The 36th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards are set for Thursday live at 10 p.m. ET/PT exclusively on IFC and AMC+, with Saturday Night Live‘s Melissa Villaseñor as host of the two-hour ceremony, which will be virtual this year because of the pandemic.
In another twist from the norm, the Spirits this year moved off its traditional Saturday-before-the-Oscars date, a longtime staple. The event is traditionally held on the beach in Santa Monica.
Still, organizers are pulling out some virtual tricks in an effort to get close to what is always a laid-back, fun affair at the beach celebrating the best in indie film. Film Independent has teamed with virtual venue Looped to create and produce an interactive online equivalent of the Spirit Awards’ beach tent for “attendees,” who can venture to a curated cocktail hour (beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and featuring a DJ set by RuPaul’s Drag Race alums including Nina West), interact with guests at their “table” during the show, and rock out at karaoke-themed after-party. There is also a virtual backstage element hosted by Carla Renata and Angelique Jackson.
Film Independent is also hosting a Viewing Party for audiences worldwide to gather from home to watch and chat online via Looped; registration has closed for that. Virtual tickets went from $2000 (for individuals) to $5000 (for VIPs) and $20000 for tables of 10. The annual event raises funds for the nonprofit 501(c) arts organization.
As for the main show, it will be executive produced and directed by Joel Gallen of Tenth Planet Production for a seventh consecutive year. Executive producer Shawn Davis, producer Rick Austin and co-producers Danielle Federico and Andrew Schaff also return. The Spirits will air tape-delayed on the West Coast.
This year’s nominations include Best Feature slots for A24’s First Cow, Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, A24’s Minari, Focus Features’ Never Rarely Sometimes Always and Searchlight’s Nomadland. Overall, Never Rarely Sometimes Always leads the way with seven nominations, followed by Minari (six), Ma Rainey and Nomadland (five each) and Vertical Entertainment’s Miss Juneteenth (four).
The awards will also include bestowing TV honors for the first time.
Check out the full list of this year’s noms here.