The 33rd Annual Independent Spirit Awards, which honors work in independent films, held its ceremony in Santa Monica, CA on Saturday, Mar. 3. Known as the most casual event of awards season, the celebration always takes place in the afternoon in a tent beachside. Film Independent, who holds the awards each year, encourages attendees to dress for comfort over style. In fact, one of the winners, Frances MacDormand, still looked gorgeous even though she came in her pajamas and slippers.
For the second consecutive year in a row, Nick Kroll and John Mulaney served as co-hosts. The comedians’ criticism of current events, especially sexual misconduct by males in Hollywood, was by far the cleverest of all the award show hosts this season. They even went as far as to speak about their own personal experiences with Harvey Weinstein and Brett Ratner. Their bits throughout the show felt like a fun break from winner announcements rather than time fillers.
The film “Get Out” won big, being named Best Feature and Best Director. Greta Gerwig won Best Screenplay for her critical darling “Lady Bird.” She was a surprised and gracious winner. Best International Film went to Chilean film “A Fantastic Woman.” This film, which is about a transwoman, is expected to also win at the Oscars. “Faces Places” took the award for Best Documentary.
Three of the strongest competitors throughout the awards season continued their flawless runs: Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell were crowned Best Female Lead and Best Supporting Male for their work in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and Best Supporting Female went to the scene stealer of “I, Tonya” Allison Janney.
Some pundits had predicted that Laurie Metcalf could upset with her performance in “Lady Bird” and dethrone Janney, who has had a Best Supporting Actress streak. In the end, Janney still came out the victor. McDormand’s speech, in particular was a delight. She outspokenly talked about her fondness for the Spirit Awards.
Timothée Chalamet of “Call Me By Your Name” benefited from the fact that Gary Oldman of “Darkest Hour” was not nominated. Chalamet beat out fellow Best Actor Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya of “Get Out” to win the Spirit Award for Best Male Lead. His speech was charming, infectious, and hopeful of a future where storytelling is about the art, not the bank.
Some of the categories at the Spirit Awards are exclusive to their ceremony. “Life and Nothing More” won the John Cassavetes Award. The juried Robert Altman Award selected Netflix’s “Mudbound” as its winner, and the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award was given to Justin Chon for his film “Gook.”
The Spirit Awards also give out recognition for first time filmmakers and screenwriters. Best First Feature went to the team of “Ingrid Goes West,” and Emily V. Gordon and her husband, comedian Kumail Nanjiani, won Best First Screenplay for their semi-autobiographical comedy “The Big Sick.”