingNick Naylor
Edward NortonThe Painted VeilWalter Fane
Ahmad RazviMan Push CartAhmad
Forest WhitakerAmerican GunCarter
2007Philip Seymour HoffmanThe SavagesJon Savage
Pedro CastanedaAugust EveningJaime
Don CheadleTalk to MePetey Greene
Frank LangellaStarting Out in the EveningLeonard Schiller
Tony LeungLust, CautionMr. Yee
2008Mickey RourkeThe WrestlerRandy "The Ram" Robinson
Javier BardemVicky Cristina BarcelonaJuan Antonio Gonzalo
Richard JenkinsThe VisitorWalter Vale ‡
Sean PennMilkHarvey Milk
Jeremy RennerThe Hurt LockerStaff Sgt. First Class William James ‡
2009Jeff BridgesCrazy HeartOtis "Bad" Blake
Colin FirthA Single ManGeorge Falconer ‡
Joseph Gordon-Levitt(500) Days of SummerTom Hansen
Souleymane Sy SavaneGoodbye SoloSolo
Adam ScottThe Vicious KindCaleb Sinclaire

2010s

Year Winner and nominees Film Role
2010James Franco127 HoursAron Ralston
Ronald BronsteinDaddy LonglegsLenny Sokol
Aaron EckhartRabbit HoleHowie Corbett
John C. ReillyCyrusJohn Kilpatrick
Ben StillerGreenbergRoger Greenberg
2011Jean DujardinThe ArtistGeorge Valentin
Demián BichirA Better LifeCarlos Galindo ‡
Ryan GoslingDriveDriver
Woody HarrelsonRampartDave Brown
Michael ShannonTake ShelterCurtis LaForche
2012John HawkesThe SessionsMark O'Brien
Jack BlackBernieBernie Tiede
Bradley CooperSilver Linings PlaybookPatrick "Pat" Solitano, Jr. ‡
Thure LindhardtKeep the Lights OnErik
Matthew McConaugheyKiller JoeJoe "Killer" Cooper
Wendell PierceFourJoe
2013Matthew McConaugheyDallas Buyers ClubRon Woodroof
Bruce DernNebraskaWoody Grant ‡
Chiwetel Ejiofor12 Years a SlaveSolomon Northup
Oscar IsaacInside Llewyn DavisLlewyn Davis
Michael B. JordanFruitvale StationOscar Grant III
Robert RedfordAll Is LostOur Man
2014Michael KeatonBirdmanRiggan Thomson
André 3000Jimi: All Is by My SideJimi Hendrix
Jake GyllenhaalNightcrawlerLouis "Lou" Bloom
John LithgowLove Is StrangeBen
David OyelowoSelmaMartin Luther King Jr.
2015Abraham AttahBeasts of No NationAgu
Christopher AbbottJames WhiteJames White
Ben MendelsohnMississippi GrindGerry
Jason SegelThe End of the TourDavid Foster Wallace
Koudous SeihonMediterraneaAviva
2016Casey AffleckManchester by the SeaLee Chandler
David HarewoodFree in DeedAbe Wilkins
Viggo MortensenCaptain FantasticBen Cash ‡
Jesse PlemonsOther PeopleDavid Mulcahey
Tim RothChronicDavid Wilson
2017Timothée ChalametCall Me by Your NameElio Perlman
Harris DickinsonBeach RatsFrankie
James FrancoThe Disaster ArtistTommy Wiseau
Daniel KaluuyaGet OutChris Washington ‡
Robert PattinsonGood TimeConstantine "Connie" Nikas
2018Ethan HawkeFirst ReformedErnst Toller
John ChoSearchingDavid Kim
Daveed DiggsBlindspottingCollin Hoskins
Christian MalheirosSócratesSócrates
Joaquin PhoenixYou Were Never Really HereJoe
2019Chris GalustGive Me LibertyVic
Kelvin Harrison Jr.LuceLuce Edgar
Robert PattinsonThe LighthouseEphraim Winslow
Adam SandlerUncut GemsHoward Ratner
Matthias SchoenaertsThe MustangRoman Coleman

Multiple nominees

Multiple winners

2 wins

See also

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