Saturday, March 1, 2014
With writer, actor and comedian Patton Oswalt hosting, highlights included the first ever award delivered via Wild Rabbit's state-of-the-art drone. Mid-show Patton also received multiple motivational messages via Skype from Sarah Silverman, Reggie Watts, Weird Al Yankovic and… his parents. Also showcased during the ceremony, the Indie-izer, Patton's newly developed app that turns any Hollywood big budget film into an indie film.
The Spirit Awards were the first event to exclusively honor independent film, and over the past 29 years, has become the premier awards show for the independent film community, celebrating films made by filmmakers who embody independence and originality. Artists who have received industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Joel & Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Scarlett Johansson, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams and many more.
This year's major category winners were 12 Years a Slave, which won Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Female and Best Cinematography and Dallas Buyers Club, which won Best Supporting Male and Best Male Lead; Fruitvale Station which won Best First Feature and Nebraska, which won Best First Screenplay; Blue Jasmine, which won Best Female Lead, Short Term 12 which won Best Editing; This is Martin Bonner, which won the John Cassavetes Award; Blue is the Warmest Colour, which won Best International Film and 20 Feet from Stardom which won Best Documentary.
The 7th annual Robert Altman Award was given to one film's director, casting director, and ensemble cast. Jeff Nichols' Mud received this award, along with casting director Francine Maisler and ensemble cast members Joe Don Baker, Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Tye Sheridan, Paul Sparks, Bonnie Sturdivant and Reese Witherspoon.
The 2014 Roger and Chaz Ebert Fellowship which includes a cash grant of $10,000 was awarded to Lulu Wang. This annual award is given to a filmmaker currently participating in Film Independent's signature diversity mentorship program, Project Involve. Wang wrote and directed her first feature film Posthumous set in Berlin, starring Jack Huston and Brit Marling.
The Bright Future Award, sponsored by Unilever Project Sunlight, honours a filmmaker whose work best exemplifies a commitment to telling stories of positive change in the world. The inaugural Bright Future Award recipient is Patrick Creadon, whose film, If You Build It, exemplifies the power of hands-on education and the impact a few budding creative minds can have on the future of a community. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Unilever Project Sunlight.
On January 11 the following winners were honoured at the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood:
Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston received the Piaget Producers Award. The award honours emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The annual award, in its 17th year, includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget. Finalists were Jacob Jaffke, Andrea Roa and Frederick Thornton.
Jason Osder, director of Let the Fire Burn, received the Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award. The award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not received significant recognition. The award is in its 19th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Stella Artois. Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez for Manakamana and Kalyanee Mam for A River Changes Course were also finalists for the award.
Shaka King, director of Newlyweeds, received the Kiehl's Someone to Watch Award. The award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is in its 20th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. The finalists for the award included Aaron Douglas Johnston for My Sister's Quinceanera and Madeleine Olnek for The Foxy Merkins.
Now in its 29th year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honouring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers who embody independence and originality. The Spirit Awards recognizes the achievements of American independent filmmakers and promotes the finest independent films of the year to a wider audience. The winners of the Spirit Awards are voted upon by Film Independent and IFP Members. Awards are given in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, Best Screenplay, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and the Robert Altman Award, Best International Film, and Best Documentary. The Filmmaker Grants include the Piaget Producers Award, the Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award, the Bright Future Awards, sponsored by Unilever Project Sunlight and the Kiehl's Someone to Watch Award.
Nominations for the 20th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards
Complete list of the winners for the 20th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards
12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Dede Gardner, Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Brad Pitt, Bill Pohlad
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Best First Feature
Fruitvale Station (The Weinstein Company)
Director: Ryan Coogler, Producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker
Best First Screenplay
Bob Nelson, Nebraska (Paramount Pictures)
John Cassavetes Award (For best feature made under $500,000)
This is Martin Bonner (Monterey Media inc)
Writer/Director: Chad Hartigan, Producer: Cherie Saulter
Best Supporting Female
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Best Supporting Male
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features)
Best Female Lead
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics)
Best Male Lead
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club, (Focus Features)
Robert Altman Award
Mud (Roadside Attractions / Lionsgate)
Director: Jeff Nichols, Casting Director: Francine Maisler, Ensemble Cast: Joe Don Baker, Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Tye Sheridan, Paul Sparks, Bonnie Sturdivant, Reese Witherspoon
Sean Bobbitt, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Best Editing Nat Sanders,
Short Term 12 (Cinedigm)
Best International Film
Blue is the Warmest Colour (France- IFC Films)
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
20 Feet From Stardom (Radius-TWC)
Director/Producer: Morgan Neville, Producers: Gil Friesen, Caitrin Rogers