Indie Spirit Awards: ‘12 Years A Slave’ Takes Best Feature And Dominates With Five Wins; McConaughey & Blanchett Top Actors

By | Saturday March 1, 2014 @ 1:24pm PST

!2YearsASlaveSpiritsUPDATED WITH ALL WINNERS AND REACTIONS: The 29th annual Independent Spirit Awards ended up more like a cast party for Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years A Slave, which won five of the seven categories for which it was nominated today — including Best Feature and Best Director for Steve McQueen. The strong showing for the slave drama gives the pic plenty of momentum headed into tomorrow night’s Oscars, the marquee event in a long awards season in which 12 Years has been one of many films ebbing and flowing buzz-wise along with Warner Bros’ Gravity ahead of what’s being called one of the more wide-open Academy Awards in a long while.

Dede Gardner, a producer on the pic with her Plan B partner Brad Pitt, thanked the many people involved in making the movie (including Pitt for “getting the movie made when he said he would”). She also thanked the descendants of the film’s subject Solomon Northup. “It’s a reminder to care-take our freedom,” she said.

Spirit Award WinnersWith most of the big studio pics in the Oscar Best Picture race sitting it out today with the focus on indie fare under a tent on the beach in mostly rain-free Santa Monica, it allowed others to shine. Dallas Buyers’ Club‘s acting duo of Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto won Best Male Lead and Supporting Male, respectively. Cate Blanchett continued her hot streak winning Best Lead Female for Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, making her a solid favorite to win tomorrow night. Lupita Nyong’o won Best Supporting Female for 12 Years. That pic rounded out its wins with a Best Screenplay nod for John Ridley and Best Cinematography for Sean Bobbitt.

2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards - Show2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards - Backstage And AudienceThe Weinstein Company also had a good day during the ceremony, hosted by Patton Oswalt. Best Documentary went to the distrib’s 20 Feet From Stardom, whose subjects performed today, and Best First Feature went to writer-director Ryan Coogler for Fruitvale Station, which started its fruitful awards-season at Sundance 2012 when TWC acquired it for $2 million.

Oswalt presided over one of the most memorable parts of the show, when a black drone flew in and delivered the scroll announcing Nyong’o's win. Later, after Blue Is The Warmest Color won Best International Film, Oswalt came back out onstage covered in blood. ”Don’t touch the drone,” he quipped.

The weather, such an issue during the blustery and wet 2011 Spirit Awards, held for most of the day, with rain beginning to fall just as Blanchett reached backstage after her acceptance speech. ”There’s a storm coming,” she said to the press. “It was nice knowing you all in case we’re swept away.”

Related: Oscars Rainout? Organizers Say No Way

The Spirit Awards will be shown tonight at 10 PM ET/PT on IFC. But here’s how the day went down, with on-scene coverage by Deadline’s Pete HammondDominic Patten and Anthony D’Alessandro and contributor Diane Haithman.

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Film Independent Announces 2014 Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants

By | Saturday January 11, 2014 @ 1:20pm PST

spirit awardsSpirit Awards org Film Independent today named the recipients of its annual filmmaker grants at the Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch hosted by Angela Bassett, Emily Mortimer, and Alessandro Nivola. The Piaget Producers Award rewarding emerging producers who … Read More »

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2014 Spirit Awards: ‘12 Years A Slave’, ‘All Is Lost’, ‘Frances Ha’, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ & ‘Nebraska’ Nab Best Feature Noms

By | Tuesday November 26, 2013 @ 9:58am PST

Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years A Slave, Lionsgate’s All Is Lost, IFC’s Frances Ha, CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis and Paramount Vantage’s Nebraska will vie for Best Feature at the 2014 Spirit Awards. 12 Years A Slave leads the field with 7 nominations. The Robert Altman Award honoring a film’s director, casting director, and ensemble cast will be awarded to Jeff Nichols’ Mud. Film Independent’s 29th Spirit Awards will be held March 1 in Santa Monica with Patton Oswalt hosting. Here is the full list of 2014 nominees announced today:

BEST FEATURE
12 Years A Slave
All Is Lost
Frances Ha
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska

