"May December," "American Fiction" and "Past Lives" on Tuesday topped the nominations for the Spirit Awards, which honor lower budget films and are among the first significant pre-Oscars galas to unveil their shortlists.

The three films earned five nods apiece, including best feature, and are expected to contend for various prizes early next year, such as the Oscars in March.

Netflix drama "May December" stars Natalie Portman as a Hollywood actor who sets out to make a movie about a woman who became a tabloid sensation for her affair with an underage boy.

Loosely based on a true story, the film earned nominations for Portman, supporting star Charles Melton ("Riverdale"), director Todd Haynes, and best first screenplay.

"American Fiction" stars Jeffrey Wright as an author whose attempt to mock virtue-signaling publishing executives by writing a stereotypical "Black" book backfires when it accidentally becomes a bestseller.

Wright was nominated along with supporting actors Sterling K. Brown and Erika Alexander for the satire, while former "Succession" writer Cord Jefferson earned a nod for best screenplay.

"Past Lives" stars Greta Lee and Teo Yoo will compete in the gender-neutral best lead performance category.

The critically acclaimed Korean-American drama portrays childhood friends who reconnect after taking vastly different paths through life. It also received directing and screenplay nods.

The other movies nominated for best feature were "All of Us Strangers," "Passages' and "We Grown Now."

Major stars among the acting nominees were Jessica Chastain ("Memory"), Andrew Scott ("All of Us Strangers") and Anne Hathaway ("Eileen").

Movies with budgets over $30 million are not considered for the Film Independent Spirit Awards, which aim to celebrate independent movies.

The awards will be handed out at a ceremony in a giant tent by Santa Monica beach in California on February 25.

Oscars voting ends two days later, and the season-capping 96th Academy Awards take place March 10.