HitFix Award Gurus Kris Tapley and Greg Ellwood are both attending Saturday's Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday (February 21) afternoon in Santa Monica and they left me to handle HitFix's Independent Spirit Awards Winners & Losers list.
And once I'm watching Saturday's show, I might as well be live-blogging Saturday's show as preparation for Sunday's Oscars live-blog, especially since is the last time that “Birdman” and “Boyhood” will be going head-to-head for Best Picture (along with “Selma” and “Whiplash”) before the Academy Awards.
So follow along and say “Hi” in the comments below…
And remember that Saturday's show, hosted by Kristen Bell and Fred Armisen, is airing live on IFC, not that obnoxious tape-delayed thing they used to do!
1:50 p.m. PT. The show hasn't started, but if you're following the Winners list, you know that “Birdman” has already won for for cinematography, while “Whiplash” won for editing, both results I can accept.
2:01 p.m. The show begins with Fred Armisen and Adam Scott in a filmed “Birdman” parody. “This isn't an important. This is an award show doing the day. It's in a circus tent,” Kristen Bell tells Armisen. “Everyone out there is already super-drunk,” she tells him, because the liquor sponsors put out booze early. “That's just for added tension. It's like an effect,” Armisen says to Bell, annoyed by the drumming. It's Miles Teller drumming! Teller slaps Armisen for doing only 10 “Portlandia” episodes a year. Bill Hader pops up as Alejandro G. Iñarritu. And now… Let's get to the actual show.
2:04 p.m. “This really is the next Golden Age of Television,” Armisen says of what he's learned from this year's independent films. Bell jokes that the show is 30 years old this year, the same age at which most independent filmmakers move back in with their parents. Bell thanks Damien Chazzelle for making a movie about jazz that even people not on heroin can enjoy. Armisen makes a joke about Alzheimers and a joke about the lack of editing on “Birdman.” LAME. Armisen jokes that the full name of “Boyhood” was “Boyhood (Or I Hope That Kid Doesn't Grow Up Fat).” Bell says that 3.5 seconds of “The Hobbit” is/are up for the John Cassavetes Award for films costing under $500,000. Cate Blanchett has been lending out her DVDs. And another Alzheimers joke relating to “Still Alice.”
2:08 p.m. “You're like this cool alternative guy and I'm just really popular,” Bell says of their differences. CUE MUSICAL NUMBER! “I'm a little bit indie and I'm a little bit studio,” they sing. Our first reference to the Oscars is in the form of a joke about the acting snubs for “Selma.”
2:10 p.m. Kristen Bell is charming.
2:10 p.m. Ethan Hawke is our first presenter. He also is a little bit indie and a little bit studio. “I feel like there should be a podium,” Hawke says, either feigning discomfort or being uncomfortable. “The people here today are keeping the industry alive,” he says, in contract to the studio folks keeping the industry afloat. He's presenting Best Supporting Female. I like this category, because even though Patricia Arquette is still going to win, Jessica Chastain was at least nominated. I also like the chance for Emma Stone and Andrea Suarez Paz to be in the same category. In any case, the winner is… Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood.” Of course. “Was that God? She sounded great,” Arquette says of the announcer. While she notes that she's made a lot of independent films, “I've made my living on network television and thank God for that,” she says. “CSI: Cyber” and “Medium” represent! She closes by thanking distributors. [Emma Stone looks like she would have really enjoyed winning something during this award season.]
2:19 p.m. Silversun Pickups are the overqualified house band tonight. Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons are out next, with Simmons making an obligatory joke about how the band wasn't on his tempo. Not surprisingly, they're introducing the clips from “Whiplash.” “You're much taller in person,” Simmons observes, looking up at his co-star. “I was taller than you the whole time, they just sat me down,” Teller replies. “Whiplash” is easily my favorite of this year's Oscar nominees for Best Picture. Love that movie.
2:22 p.m. Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig are presenting Best First Screenplay. They make an unamusing joke about how they've never met before this. “My biggest memory of that moment was how many ugly people were in the audience that day,” Zach says, before we cut to Scarlett Johansson, Matt Bomer and Emma Stone. Finally things get funny as they joke about the sponsors. They show clips along with on-screen dialogue for each film. It's nice. On a side note, “The One I Love” is a nifty movie and people should see it. It's on Netflix. You could watch it tonight. The winner is… Former publicist Justin Simien for “Dear White People.” I have many colleagues who are gonna be very pleased for him. “I really should have written an acceptance speech. Instead, I was just staring at Oprah,” he says. He explains he started writing the movie a decade ago because he didn't see his story reflected in the culture. “If you have a story, if you don't see yourself in the culture, please put yourself there, because we need you. We need to see the world through your eyes,” he says. Well done.
2:29 p.m. The Oscars advertise during the Independent Spirit Awards. That's fun. Or silly.