BEST DIRECTOR
Shane Carruth, Upstream Color
J.C. Chandor, All Is Lost
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Jeff Nichols, Mud
Alexander Payne, Nebraska Read More »

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Spirit Awards: Patton Oswalt Set As Host

By | Tuesday November 19, 2013 @ 9:39am PST

The actor and comic will preside over Film Independent’s 29th annual trophy show March 1 under a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. Patton Oswalt appears in Ben Stiller’s upcoming awards contender The Secret Read More »

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Spirit Awards 2013: Harvey Weinstein Has Great Day With Winners ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, Jennifer Lawrence, David O Russell; ‘The Sessions’ And ‘Amour’ Also Score

By | Saturday February 23, 2013 @ 1:10pm PST

On-scene coverage by Deadline’s Pete Hammond and Dominic Patten, Awardsline’s Anthony D’Alessandro, and contributor Diane Haithman. Written by Nikki Finke:

Refresh For Latest… SANTA MONICA – The always fun (and usually comic) 28th Annual Film Independent Spirit AwardsRead More »

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More Spirit Awards Presenters Unveiled

By | Tuesday February 19, 2013 @ 1:07pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Amy Poehler, Dennis Quaid, Dermot Mulroney, Ellen Page, Emily Mortimer, Jason Schwartzman and Laura Dern are the latest batch of presenters confirmed for the 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards, set for Saturday afternoon. Andy Samberg is hosting … Read More »

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Andy Samberg On Hosting Spirit Awards

By | Thursday February 14, 2013 @ 12:24pm PST

Andy Samberg made this video about preparing to host the Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 23rd. Hope he’ll be funnier than this lame bit:

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Film Independent Names Mary Sweeney Board Chair

By | Friday January 11, 2013 @ 10:47am PST

Filmmaker and David Lynch collaborator Mary Sweeney replaces Bill Condon atop the board of the indie film organization, which among other events puts on the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Awards (this year set for February 23 on the beach in Santa Monica and hosted by Andy Samberg). Film Independent‘s board members are Sweeney, Condon, Randy Barbato, Adriene Bowles, Effie T. Brown, Laura Dern, DeVon Franklin, Sid Ganis, Rodrigo García, Vondie Curtis Hall, Michael Helfant, Marcus Hu, Laura Kim, Sue Kroll, Kasi Lemmons, David Linde, Allan Mayer, Ted Mundorff, Gail Mutrux, Tom Ortenberg, Alan Poul, Cathy Schulman, Nancy Utley and Forest Whitaker. From today’s release: Read More »

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Salma Hayek, Jeremy Renner Named Spirit Awards Co-Chairs

By | Friday January 4, 2013 @ 10:41am PST

Film Independent announced today that Salma Hayek and Jeremy Renner will serve as honorary co-chairs for the 2013 Spirit Awards. The honor is bestowed on those who exemplify outstanding artistic achievement and embody Film … Read More »

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Andy Samberg To Host Spirit Awards

By | Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 9:34am PST

LOS ANGELES (December 11, 2012) – Film Independent co-presidents Sean McManus and Josh Welsh jointly announced that Andy Samberg will serve as host for the 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The nonprofit, which also produces the Los Angeles Film

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Spirit Awards Nominations Announced

By | Tuesday November 27, 2012 @ 10:35am PST

Nominees for Best Feature are Fox Searchlight’s Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Millennium Entertainment’s Bernie, Music Box Films’ Keep The Lights On, Gotham Award best picture winner Moonrise Kingdom from Focus Features and The Weinstein Company’s Silver Linings Playbook. Sean Baker’s Starlet will receive the Robert Altman Award, given to a film’s director, casting director, and ensemble cast. Among distributors, Searchlight leads the way with nine nominations overall, followed by Music Box with seven and IFC Films, Focus and Sony Pictures Classics with six apiece. Winners will be announced at the 28th Annual Spirit Awards on February 23. The full list of nominees follows:

