Rallying for two of the final three wins of the afternoon, Fox Searchlight’s Birdman won a leading three times at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on the beach in Santa Monica. It added wins for Best Actor Michael Keaton and cinematography for Emmanuel Lubezki. Three other films had two wins: Boyhood, including for Best Director Richard Linklater; Whiplash, including for Supporting Actor JK Simmons; and Nightcrawler, including Best Screenplay for Dan Gilroy. Check out how our live blog of the ceremony went down.
The weather is spectacular here at the beach today — but gather round the virtual campfire to hear it from those who were here at the Independent Spirit Awards back in 2011, when Black Swan took the top award and it actually snowed in Burbank. “Unusual,” reported the Internet. The weather here in Santa Monica was no better, with whipping winds, deep puddles from a downpour the night before and icy temperatures chilling the proceedings. But this spectacularly sunny day is ominous in its own way: It leaves 200-or-so journalists with about half an hour to wait for the show to start — with nothing at all to bitch about.
They’re announcing some awards before the live telecast – editing and cinematography. Gillian Jacobs and Dax Shepard are up first presenting.
“Everyone who is winning has weird things going on with their faces and they’re not fit for TV,” quips Shepard on why some awards are falling outside the live telecast.
Film budgets must not exceed
$20 million to be eligible for the Spirit Awards, which ruled out “Foxcatcher,”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Inherent Vice.”
The show has started here in Santa Monica with Dax Sherpard and Community’s Gillian Jacobs onstage. Lunch has being served here at the Indie Spirits, the tent is filling up faster that a champagne flute and they are about to start handing out the first awards before going to the televised part of the show. They are about to gove out the editing awards.
Looking around the tables, I see Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Birdman’s crew of Michael Keaton, Emma Stone (both fashionable in black), Transparent star and indie kingpin Jay Duplass… and many more.
Also, Searchlight’s Wild and TWC’s The Imitation Game were snubbed at the noms this year.
Whiplash won for editing.
Best cinematography goes to Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman
Wow! This crowd is popping right off the bat with a win for Whiplash in editing
“I’m not Tom Cross,” says Whiplash’s helmer Damien Chazelle to big laughs in the tent. “He’s just a director’s dream.” And now a first winner for Birdman in Cinematography
When Lubezki interviewed for the DP job on Terrence Malick’s New World, he pitched the director that the whole film should be shot in natural light. Malick loved his Chivo’s sense of dare. As has been oft reported, shots during Birdman were extensive, and if an actor or production person flubbed up, they would have to start all over again.
“You are a pain in the ass but you are absolutely one of the greatest directors I’ve ever worked with, says Emmanuel Lubezki of Alejandro G.Iñárritu. “Michael Keaton I love you,” he says to the star right in front of the stage. Speech from Film Indie president Josh Welsh, which means you suddenly hear a lot of cutlery rattling as people eat. Funny shout out to the sponsors and nice welcome to the director of Dear White People, Justin Simien and other young filmmakers in attendance.
Ha –Minutes before the live broadcast, onstage independent president Josh Welsh tells the audience to “keep applause going all the way to the podium” as winners with seats in the back make their way to the stage.
Boyhood director Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused is just ending on IFC, so the televised show’s about to start.
Few more sightings in the room – Whiplash’s Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons chatting with Jason Reitman at their table. The two actors are heading backstage for something to do with the opening… maybe there’ll be yelling? And a Desperate Housewives reunion of a sort with Kyle MacLachlan and Marcia Cross bumping into each other earlier on the way to their tables. Maybe MacLachlan will be doing a skit with his Portlandia co-star and today’s co-host Armisen
The band has ended – thank God – and we are “two minutes until live” on IFC
A photo posted by Olivia Munn (@oliviamunn) on Feb 21, 2015 at 12:44pm PST
Kerry Washington and Cate Blanchett here too – and the opening film is about to start
They love Miles Teller in opening spoof – are you rushing or dragging and a good Portlandia gag .. hey Bill Hader as Birdman director Alejandro G.Iñárritu got massive laugh in the tent
Dom, what do you think of the hosts? I love Patton Oswalt’s hosting duties previously. I thought he dared to go blue.
Armisen’s joke about this year’s indie films reminding him this “really is the golden age of television” was a winner. Hey – there’s Oprah. So far Bell and Armisen are in top form – if this keeps up, they might be getting a call from the Golden Globes tonight.
Backstage, editing wininer Tom Cross (Whiplash) said that the biggest challenge for his team was the “race against the clock. We had a very short time to actually work on the movie” before it would be submitted to Sundance. Director Damien Chazelle told him: “The amount of time we took to edit the shirt film is the same amount of time we’ll have to edit the entire film before we submit to Sundance.”
