Independent Spirit Awards Breaks Tradition During Pandemic, Will Take Place Thursday Before Oscars

Spirit Awards 2020
Film Independent

Since it’s looking unlikely that we can go to the Santa Monica Beach this year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards will now hold its event on Thursday, April 22 at 10PM ET. Typically, the ceremony honoring the best in independent film takes place the Saturday afternoon before Sunday’s Oscars. The Oscar this year are currently scheduled for Sunday, April 25.

The Spirit Awards will be a prime-time ceremony televised on IFC. Traditionally, the luncheon airs live from a big white tent on the Santa Monica Beach.

Nominees for the 36th Film Independent Spirit Awards will be revealed in a video announcement premiering Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 10am ET / 7am PT on Film Independent’s website and YouTube channel. Presenters will include Laverne Cox (Disclosure, Promising Young Woman) and Spirit Award winners Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk, Moonlight, The Underground Railroad) and Olivia Wilde (Booksmart, Don’t Worry Darling). The Jan. 26 nominations will also include the addition of several new television categories, a new section which was announced back in September.

“The Spirit Awards are a time for us to come together – filmmakers and film lovers alike – and celebrate the movies, shows and performances that have sustained us through these incredibly challenging times,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “While 2020 left a lot to be desired, it was an amazing year for film and TV. Visual storytellers with powerful and unique voices brought us so much joy and light during these difficult months. We’re thrilled to share our nominations with the world, and I encourage everyone to join Film Independent and vote on the winners.”

Said Blake Callaway, Executive Director, IFC and SundanceTV, “IFC is proud to continue its partnership with Film Independent by bringing the Spirit Awards and the films it champions to audiences across the country. The celebration of independent voices is more important today than ever before, and while we’ll miss the beach in Santa Monica, we still plan on making the Spirit Awards the most fun stop on the awards circuit.”

In addition to the linear broadcast on IFC, the Spirit Awards will also stream simultaneously on AMC+. Following the broadcast, the full awards ceremony will be made available on demand across AMC+ and IFC platforms starting Friday, April 23.

Film Independent will continue to honor emerging filmmakers with the Truer Than Fiction Award, Producers Award and the Someone to Watch Award.

Last year’s Best Feature was A24’s The Farewell with Benny and Josh Safdie taking home Best Director for A24’s Uncut Gems. Adam Sandler won Best Male Lead for Uncut Gems and Renee Zellweger Best Female Lead for Roadside Attractions’ Judy.


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