BEST FEATURE
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey & Josh Penn (producers)
Bernie
Liz Glotzer, Richard Linklater, David McFadzean, Dete Meserve, Judd Payne, Celine Rattray, Martin Shafer, Ginger Sledge, Matt Williams (producers)
Keep the Lights On
Marie Therese Guirgis, Lucas Joaquin, Ira Sachs (producers)
Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales, Scott Rudin (producers)
Silver Linings Playbook
Bruce Cohen, Donna Gigliotti, Jonathan Gordon (producers)

BEST DIRECTOR
Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom
Julia Loktev, The Loneliest Planet
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ira Sachs, Keep the Lights On
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

BEST SCREENPLAY
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom
Zoe Kazan, Ruby Sparks
Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ira Sachs, Keep the Lights On

BEST FIRST FEATURE
(Award given to the director and producer)
Fill the Void
Rama Burshtein (director); Assaf Amir (producer)
Gimme the Loot
Adam Leon (director); Dominic Buchanan, Natalie Difford, Jamund Washington (producers)
Safety Not Guaranteed
Colin Trevorrow (director); Derek Connolly, Stephanie Langhoff, Peter Saraf, Colin Trevorrow, Marc Turtletaub (producers)
Sound of My Voice
Zal Batmanglij (director); Brit Marling, Hans Ritter, Shelley Surpin (producers)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky (director);  Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Russell Smith (producers) Read More »

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Anna Kendrick, Zoe Saldana & Common To Unveil Spirit Award Nominees Nov. 27

By | Friday November 16, 2012 @ 10:41am PST

LOS ANGELES (November 16, 2012) – Film Independent Co-Presidents Sean Mc Manus and Josh Welsh jointly announced today this year’s 2013 Spirit Award nominees will be presented by actors Anna Kendrick (End Of Watch, Up In The Air),

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Spirit Awards 2013 Set For February 23

By | Wednesday November 14, 2012 @ 10:06am PST

LOS ANGELES (November 14, 2012) – Film Independent Co-Presidents Sean Mc Manus and Josh Welsh jointly announced today the 28th Film Independent Spirit Awards will once again hold its traditional Saturday afternoon awards show in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica on February 23. The live-to-tape event will be executive produced by Diana Zahn-Storey who returns for her 17th broadcast and will premiere later that evening on IFC at 10:00 pm ET/PT. Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, will announce the 2013 Spirit Award nominees in a press conference on Tuesday, November 27 at The W Hotel in Hollywood. Film Independent members are eligible to vote.

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Spirit Awards Set For February 23, 2013

By | Tuesday August 14, 2012 @ 2:40pm PDT

The 28th Film Independent Spirit Awards will be held on Saturday, February 23, 2013 with the ceremony airing exclusively on IFC. The location and broadcast time will be announced soon. The nominations will be announced on Tuesday, November 27 at 10:00 am PST, with the location of the press conference forthcoming. Premiere sponsors for this year’s ceremony are Piaget and Jameson® Irish Whiskey.

Film Independent is accepting submissions for the Spirit Awards beginning TODAY, with the regular deadline of Tuesday, September 18 and the final deadline of Tuesday, October 16.

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Spirit Awards: Weinstein Near-Sweep: ‘The Artist’, Michelle Wlliams, Jean Dujardin, Michel Hazanavicius, Guillaume Schiffman

By and | Saturday February 25, 2012 @ 1:36pm PST

SANTA MONICA – The Artist won 4 awards. But its distributor The Weinstein Company swept 5 at today’s 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Picture, Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Director and Best Cinematographer. Hosted by Seth Rogen, the 27th annual awards ceremony took place during a luncheon in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. The Spirit Awards celebrate artist-driven filmmaking and recognizes the best achievements of today’s independent filmmakers. This year the weather was cooperating: sunny and warm as the looky-loos lined up on the sand to snap a picture and grab a handshake from their favorite stars arriving in a fleet of black limos and cars.

Seth Rogen opened the show by continuing the Spirit Awards’ long tradition of provocative standup, saying: “I have no fucking clue why we’re in a tent right now. There are previously existing structures where we could have done [the awards]. You know you are at a class awars show if they have porto-potty.”… He notes how he’s “hosted a few Seders” before this. I don’t know what the opposite of selling out is, but I want that to happen.”