2:31 p.m. Kerry Washington is the Honorary Chair of the 30th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards. She's having a hard time getting the crowd to shut up so that she can talk about the event that they're all at. Montage! 30 Years of the Indie Spirit Awards! Jennifer Lawrence! Robert Rodriguez! Ian McKellen! Bill Murray! Everybody was so young back then. So young. So many drunk speeches. I like all of the people who won awards who DIDN'T win Oscars. The gratitude of people like Derek Luke and Ally Sheedy is just more interesting than the speeches from people who were in the middle of seasons in which they gave the same speech 17 times.
2:36 p.m. A toast! I like an award show with scheduled institutional drinking.
2:36 p.m. Brattle Theater shout-out from Julianne Moore! WOOT! Moore is presenting the Robert Altman Award to “Inherent Vice.” Paul Thomas Anderson is in the crowd chewing gum. Moore, of course, worked a couple times with Altman and has collaborated with Anderson as well. I'm not exactly sure what sense this award makes, because if we just assume that P.T. Anderson makes Robert Altman movies, then every time P.T. Anderson makes a movie, he should win the Robert Altman Award at the Independent Spirit Awards.
2:40 p.m. Spit out your gum, P.T. Anderson. He has his casting director with him at the podium, which is nice. “Don't fly American Airlines, man. They will f***ing lose your luggage,” he says, in conclusion.
2:48 p.m. Marisa Tomei and Alfred Molina are our next presenters after some sadly unfunny Kristen Bell banter. They're in “Love Is Strange” and they're presenting the clip from “Love Is Strange.” You may know “Love Is Strange” as the only Best Feature nominee today that isn't also up for Best Picture at the Oscars tomorrow.
2:50 p.m. “Gracepoint” star Michael Peña and “Shameless” star Emmy Rossum are up next. They're presenting Best International Film. And if I'd know Emmy Rossum was presenting, I wouldn't have hesitated so long before agreeing to watch/recap this darned show. The winner… “Ida.” I assume this is Pawel Pawlikowski in the house? He says he knew this was an independent event because he had to queue up for the toilets. “Thank you, my competitors, for losing this time,” he says. He adds that they did everything to make a film that nobody would watch — black-and-white, no camera movement, very little script — but miracles sometimes happen.
2:56 p.m. The first hour of this telecast has given three awards that weren't previously announced. [“Inherent Vice” had been previously announced as winning the Altman Award.] That's not very many.
2:58 p.m. Kristen Bell is off in the parking lot trying to convince Fred Armisen to return to the tent to present an award, but he's trying to go surf. Diego Luna and Jenny Slate are presenting next. They're presenting the previously joked-about Cassavetes Award. This goes, again, to the best film produced for under $500,000. I loved “Land Ho!” at Sundance last year. I'm glad it's here, even if it's not going to win. I want to see “Man From Reno.” Looks good. Anyway… The winner is… “Land Ho!” YAY! That's a nice surprise. It's a totally engaging and uber-amiable movie. “They let a girl like me make a movie with dick jokes and fart jokes,” Martha Stephens says of their producers. “Suck it, dude!” the producer of “Land Ho!” tells “Man From Reno” director Dave Boyle. Hmmm. I hope we get context for that later. My “Land Ho!” review from Sundance. [Mynette Louie, the producer in question, offers context.]
3:03 p.m. Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza are presenting Best First Feature. Will this be another Justin Simien win? The winner is… “Nightcrawler” and Dan Gilroy. “Nightcrawler” is only up for screenplay tomorrow. Gilroy thanks his producers and stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. They're also married. Gilroy and Russo, I mean. Not Gilroy and Gyllenhaal.
3:10 p.m. Kristen and Fred are back and he's changed out of his wet suit. She's flustered because she's so excited to introduce Oprah Winfrey, who she calls “Orpah.” Anywho… Oprah's introducing the clip from “Selma.” David Oyelowo was great in “Selma.” Just because the Academy forgot doesn't mean we should.
3:13 p.m. I can't describe Jared Leto's jacket, but it's fantastic. And his hat is very jaunty. He's got some thank-yous that he missed last year, including the frog he squeezed to death in second grade and Richard Simmons and his “homies at Poquito Mas” and his grandmother for beating him. He's presenting Best Supporting Male. Just as Leto won everything last year, J.K. Simmons has won everything this year. Will today be any different? Nope. The winner is… J.K. Simmons for “Whiplash.” You can't argue with J.K. Simmons, man. “It occurs to me that I've been ridiculously blessed in my life,” Simmons says. He claims that he hasn't previously talked about how honored he is to be mentioned with the other actors in the category. I love Simmons joking about his “above average children.”
3:22 p.m. “Birdman Inner Monologue Cam” lets us find out that Emma Stone didn't see “Selma.” And then… Wow. Somebody should have written something here for this bit. But Julianne Moore is very amused by Kristen Bell's inner monologue for her. Kristen Wiig does a good job of keeping a straight face when her inner monologue suggests she's jealous of Kristen Bell. And Andy Samberg appreciates Fred Armisen's Andy Samberg impression.
