I love award shows. So many people demean them as elitist and unnecessary, which is why I think they are so much fun. I know that the best of anything having to do with art is subjective, yet it’s in our makeup to give out awards and I get a lot out of watching celebrities dressed up and drunk. It all culminates in Sunday night’s Academy Awards.
The Film Independent Spirit Awards are held on the Saturday afternoon before Oscar Sunday. The event is held in Santa Monica, on the beach, in a tent, with the crowd in more relaxed attire than the Golden Globes, Grammys or Oscars.
The Film Independent Spirit Awards were founded in 1984. The awards are dedicated to independent filmmakers. The awards themselves are a metal trophy of a bird with its wings spread sitting atop of a pole with shoestrings representing the bare budgets of independent films.
The Film Independent Spirit Award are produced by Film Independent, a non-profit arts organization that also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival: “…with a mission is to champion creative independence in visual storytelling and support a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision”. Film Independent Members vote to determine the winners of the Spirit Awards.
At this year’s presentation, held Saturday, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles took to the stage inside of the tent and delivered a priceless, epic, very funny musical tribute to the gayest moments in film of 2019.
The number climaxed in a hymn to icon Laura Dern, nominated for Best Supporting Female for Marriage Story. Among the gay moments listed in the song were: “Laura Dern ordering a kale salad” and “Laura Dern dressed slutty in court“, referring to her fabulously wicked performance as lawyer Nora Fanshaw in Marriage Story. That performance is now one all-time greatest award show moments. The song was accompanied by images from some of Dern’s most iconic work including Wild At Heart (1990), Blue Velvet (1986), and Jurassic Park (1993) Watch:
Marriage Story won the Robert Altman Award, given to the acting ensemble. Writer-director Noah Baumbach, casting directors Douglas Aibel and Francine Maisler, and cast members Dern, Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Julie Hagerty, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta and Merritt Wever accepted the statuettes.
Dern won the Best Supporting award, just as she will Sunday night at the Academy Awards. This awards season, Dern also took home a Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Award. Starting in 2017 with her performance as Renata Klein in HBO’s Big Little Lies, which brought her an Emmy, Dern’s career has had a bit of a renaissance.
The deadpan host Aubrey Plaza began her monologue with jab at the Academy Awards for its lack of diversity with its nominations. She did her best to offend everyone:
“Jennifer Lopez is here you guys. She just played the Super Bowl last weekend. What did you do, Mary Kay Place? Nothing, because you’re a lazy sack of shit! Just kidding, you’re a national treasure.”
Here are the winners from Saturday’s ceremony:
Best Feature: The Farwell
Best First Feature: Booksmart
Best Director: Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems
Best Female Lead: Renée Zellweger, Judy
Best Male Lead: Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems
Best Supporting Female: Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell
Best Supporting Male: Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse
Best Screenplay: Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Best International Film: Parasite (South Korea)
Best Documentary: American Factory
Best Cinematography: Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse
Best Editing: Ronald Bronstein and Benny Safdie, Uncut Gems