He tells the audience, “I’m committed to watching all your movies. I made it through the first 5 minutes of every single one of them. Some start out slow, pretty fuckin’ slow. [He draws that out so it’s funnier.) ... Rogen lampoons Spirits for giving awards for “Tallest Horse, Prettiest Pig"... He calls Spirits "the only awards show that is completely inconsequential. Nothing will come of this, absolutely nothing. It won’t help you get paid any more. If anything, it proves you’ll work for nothing."

Of all the four seasons there's no season like awards season. Without awards season we wouldn't know what a horrible bigot Brett Ratner is." ... "The Grammy's seem much more forgiving than the Oscars altogether. At the Grammys you can beat the shit out of your girlfriend and they'll ask you to perform. Twice."

Rogen made fun of The Artist: "Didn't we learn anything from Roberto Bernini?"

And he gave some backhanded compliments to George Clooney. "I loved The Descendants. I now know how George Clooney would look at a Jimmy Buffet concert: pretty fuckin’ sexy. You know a movie is good when it makes you feel bad for George Clooney." ... Rogen said it made him want to "hold him, caress him, undress him, then fuck the shit out of him."

About the movie Drive, Rogen joked, "It made Jews look so scary I thought Mel Gibson made it...

About the film Shame, Rogen noted how "Michael Fassbender's dick almost got the role of the knob in Albert Nobbs."

Rogen went on to say, "Great year, I just learned there was another Olsen. The best one. Where were they keeping her?"

Later, during the Spirit Awards show, Patricia Clarkson led a toast to the memory of independent film executive Bingham Ray who passed away at the most recent Sundance Film Festival: “In January, we lost Bingham Ray. He was an independent film. He was gutsy, ingenious, a little out of focus, heartbreaking, unforgettable, and way too many curse words for PG-13. Please join me in a toast for this man that we loved very much. To Bingham. Thank you, Bingham. Wish you were here. Cheers, thank you.”

2012 Film Independent Spirit Award Winners

BEST FEATURE

The Artist - Producer: Thomas Langmann

Langmann onstage talked about how hard it is getting film financing, then gave special thanks to Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Fremaux and The Weinstein Co's Harvey Weinstein.

Backstage, Langmann was at first asked a question in French, drawing howls of protest from the English-speaking press. But the accommodating producer joked, “I don’t speak French,” then immediately translated the question: “It's about Harvey Weinstein, what is most important about him. [It is] his weight,” he said, to laughter. “I mean, he’s big. And this is the end of our American career.

He went on to praise Weinstein’s tenacity in getting the movie made. ”He came. He flew. We were totally unknown, and he went to see a movie that was silent and black and white. Our stars were not known here. He thought there was something that made it worth flying to come to see the movie. And he did, and here we are today. I have nothing bad to say.” He called having this movie recognized a “tribute to Hollywood cinema, a dream come true.”

When director Michel Hazanavicius arrived backstage to join Langmann and actors James Cromwell and Penelope Ann Miller, Langmann deferred to the director.  “This is Mr. Magic,” he said.

Said Hazanavicius, “There is no recipe to build magic,” and credited luck and hiring talented people. He joked about the demands of constantly appearing at awards shows this season. “It’s not the worst job you can find. People say you are nice guy, you are talented, you have a very charming French accent. And we have the police come to escort us from the airport. That was great!”

The director said he’s feeling “a little stage fright” for tomorrow’s Oscars. “I can’t say I’m super cool. But today - this is important too. This means a lot because it is a small movie, it’s not expensive, we did it with small money, and it’s black and white and silent.”

But, with another apparent wink to Weinstein, ”Small money, but his money,” the director added.

BEST DIRECTOR

Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

The Artist filmmakers just landed from the French Casar Awards and drove here with a police escort (your tax dollars at work), according to Hazanavicius in his acceptance speech: “We just arrived from France five minutes ago. We came from the airport with a police escort so it was like a theme from Drive. As for independent film, you’re never really independent because you always need somebody.”