Few laughs for the hosts back in the press tent.
Lyrics for the Donny and Marie homage: They’re “A little bit indie, a little bit studio”
Best supporting actress coming up….
Hmmm — be sweet is Boyhood star Ethan Hawke hands the Best Supporting Actress award to his co-star
Winner: BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE – Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Lotta cheers for Patricia Arquette in the tent and a big hug from Hawke. Tmrw’s looking good for her. “I’ve made a lot of independent films but never been invited to this party before,” she says before thanking Hawke and the cast and crew of Boyhood The nice words to distributors, especially to Boyhood’s IFC get massive cheer – biggest of the night. And we’re going to a commercial – so grab a drink here in the tent
She’s a great ad-libber Arquette. Taking the stage, they played the announcer’s voiceover, to which Arquette hysterically responded, “Is that God?!?”
Is “rushing or dragging” from Whiplash going to be the mantra of the Indie Spirits this year?
Either way they are really moving this baby along and having pro comics like Kristen Wiig and Zack G giving out awards works well – as did that slap at the GOP here in Democrat heavy Santa Monica
Arquette backstage: “One of my agents who is here tonight, when we started production he was an assistant, now he’s a partner at the firm. That’s how long Boyhood has been going on.”
Winner: BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY – Justin Simien, Dear White People
A photo posted by Antonio DAlessandro (@antonio.dalessandro.714) on Feb 21, 2015 at 2:25pm PST
I saw Dear White People at Sundance last year and it got a roar in the Library theater then like it just did here. Yes Justin, “thank you for letting me be creepy” with the staring at Oprah joke. Dear White People started from a Twitter feed and now …
Patricia Arquette is juggling an indie career with a TV series, and backstage she was asked how she balances art and commerce. She said her grandparents were in Vaudeville, “ it was like 5 cents s ticket, entertainment for the masses. That’s what network television is…it pays better than a lot of things, and right now independent film pays very little.” One supports the other, she says. The best thing to be in your career, she adds, is “brave.”
A video posted by Antonio DAlessandro (@antonio.dalessandro.714) on Feb 21, 2015 at 2:25pm PST
Kerry Washington just silenced the whole tent by the fourth word out of her mouth from the stage – Maybe she really is Olivia Pope
The look back at the 30 years of Indie Spirits shows a lot of mainstream superstars – that Sean Penn “you tolerate me, you really tolerate me” perfect touch
I think I was wearing that jacket Quentin Tarantino had back in 1995 yesterday
A photo posted by Antonio DAlessandro (@antonio.dalessandro.714) on Feb 21, 2015 at 2:36pm PST
How Simien made Dear White People while he was working full-time as a publicist: “2 hours everyday, stayed home on weekends until it was done.”
Dear White People’s Justin Simien was asked backstage whether race relations have changed since the film’s inception (which he revealed was some 10 years ago). “Incrementally better, but not terribly different,” he replied with a wry laugh. But stay tuned: Simien says he doesn’t want to do a sequel, but a TV series: “And it will be called Dear White People.”
Is it possible to call a moratorium on press members asking winners backstage where they plan to keep their award? Seriously, after awhile it invites a vulgar punch line…
The Robert Altman Award was announced a while back but ;Julianne Moore’s comment that Inherent Vice director Paul Thomas Anderson is an “heir” to the Nashville director seems justified, especially from the nods in the tent.
2015 Robert Altman award, pre-announced goes to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice. “I think Robert Atlman would be humiliated by that clip.” Anderson’s just got a pop from the press tent in his diss of the Indie Spirits sponsor “Don’t F’n fly American Airlines! They will lose your luggage.”
“Humiliated” comment by Anderson with that Altman was nice but the hit at sponsor American Airlines (they will lose your luggage) was truly indie – hope they didn’t beep it on TV
Note from home office: They did not bleep that on TV….
P.T. Anderson was the stand-by director on Altman’s last film Prairie Home Companion.
Almost half way through today’s show … tipping point? That Batmobile jab at Keaton felt like it, too easy
Winner: LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The Kill Team. Director: Dan Krauss
Nice recovery from the prompter misread by Michael Pena
Instagram below from Love Is Strange director Ira Sachs.
Winner: BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM – Ida (Poland) Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Refreshing: Says Ida director Pawel Pawlikowski at the podium: “Thank you my competitors for losing this time.”
“Thank you my competitors for losing this time” – Now why doesn’t everyone say that at an Awards show like Ida director Pawel Pawlikowski just did?
I gotta say, with the Indie Spirits being live on IFC for the first time this year, the going to commercials has really started to change the vibe in the tent from past years – good or bad, people are up and milling about a lot more than before.
