Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday have all come and gone, meaning that private larders the world over are presently overstuffed with goods and gifts bound for ongoing holiday distribution. So we’ve decided to clear out some back-of-closet real estate by dropping some film-related goodies a bit early—next week, on Tuesday, December 14 at 10:00 am ET/7:00 am PT, when we’ll be announcing the nominees of the 37th Film Independent Spirit Awards!
Once again, nominees will be revealed in a special video announcement set to premiere on Fi’s website and YouTube channel. With a resurgent film year cautiously realigning after a bleak, theater-less pandemic season, the upcoming awards calendar is bound to be one of joy, celebration and possible drunkenness.
Special guest presenters for Tuesday’s online announcement include Spirit Award friendlies Beanie Feldstein, Regina Hall and Naomi Watts—pretty damn cool, huh? Bookmark the 2022 Spirit Award playlist now to avoid missing it.
The 37th Film Independent Spirit Awards will be returning to the beaches of Santa Monica, Sunday, March 6, 2022, to be broadcast live exclusively on IFC.
So! For our official kickoff to #SpiritAwards season, we decided to take a quick look at some of the craziest moments of the last few years and wonder: what could possibly happen next? I guess we’ll find out soon enough…
Watch it for: Cutie-pie superhost Melissa Villaseñor wasn’t going to let a little thing like a once-in-a-century global pandemic get in the way of celebrating the best indie films of 2020. On the contrary, the SNL funnywoman brought the funny via a series of uncanny celebrity impersonations (Owen Wilson, Billie Eilish, Kristen Wiig) and songs about her undying thirst for Minari star Steven Yuen. Meanwhile, Nomadland, Sound of Metal and Promising Young Woman were the year’s big winners.
Watch it for: Like all successful sequels, Aubrey Plaza’s return outing as host in 2020 was a turbocharged version of the original, featuring even more awkward celebrity interactions and a pair of epic musical numbers—one channeling Judy Garland, the other making it part of the official record (if there was ever any doubt) Laura Dern’s enduring gay icon status. Looking to feel tense? The Safdie Bros.’ delirious acceptance speech for Best Director has ya covered, while Adam Sandler needed more than just one mic to drop at the end of his staggering Best Male Lead speech for Uncut Gems. Lulu Wang and The Farewell took home top prize, with Parasite winning hardware as well.
Watch it for: Like Isiah Thomas leading the “Bad Boy” Pistons to consecutive NBA championships in 1989 and 1990, Barry Jenkins once again cruised straight to the Spirit Awards lectern to claim the Best Feature prize, this time for his James Baldwin adaptation If Beale Street Could Talk. Glenn Close brought her dog with her to accept her prize for The Wife, while the great Richard E. Grant acquired and extra statue to pack up for the flight back to London for Can You Ever Forgive Me? And, in a banner year for lengthy titles, Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? won him (and Fred Rogers!) Best Documentary.
Watch it for: The year before, Nick Kroll and John Mulaney had proven themselves the most potent onstage comedy duo since Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew. In their return trip to the tent, Hollywood pretentions were skewered still further. There was a relatively even distribution of awards for indie darlings including Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Big Sick and more. But the biggest winner was undoubtedly Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which claimed Best Director and Best Feature. Also: the legendary Agnès Varda, accepting Best Documentary for Faces Places, in one of her last public appearances before her 2019 death.
Watch it for: In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations and Hollywood’s subsequent #MeToo movement, buttholes were puckered tighter than a Whiplash snare set wondering just what debutante hosts Nick Kroll and John Mulaney might say about the whole affair. Luckily, the Oh, Hello! duo struck just the right balance between the Spirit Awards’ classic countercultural irreverence with righteous anger aimed at some of the industry’s most toxic figures. Meanwhile, no envelope snafu was required to crown Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight king of the evening, with Isabelle Huppert, Ben Foster, Molly Shannon and Robert Eggers all winning bludgeoning Spirit Awards paperweights as well.
Watch it for: Before he was swole and she busted ghosts, Kumail Nanjiani and SNL’s Kate McKinnon teamed up for an extremely comedy-forward Spirit Awards ceremony, featuring film parodies (Room, Carol) and loose deli meats (erm, hard to explain.) In terms of awards, journo gem Spotlight claimed Best Feature, with additional wins for Beasts of No Nation’s Abraham Attah and Idris Elba, as well as Mya Taylor’s historic win for Best Supporting Female for Tangerine.
As always, winners are selected by Members of Film Independent. Members must be current by December to receive full voting benefits, including screener access.
The Film Independent Spirit Awards are supported by Premier Sponsor IFC and FIJI Water, the Official Water. To join Film Independent and vote on the Spirit Awards, please visit filmindependent.org/join
The Spirit Awards are the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity and inclusion in the film industry.
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