Spirit Awards Fri 4.29.2016

Spirit Awards Production Team Celebrates 30 Years of Irreverent Awards Shows with Emmy Noms

If you’re a big fan of movies, music or TV shows (and who isn’t?) then there’s a good chance you’re also a fan of awards shows. Sure, there are a few stick-in-the-muds out there who scoff at the idea of quantifying and comparing the creative arts. But as we’ve written about before, this blog’s stance on awards shows is unilaterally positive.

But how about an awards show designed to honor another awards show? It may seem a bit like a hall of mirrors reflecting off each other into a recursive spiral of backslapping showbiz fractals—but the impulse to honor these shows is legit.

Awards shows are every bit as much of a production as any critically acclaimed Hollywood blockbuster or prestige cable drama; full of careful creative choices, aesthetic decisions and thoughtful, consistent thematic messaging.

And really—the folks toiling away behind the scenes of your favorite awards show telecast deserve to have their hard work and talent recognized, too. Right?

That’s why we’re incredibly excited today to watch the team behind last year’s milestone 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards step into their finest formalwear and take their rightful spot as thrice-nominated honorees at the 43rd Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards—being held today, April 29 at LA’s Bonaventure Hotel.

The 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards (which aired on February 21, 2015) are nominated in three categories: Outstanding Special Class Special (nominees Joel Gallen, Executive Producer; Rick Austin, Shawn Davis, Producers; and Liberty Bock, Line Producer), Outstanding Writing Special Class (nominees Benji Afalo, Wayne Federman, Marika Sawyer, Frank Sebastiano and Erik Weiner) and Outstanding Director (nominee Joel Gallen).

“This isn’t the Oscars,” said writing nominee Wayne Federman, a noted comedian, podcaster and film buff. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we always remember that the reason the [Spirit Awards] exist is to honor extraordinary achievement in film. So that’s the primary writing challenge. To walk that line.”

When asked what he thought made for a good awards show, Spirit Awards producer Shawn Davis replied: “Thinking outside the box. Our partner, IFC, allows us to be this cool, hip, irreverent show.”

“Plus there aren’t many shows out there that have the beach as their background,” added Davis, of the Sprit Awards’ unique Santa Monica setting.

Asked what is was like collaborating with the 2015 show’s hosts Fred Armisen and Kristen Bell, Federman said, “They were game for anything we pitched: music, a remote on the beach, a remote in a sponsored lounge… or a parody of Birdman.”

It was great to see clips of the past 29 years,” said Davis of the 2015 show’s look back at three decades of Spirit Awards.

“To see what the show started as—a small luncheon in a ballroom for 150 people—to what it is today. And to see some of the same people [today] who have supported our mission since it’s inception is pretty astonishing.”

“The fact that it was the 30th anniversary allowed us to look back a little bit more than usual,” said Federman. “Years ago, the hook for the Spirit Awards was ‘no time limit’ on acceptance speeches. We’ve since reined that in a bit.”

Asked if he had any regrets about the 2015 show, Federman joked, “Ever since a digital version of Tupac appeared at Coachella, I’ve wanted to have a hologram of John Cassavetes present an award at our show. But it’s surprisingly expensive.”

Davis’s regrets were more personal: “To get my picture taken with Oprah,” he said. “I mean who wouldn’t want that, right? Seriously.”

But despite the absence of digitally-projected auteurs and one producer’s failure to procure an Instagram-crushing selfie with the Queen of Daytime TV, the 30th Film Independent Sprit Awards were—by everyone’s measure, including the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences—a unique and award-worthy event.

So good luck to all of our Sprit Awards Emmy nominees! We have you circled on our Emmy ballots. Get out there and break a leg.

For more highlights from the 30th Film Independent Sprit Awards check out our YouTube channel. To see highlights, sketches and acceptance speeches from this year’s 2016 Spirit Awards, just click here.