BEST SCREENPLAY

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash – The Descendants

BEST FIRST FEATURE (given to the director and producer)

Margin Call – Director: J.C. Chandor; Producers: Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Neal Dodson, Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Zachary Quinto

Chandor said backstage: “There was a tremendous concern in bringing this property to the screen and in shopping this around we could not find the money to do it. There was trepidation about it.” Chandor noted that Quinto helped get his friends to take roles. ”Casting was always a big moving puzzle. But one by one, it came together.”

Quinto said backstage: “The thing that actors respond to is material. When I read the script, it was unequivocally clear that I wanted to get behind this project. J.C.’s affability, his ability to articulate his point of view put actors at ease and disarmed them. I think all the credit goes back to J.C. Everyone signed on because of him and his screenplay. I just had to twist some arms.”

Quinto said he’s producing Chandor’s follow-up which is going into pre-production soon.

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

Will Reiser – 50/50

Reiser onstage said he “had to give credit where credit is due — to cancer”. (At 24, Reiser was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Six years later, he got a clean bill of health and wrote a film comedy based on his cancer experiences.)

The best part of winning, Reiser said backstage, was being part of a “prestigious list of names, writers who have been major influences. To be listed amongst those names is really special. I had no idea how much the movie would connect with people, because it was so personal to me and the guys, Seth and Evan.” He was affected by “how it has really touched people and connected with people, especially people who have been affected by cancer who can really relate to it.” He added that winning an Indie award was especially gratifying because in commercial film there “is less and less room for films like these.”

And if you thought cancer was funny, Reiser says his next project is a comedy about Alzheimer’s disease based on a vacation he took with his grandmother who was in the early stages of the disease. He and grandma mistakenly ended up at a Jamaican couples resort. “And I lost her,” Reiser said.

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the writer,directo, and producer of the best feature made for under $500,000

Pariah Writer/Director: Dee Rees; Producer: Nekisa Cooper

Rees said onstage: “Anytime we can have two whiskies before noon is alright…”

“Pariah is a film about identity,” said director and writer Dee Rees backstage. “It’s a universal concept that everyone can relate to. I only referenced one other film in making this, and it was Paris Is Burning. The filmmakers of that movie thrust you in, exploring their world. We trusted the audience and didn’t want to overexplain. This award is meaningful to me because Cassavetes is one of my favorite directors.”

Producer Nekisa Cooper said backstage: ”You make a film for a half a million dollars and you’re always a winner. It took a village to make this film – IFP, Sundance Institute, Spike Lee.  Our D.P. built lights to try to figure out ways to make shots better. We shot in 18 days, and we had a creative and technical crew. Our production designer transformed a 4-story brownstone into 10 different locations.” Cooper gave this advise to wannabe filmmakers: “Find a good producer. Someone who’ll support a good vision around your film.” Read More »

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Is ‘The Artist’ In Spirit Of An American Indie?

By | Saturday February 25, 2012 @ 12:42pm PST

Do the Spirit Awards matter? They’re supposed to bring needed attention to American independent film – and they do. But the devil is in the details. The Artist just swept France’s top film awards, the Césars. But if the film wins the top … Read More »

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Spirit Awards: Colin Farrell, Willem Dafoe, John Waters To Present

By | Tuesday February 21, 2012 @ 4:30pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Colin Farrell, Willem Dafoe, John Waters, Anna Kendrick and Olivia Wilde are on tap as presenters at this weekend’s Film Independent Spirit Awards. Anthony Mackie and Kate Beckinsale unveiled the nominees for this year’s awards in … Read More »

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Trailer Debut: SXSW’s Spirit Award Nominee ‘Natural Selection’

By | Monday February 13, 2012 @ 9:48am PST

Check out the trailer for Natural Selection, a big winner at last year’s SXSW Film Festival where it picked up the prizes for best narrative feature, the audience award and breakthrough performance for Rachael Harris. Harris is nominated for best female performance at the upcoming Independent Spirit Awards and Pickering … Read More »

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Seth Rogen To Host Spirit Awards

By | Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 10:24am PST

LOS ANGELES (December 13, 2011) – Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced that Seth Rogen will serve as host for the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The

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