UPDATE with full winners list: A24’s Moonlight swept all five competitive awards it was up for at the 32nd annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, wrapping the day on the Santa Monica beach with a win for Best Feature. With Oscar frontrunner La La Land not eligible for these awards (its budget was above the Spirit Award cutoff of $20 million), it was Barry Jenkins’ drama who stole the spotlight, with Jenkins winning for Director and Screenplay in addition to wins for Cinematography and Editing.
Jenkins dedicated his Director award to “anyone who was on the call sheet for those 25 hot-ass days in Miami,” he said. The pic was also awarded the Spirits’ honorary Robert Altman Award, given to Jenkins, the cast and producers.
The top actor categories also looked to be momentum-builders for Elle star Isabelle Huppert and Casey Affleck of Manchester By The Sea. In an awards season marked by political statements both onstage and backstage during these events, Affleck was one of the only ones to speak directly on the issue. Onstage after his Lead Actor win, he said: “The policies of this administration are abhorrent and they will not last. You don’t have to clap out of obligation — They’re really un-American.”
The ceremony hosted by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney was slick throughout, with the pair’s two-hander opening providing another Trump dig, opining that Robert Durst is somehow more likable than Trump in the popularity battle between the two New York real estate moguls.
Among the day’s winners, Robert Eggers’ The Witch was the only other multiple victor, for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay for his breakout horror pic. Also picking up trophies ahead of Oscar night were Ezra Edelman’s documentary O.J.: Made In America, and the Germany-Romania co-production Toni Erdmann won Best International Film. Supporting awards went to an ebullient Molly Shannon for the cancer drama Other People, giving the night’s most memorable speech (ending with an SNL-inspired Mary Catherine Gallagher Superstar pose), and Ben Foster for Oscar Best Picture nominee Hell Or High Water giving that pic its only award today.
Despite La La Land‘s absence, the sometimes Oscar-indicative and always fun shindig under the tent on the beach included among attendees Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and daughter Sarah, Warren Beatty supporting spouse and nominee Annette Bening (who got some good-natured ribbing from Kroll and Mulaney in the opening remarks), jet-lagged director Ava DuVernay and Sony Pictures Classics’ Tom Bernard, the latter of who along with Michael Barker got a shout-out from Huppert from the stage during her acceptance speech.
Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro and Matt Grobar contributed to this report.
Here is the full winners list:
Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski
BEST MALE LEAD
Manchester by the Sea
BEST FEMALE LEAD
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
(Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)
Director: Barry Jenkins
Casting Director: Yesi Ramirez
Ensemble Cast: Mahershala Ali, Patrick Decile, Naomie Harris, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
Toni Erdmann (Germany and Romania)
Director: Maren Ade
Story By Tarell Alvin McCraney
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)
Writer/Director: Andrew Ahn
Producers: David Ariniello, Giulia Caruso, Ki Jin Kim, Kelly Thomas
O.J.: Made In America
Director/Producer: Ezra Edelman
Producers: Nina Krstic, Tamara Rosenberg, Caroline Waterlow
BEST FIRST FEATURE
Director: Robert Eggers
Producers: Daniel Bekerman, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Jodi Redmond, Rodrigo Teixeira
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Hell or High Water
Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders
PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
(Honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.)
TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
(Presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.)
Director of Hooligan Sparrow
KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
(Recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.)
Anna Rose Holmer
Director of The Fits