2020 Film Independent Spirit Award winners announced

(Photo Credit: Nick Devars)

That is a wrap for the “coolest” awards show in Hollywood. Actually, on the beach in Santa Monica. Top honors were handed out today at the 35th Film Independent Spirit Awards ceremony to The Farewell, Uncut GemsThe LighthouseMarriage StoryJudy, Booksmart and See You Yesterday. Give Me LibertyAmerican Factory and Parasite also received awards.

In addition to being the celebration that honors artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers whose films embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision, the Spirit Awards is the primary fundraiser for Film Independent’s year-round programs. 

The afternoon began with returning host Aubrey Plaza delivering an opening monologue that poked fun at not only the attendees but other global issues.

She began the show with a skit that showed her in the dressing room, having a meltdown. Judy Garland (also played by Plaza) suddenly appeared, giving her advice.

“Scorsese is doing films for Netflix, Sandler is doing dramas!” Plaza’s Garland said, poking fun at the state of independent film.

After briefly making out with Garland, Plaza danced onto stage to singing a rendition of Garland’s Get Happy, calling out she called out attendees like Jennifer Lopez, Adam Sandler, Idina Menzel and Renée Zellweger.

“I’m hosting the second most important show of the weekend, ” she began. “The Independent Spirit Awards are so much cooler than the Oscars: it’s the daytime when we’re at the beach, we recognize female directors — all two of them! I am so proud of how diverse this show is. JLo and I are super hot Puerto Ricans! I mention that because Puerto Rico is kind of like an independent film: beautiful, not enough people have seen it and its financing is always falling through.”

“I’m hosting the second most important show of the weekend, ” she began. “The Independent Spirit Awards are so much cooler than the Oscars: it’s the daytime when we’re at the beach, we recognize female directors — all two of them! I am so proud of how diverse this show is. JLo and I are super hot Puerto Ricans! I mention that because Puerto Rico is kind of like an independent film: beautiful, not enough people have seen it and its financing is always falling through.”

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This year’s major winners were Uncut Gems, which won Best Director, Best Male Lead and Best Editing; The Farewell, which won Best Feature and Best Supporting Female; The Lighthouse, which won Best Supporting Male and Best Cinematography; Marriage Story which won the Robert Altman Award and Best Screenplay; Judy which won Best Female Lead; Booksmart which won Best First Feature; See You Yesterday which won Best First Screenplay; Give Me Liberty which won the John Cassavetes Award; American Factory which won Best Documentary; and Parasite which won Best International Film.

The 13th annual Robert Altman Award was given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. Marriage Story director Noah Baumbach received this award, along with casting directors Douglas Aibel and Francine Maisler as well as cast members Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Julie Hagerty, Scarlett Johansson, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson and Merritt Wever.

Here is the complete list of the winners:

Best Feature: 

The Farewell (A24)

Producers: Anita Gou, Daniele Melia, Andrew Miano, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Lulu Wang, Chris Weitz, Jane Zheng

Best Director: 

Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems (A24)

Best Screenplay: 

Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story (Netflix)

Best First Feature: 

Booksmart (Annapurna Pictures/United Artists Releasing)

Director: Olivia Wilde

Producers: Chelsea BarnardDavid Distenfeld, Jessica Elbaum, Megan Ellison,

Katie Silberman

Best First Screenplay:

Fredrica Bailey & Stefon Bristol, See You Yesterday (Netflix)

John Cassavetes Award (For best feature made under $500,000): 

Give Me Liberty (Music Box Films)

Writer/Director/Producer: Kirill Mikhanovsky

Writer/Producer: Alice Austen

Producers: Val Abel, Wally Hall, Michael Manasseri, George Rush, Sergey Shtern

Best Supporting Female: 

Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell (A24)

Best Supporting Male: 

Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse (A24)

Best Female Lead: 

Renée Zellweger, Judy (Roadside Attractions)

Best Male Lead:

Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (A24)

Robert Altman Award: 

Marriage Story (Netflix)

Director: Noah Baumbach

Casting Directors: Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler

Ensemble Cast: Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Julie Hagerty, Scarlett Johansson, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson, Merritt Wever

Best Cinematography: 

Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse (A24)

Best Editing:

Ronald Bronstein & Benny Safdie, Uncut Gems (A24)

Best International Film: 

Parasite (South Korea—Neon)

Director: Bong Joon-Ho

Best Documentary: 

American Factory (Netflix)

Director/Producer: Steven Bognar & Julia Reichert

Producers: Julie Parker Benello, Jeff Reichert

Kelly Reichardt received the third Bonnie Award. Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo joined American Airlines in 1973 at age 24, becoming the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. In her honor, the Bonnie Award recognizes a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant sponsored by American Airlines. Finalists for the award were Marielle Heller and Lulu Wang

Mollye Asher received the Producers Award. The award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The annual award, in its 23rd year, includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Finalists for the award were Krista Parris and Ryan Zacarias.

Rashaad Ernesto Green, director of Premature, received the Someone to Watch Award. The award recognizes talented filmmakers of singular vision who have not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is in its 26th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant presented by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, a brand committed to celebrating those pushing the boundaries of their craft. Finalists for the award were Ash Mayfair, director of The Third Wife and Joe Talbot, director of The Last Black Man in San Francisco.

Nadia Shihab, director of Jaddoland, received the Truer Than Fiction Award. The award is presented to an emerging director of nonfiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award is in its 25th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. Finalists for the award were Khalik Allah, director of Black MotherDavy Rothbart, director of 17 Blocks and Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside, directors of América.

As for distributors, A24 took home the most awards with seven. Here are the others:

BY DISTRIBUTOR

7 A24

4 Netflix

1 Neon

1 Roadside Attractions

1 Annapurna Pictures/United Artists Releasing

1 Music Box Films

SOURCE: Film Independent

Contact Colin Costello at colin@reel360.com or follow him on Twitter at @colinthewriter1

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