3:24 p.m. Craig Robinson and Oliva Munn are presenting Best Screenplay, a category that absurdly includes “Big Eyes.” It also includes J.C. Chandor's fantastic “Most Violent Year” script, so I guess that's OK. Interestingly, “Boyhood” and “Birdman” were shut out here. The winner is… Dan Gilroy for “Nightcrawler.” So the Oscars may not have been feeling “Nightcrawler,” but it's getting some recognition here. Gilroy jokes that he could have called his film “Big Eyes” and thanks his parents.
3:30 p.m. Not that this show is moving slowly or that 2.5 hours is “long,” per se, but if the Independent Spirit Awards wanted to be truly baller, they'd do the show in two hours.
3:32 p.m. As I already told you, “Whiplash” won for editing and “Birdman” won for cinematography.
3:32 p.m. Emma Stone doesn't need a stinking partner. Armisen introduces her as “The beautiful and talented Emma Stone.” “Oh, Fred. I'm not that talented,” she says, before introducing the clip from “Birdman.”
3:34 p.m. Alexander Payne is presenting a Special Distinction Award to “Foxcatcher.” He praises the movie's depiction of brotherhood. And we get the trailer, basically. I get why the Robert Altman Award was something different. I don't get why “Foxcatcher” is getting this recognition other than that it got no other Indie Spirit recognition. Bennett Miller takes the stage to accept this arbitrary prize, which was previously announced. Miller reads an alleged note from P.T. Anderson apologizing to American Airlines and saying it was actually United. I have no clue if that was real. Miller doesn't even get one of the creatures-with-wings awards. He just gets a little monolith.
3:40 p.m. So now that we've got The Award We Gave To A Movie We Didn't Nominate for Any Awards… Fred Armisen and Kristen Bell are back in the American Airlines Tent-Lounge, as another apology to the sponsor. Ellar Coltrane is introducing the clip from “Boyhood.”
3:45 p.m. Best Documentary time! Three of these movies are up for the Oscar tomorrow. “Stray Dog” and “20,000 Days on Earth” are not. The winner is… Oscar frontrunner “CitizenFour.” Not my favorite here by any means. A big production team takes the stage. Laura Poitras gives the spotlight to Glenn Greenwald, who says that the film is about a subversion of democracy. He says whistleblowers deserve “our collective gratitude,” rather than years in prison.
3:50 p.m. Two acting lead awards, Best Director and Best Feature remain…
3:53 p.m. Scarlett Johansson is presenting Best Director. Is this a chance for the Independent Spirit Awards to make a bold statement of difference? Or to be the latest group to choose between Richard Linklater and Alejandro G. Iñárritu? The winner is… Richard Linklater for “Boyhood.” For the purposes of this afternoon, Richard Linklater looks an awful lot like Ethan Hawke. “I'm not Richard Linklater, but I play him in movies,” Hawke says truthfully. Hawke says that this win should serve as a flare gun for anybody with a unique vision.
3:58 p.m. The “Birdman” DVD is advertising hard during this telecast.
4:01 p.m. Ewan McGregor is presenting Best Female Lead. Cate Blanchett won this category last year, but she's presenting Best Feature. It's hard to imagine this not being the latest jewel in Julianne Moore's coronation crown. The winner is… Julianne Moore for “Still Alice.” “I've been making independent films for almost 25 years now,” she says. Everybody is boasting about how quickly they made their movies. In this case, it was 23 days. She talks about bringing her own bras to the production and convincing Alec Baldwin to do it.
4:06 p.m. “Please welcome my two favorite Jessicas — Jessica Chastain and Andy Samberg,” Fred Armisen says. Samberg loved “Interstellar” and he has only one question. “What was it like kissing Topher Grace?” He inquires of “J-Chay.” It turns out it was nice. They're presenting Best Male Lead, a category that includes Michael Keaton and four very nice people who weren't nominated for Oscars. Naturally, the winner is… Michael Keaton for “Birdman.” I hope he tells a really, really long story. “Look, it is a bird!” Keaton says of the trophy. He suggests they all should take a second to thank Narcissus. Deep. He jokes about how people are probably sick of him talking at this point. But nobody at this show is going to cut him off. Keaton talks about how great the Fred Armisen opening was and how Iñarritu told him how he was going to shoot the movie. And then I took a nap.
4:16 p.m. OK! All refreshed. Last award of the afternoon.
4:17 p.m. Welcome Cate Blanchett to present Best Picture. How about a “Love Is Strange” upset, kids? Just for fun? No? OK. Well… The winner is… “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” So there you go. Blanchett is very pleased for her “Babel” director. “It's truly, truly an honor,” Iñarritu says. He's very enthusiastic and say stuff about endangered species and directing as reproduction and Michael Keaton.
4:23 p.m. “I know that we all want to leave, but let's not,” Fred Armisen says. But that's all.
Let's hang out again tomorrow night for the Oscars…