Unlike tmrw’s Oscars, the drinks are flowing too
Opps, 45 secs to air call out, not a lot of movement
For some reason the house band really likes Diego Luna and Jenny Slate – arms up as they walked on stage
Winner: JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000) – Land Ho! Writers/Directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens; Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy
This “fake award show mad, really mad” thing was the low of the show so far .. presenters felt it too
Winner: BEST FIRST FEATURE – Nightcrawler. Director: Dan Gilroy; Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak
Pawlikowski backstage said today’s award is especially important for a film like Ida that was “made with no hope of any commercial success…we know that these little miracles happen and that keeps us going.” He said that his intention was to make a personal story, rather than a political statement. He added that, ironically, filmmaking was actually easier in Communist Poland: “The paradox is (Communism) made the film industry flourish” both because of the available monetary support and “the tension in the air, something to talk about.”
Nightcrawler producer literally jumped out his seat when they won, standing O at his table from Jason Reitman, Miles Teller and more
Another slap at superhero movies – this time by Nightcrawler helmer Dan Gilroy. Thing is I’ve been in this tent in past years with tried and true indie directors who are now behind the camera on caped pics…that pot of gold isn’t so bad
Speaking of gold, just saw a very sharp looking Morgan Neville, who won the docu OScar last year for 20 Feet From Stardom. His Best Of Enemies docu played at Sundance this year like 20 Feet did in before
Lot of people trying to get back to their tables from commercial break while Oprah comes onstage – see the live broadcast is really changing the dynamic of the Indie Spirits show
Jared Leto repeat performance of last year’s long long thank you speech not a hit in the tent … nice jacket and hat though
Oh yeah, lots of clapping for J.K. Simmons when he appears on screen
Winner: BEST SUPPORTING MALE – J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Even more from his table when he wins and the man himself is up and heading towards the stage like a bolt of lightening
Is J.K a lock for the Oscars tmrw? Does that mean he’ll stop doing those insurance ads?
Whiplash is the first multiple winner of the night but don’t count Boyhood or Birdman out for that also
Winner: KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – H. Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia
This inner monologue thing is really hit and miss – Keaton and Wiig were good. Have they run out of ideas to keep this fun in real time? Maybe the delay to broadcast wasn’t such a bad idea
Winner: BEST SCREENPLAY – Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Another win for Nightcrawler — they are the second multiple winner after Whiplash today. And yes that same producer did a jump out of his chair, smaller than last time
Jared Leto just dropped by the backstage tent in his technicolor dreamcoat to say hi: “You guys miss me this year?” he quipped.
JK Simmons backstage after his best supporting win for Whiplash. “There’s an embarrassing large collection of (awards) sitting on a mini-fridge in our bathroom.”
Three f**ks on the show so far ..nothing FCC can do cause IFC is cable but wondering if that decision to go live is now being reconsidered. How Indie do you really want to go on a Saturday afternoon?
JK Simmons plays a teacher in Whiplash, what does he think of the state of education in America? “I think there are unfortunate inconsistencies, there are school systems that are underfunded greatly, but funding isn’t the only problem. Then there are other institutes that do a great job.”
Walk back of sponsorship slag by P.T. Anderson of American Airlines saves itself by the United Airlines slap that comes out of it
20 mins to go until the 30th Indie Spirit Awards are over .. and then its all about the Dolby tmrw, which it kind of has been for weeks actually
In the backstage tent, Dan Gilroy described his antihero lead character, Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) as “a maladjusted young man abandoned is a world of transactions,” admitting that Lou also might fall on the autism spectrum. He added that he and his producers were very surprised that so many local newcasters were willing to participate in a film that is such an indictment of TV journalism. Producers joining Gilroy backstage assured the assembled journalists that those participating did, in fact, read the script.
Winner: BEST DOCUMENTARY – CitizenFour. Director/Producer: Laura Poitras; Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky
Wow – the Netfilx crowd cheered hard for Virunga but Snowden docu took it
Half expected a video appearance by Ed Snowden just now
Glenn Greenwald may be the biggest star in the room right now, certainly the biggest crowd pleaser
“Hello, I don’t know what I’m doing here,” exclaimed Foxcatcher director Bennett Miller in the press tent. He’s back here for his Special Distinction Award. When asked about the casting process; landing Ruffalo and Carell, he snarked to the reporter, “I’ve answered that question too many times.” Looking back on the journey of Foxcatcher; it was originally scheduled to come out last Oscar season, Miller said, “It was a very open-ended, improvisational, collaborative process. The lines were changing as we were coloring.”
