The Spirit Awards honor those the Oscars can’t or won’t

02.27.16 2 years ago

The 31st Independent Spirt Awards took place this Saturday, February 27 with the fiendishly talented and hilarious Kate McKinnon & Kumail Nanjiani co-hosting the event.

Take a look at their parody of one of this year”s best films Room below.

The show, as in years past, aligned with the Academy Awards in some moments, but also served to do what the Oscars can”t, or won”t in others. Perhaps that”s just as it should be.

Brie Larson won for Best Female Lead for Room, and is very likely to win the Academy Award for Best Actress tomorrow night.

However, Spotlight, which won Best Feature, Director, and Screenplay at the Spirit Awards is in a three way race with The Revenant and The Big Short for the top prize at the Oscars. Though it”s likely to take Best Screenplay there as well. Typically, the Academy favors flashier films, so it's a pleasure to see the restraint that Spotlight director Tom McCarthy demonstrated honored at the Spirit Awards.

The big divergence was in the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories. At the Spirit Awards, Beasts of No Nation”s Abraham Attah won Best Male Lead while his co-star Idris Elba took the Supporting Actor prize. Neither is nominated for an Academy Award.

The Spirit Awards and the Academy Awards serve different functions. In some ways, the Spirits function to honor the films that do not have the financial resources nor the experienced teams to run a viable Oscar campaign, and that”s a very good thing. Discussions and debates about awards fatigue aside, it”s important to see a variety of films get some additional attention and ideally a few more eyes on them as a result of these events.

It”s imperfect, and we”ll all have films that we wish would get some additional awards love – or any at all. The quiet, heartbreaking brilliance of Charlie Kaufman”s Anomalisa hasn”t caught fire, which is disheartening to those of us who value and appreciate the work. Additionally, in the video below Drew McWeeny and I discuss the one film we all seemed to miss this year, including nearly all awards shows — Spike Lee's Chi-Raq.

You can take a look at the highlights from the Spirit Awards on the Film Independent YouTube channel HERE and the full winners list below.

Check back in with us tomorrow as we cover the Oscars live.

Best Feature

Beasts of No Nation
Spotlight (WINNER)

Best Director
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, Anomalisa
David Robert Mitchell, It Follows
Sean Baker, Tangerine 
Todd Haynes, Carol
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight (WINNER)

Best Screenplay
Charlie Kaufman, Anomalisa
Donald Margulies, The End of the Tour
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk
Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight (WINNER)

Best First Screenplay
Emma Donoghue, Room (WINNER)
Jesse Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
John Magary, Russell Harbaugh, Myna Joseph, The Mend
Jonas Carpignano, Mediterranea
Marielle Heller, The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Best First Feature
James White
Manos Sucias
Songs My Brothers Taught Me
The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Best Female Lead
Bel Powley, The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Brie Larson, Room (WINNER)
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Tangerine
Rooney Mara, Carol

Best Male Lead
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation (WINNER)
Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind
Christopher Abbott, James White
Jason Segel, The End of the Tour
Koudous Seihon, Mediterranea

Best Supporting Female
Cynthia Nixon, James White
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anomalisa
Marin Ireland, Glass Chin
Mya Taylor, Tangerine (WINNER)
Robin Bartlett, H.

Best Supporting Male
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation (WINNER)
Kevin Corrigan, Results
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Richard Jenkins, Bone Tomahawk

Best Documentary
Best of Enemies
Heart of a Dog
The Look of Silence (WINNER)
The Russian Woodpecker

Best Cinematography 
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
Ed Lachman, Carol (WINNER)
Joshua James Richards, Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Michael Gioulakis, It Follows
Reed Morano, Meadowland

Best Editing
Julo C. Perez IV, It Follows
Kristan Sprague, Manos Sucias
Nathan Nugent, Room
Ronald Bronstein and Benny Safdie, Heaven Knows What
Tom McArdle, Spotlight (WINNER)

Best International Film
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
Embrace of the Serpent
Son of Saul (WINNER)

John Cassavetes Award (For best feature made under $500,000): Krisha

Robert Altman Award: Spotlight

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