Saturday Night Live breakout star Kate McKinnon and comedian Kumail Nanjiani hosted the awards ceremony from the beach in Santa Monica, California. Our editor Anne Kluge from P! Magazine was in the middle in order to report
Just one day before the Oscars, the 31st Independent Spirit Awards were held on Saturday, February 27, to honor the year’s best independent films.
Brie Larson and Cate Blanchett were among the evening’s many talented nominees, with Idris Elba, transgender actress Mya Taylor and the cast of the film Spotlight among the night's big winners.
Spotlight, the indie film that has been in the awards discussion all season and is up for six Oscars tomorrow, warmed up by taking home five awards at the 31st annual Spirit Awards today on the beach in Santa Monica. The Open Road/Participant Films drama about the Boston Globe‘s investigation into the Boston Catholic Church’s cover-up of a child abuse scandal swept in all the categories it was up for: Best Feature Film, Best Director for Tom McCarthy, Best Screenplay for McCarthy and Josh Singer, and Best Editing for Tom McArdle. It also accepted organizer Film Independent’s Robert Altman Award for best ensemble cast.
The show — someone subdued compared to the past couple of years — was hosted by SNL‘s Kate McKinnon and Silicon Valley’s Sumail Nanjiani and aired live on IFC.
Other winners included another Oscar hopeful, Room‘s Brie Larson, who continued her momentum with a win for Best Female Lead. The film’s writer Emma Donoghue won for Best First Screenplay. On the men’s side, it was youngAbraham Attah of Beasts Of No Nation who took home the Best Male Actor prize, joining his co-star Idris Elba who won Best Supporting Actor for the wrenching Netflix drama, which was left out of the Oscar noms but drew big cheers each time it was mentioned during the show.
Mya Taylor, meanwhile, made history when the transgender actress won the Best Supporting Actress trophy for Tangerine, Sean Baker’s film shot using iPhones. It had also been up for Best Feature along with Spotlight, Paramount’s animated Anomalisa, Beasts Of No Nation and the Weinstein Company’s Carol. Oscar favorite Son Of Saul won the Best International Film award, cementing its front-runner status for tomorrow. Another Oscar nom, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look Of Silence, also won, for Best Documentary. Meanwhile, Marielle Heller’s The Diary Of A Teenage Girl won the Best First Feature Award, while Trey Edward Shults’ Krisha won the John Cassavetes Award for best feature made for less than $500,000. Of note is the fact that Participant Media had a huge night, as the production outfit had a hand in Spotlight, Beasts of No Nation, and The Look of Silence. “Participant Media is extraordinarily proud of its most successful night ever at this year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards,” the company said about the eight wins those films collectively won. “So we appreciate Michael Sugar’s remarks while accepting the award for Best Feature for Spotlight during the ceremony, ‘Participant is all over these awards tonight, so they deserve to be congratulated for their courage and their tenacity in making quality independent film, and some good studio ones too.’ It’s our honor to support films where great entertainment inspires real engagement and action from audiences around the world.”
Text by Patrick Hipes / Deadline Hollywood
Photo: Anne Kluge