“I’m gonna miss the questions from those people for who the movie lingers.”
Less than 10 mins to go …
Nice superhero crack in Scarlett Johansson intro. The room is pulsing for the Best Director award .. camera crews at all the relevant tables
Winner: BEST DIRECTOR – Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Boyhood is now a multiple Indie Spirit Award winner too – but no Richard Linklater
Ethan Hawke talking to me at Sundance earlier this year on Boyhood and indie pics – check it out
Ethan Hawke At Sundance: Talks ‘Boyhood’, “Studios Are Making Less & Less Movies” & What Audiences Want To See – Video
Three awards left – Best Male and Female leads and Best Feature and they are going to run over — that’s live TV at a live event
Opps, just got told the TV sched for today’s Indie Spirits until 4:30 so they’ll make it. Everyone here said it was supposed to be over at 4
A photo posted by JARED LETO (@jaredleto) on Feb 21, 2015 at 3:51pm PST
Is that a leftover from the Velvet Goldmine wardrobe that Ewan McGregor is wearing?
Winner: BEST FEMALE LEAD – Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Overheard – “She’s got it for tmrw for sure” as people stand up to applaud Julianne Moore
Andy & Jessica – what is this time filler?
Best documentary winners of Citizenfour, dir. Laura Poitras and journo Glenn Greenwald in the press tent:
Every nominee getting a big cheer in the tent – a roar for Keaton
Winner – BEST MALE LEAD: Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Dom, I thought Andy Samberg’s banter with J Cha was hysterical: “How was it to kiss Topher Grace in Interstellar? Is it like I imagined like satin pillows?”
Vanity, vanity all is vanity .. thanks for that Keaton. Otherwise great comic timing and generous
When it comes to Best Actor at the Oscars tmrw, Eddie Redmayne is the elephant not in the tent. Theory of Everything not indie
Oh LA, just like at a Lakers or Kings game, bunch of people leaving before its over. Kristen Bell giving out $25,000 Producers Award
A lot of speculation out there, but relatively few questions about Oscar backstage today. But Julianne Moore, resplendent in green sequins, gave a zinger of a response: “It’s tomorrow?” she gasped. On a more serious note she said that her award winning role was intended to explore Alzheimer’s disease from the perspective of “lining with something, not dying from it.”
Chris Olhson who was one of the producers of Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter accepted it
A photo posted by Antonio DAlessandro (@antonio.dalessandro.714) on Feb 21, 2015 at 4:01pm PST
Back on TV in 10 secs with Best Feature
Nervous agents mulling around rim of the room
Winner: BEST FEATURE – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole
Birdman crew right at the front of the stage, big hugs all round
A lot of speculation out there, but relatively few questions about Oscar backstage today. But Julianne Moore, resplendent in green sequins, gave a zinger of a response: “It’s tomorrow?” she gasped. On a more serious note she said that her award winning role was intended to explore Alzheimer’s disease from the perspective of “living with something, not dying from it.”
A video posted by Antonio DAlessandro (@antonio.dalessandro.714) on Feb 21, 2015 at 4:17pm PST
Will Iñárritu be giving almost this same speech tmrw? Either way, Birdman won the most awards at Indie Spirits with a trio
Ah, the Birman edit mystery revealed – more than 2 says Iñárritu
And that’s it from the tent at the beach in lovely Santa Monica this Saturday. More from the press tent and then over to Hollywood and Highland for the 87th Academy Awards tmrw. BTW – Boyhood, Whiplash and Nightcrawler were tied for second place for the most wins today – two each
The discussion back in the press tent here while we wait for Keaton and Iñárritu, is whether the vote will be split b/t best picture and director. Statistic wise it’s impossible for a film that hasn’t won major guild awards to win best picture at the Oscars.
Birdman peeps were funny, relaxed and loose in the press tent, just like this Awards ceremony. A reporter asked Alejandro, “Why was Michael Keaton the right actor to play Birdman?” To which Keaton responded “Have you seen Batman??” Asked where he’ll put his Indie Spirit in his house, Keaton said, “Next to the Pulitzer”. Alejandro returns to work on Monday with another film that he’s working on with Chivo Lubezki The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, who in the 1820s set out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling.
A final post:
Michael Keaton had folks in stitches with his quips in the backstage tent, but Alejandro González Iñárritu had the press searching their language translators for the Spanish word “cabrones,” which he used to describe his movie colleagues, about whom he is passionate. “There is not one word in English that can translate,” he said. One urban dictionary translation found is “male goat” (the singular). We suggest your own search.
A video posted by Antonio DAlessandro (@antonio.dalessandro.714) on Feb 21, 2015 at 4:45pm PST