SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The humor was dry but the ground was very wet at the Spirit Awards on Saturday, where stars of independent film were celebrated inside a chilly tent on the beach.
The show, as is tradition, is held a day before the much more formal Academy Awards on Sunday. And, as has also become something of a tradition, it tends to honor many films that are also awarded with Oscars. (Last year, Moonlight won at the Spirit Awards before it took home the best feature Oscar. So did Spotlight before that. And Birdman before that. And even 12 Years a Slave before that.)
Comedians John Mulaney and Nick Kroll returned to Santa Monica to host this year’s ceremony, which took place just hours after an L.A. rain storm.
Miss the show, which streamed on IFC and Facebook Watch? Well, here are eight things that went down.
1. ‘Get Out’ made out with major wins
Jordan Peele, and his horror film, earned the biggest applause of the day at the Spirit Awards. He won for best feature and best director, earning him two trophies and two sizable standing ovations.
“Our truths are the most powerful weapons we have against the lies in this world,” Peele said in his acceptance speech. “We believed that because this is a movie that no one had seen before, we knew it had to exist.”
2. Timothée Chalamet was a winner, and a ‘gas station’ attendant
Chalamet, the Call Me By Your Name star who’s up for best actor at the Academy Awards, won in that category at the Spirit Awards. But before he accepted his trophy, he was roasted by Kroll.
“Timothée, thanks for taking a break from the gas station to come over here,” Kroll said in his opening monologue, making fun of Chalamet’s Off-White brand utility shirt. But Chalamet took the comment in stride and later made a reference to his outfit from the podium.
“Gasoline, or petrol, is a transparent, petroleum-derived liquid that’s used primarily as a fuel,” Chalamet joked, reciting a dictionary definition of gasoline at the start of his acceptance speech. “I’m just kidding. They were making fun of me earlier.” He then went into a more sincere speech, where he said he believes in the future of film.
3. Greta Gerwig got some love
The Oscar nominee appeared surprised to be recognized for her Lady Bird screenplay. The longtime darling of independent film gave a sincere acceptance speech dedicated to her cast and family.
“Thank you for watching all of the plays I put on in the living room. Thank you to my brother and sister for being in my plays,” she said. “I’m truly so grateful and shocked. Thank you so much.”
4. Frances McDormand dropped a few F-bombs
When McDormand won the best actress trophies at the SAG Awards and Golden Globes this year, she (and broadcast networks) tried to stop herself from swearing. At the Spirit Awards, however, the Oscar nominee was free to say the F-word. And she acknowledged this privilege in her acceptance speech for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
“What I know about today, I get to swear,” she said from the stage. “Do you know how hard it’s been not to swear over the last couple of months? Because this awards convention goes on for (expletive) ever. (My director) Martin McDonagh knows a well-placed (expletive) makes a sentence sing like nothing else.” The crowd applauded.
McDormand’s co-star, Sam Rockwell, also won a Spirit Award for supporting actor on Saturday.
5. Andy Samberg sang a ‘Breakfast Club’-themed In Memoriam segment
Last year, Samberg sang a “Non-Memoriam” song at the Spirit Awards. This show, Samberg was back with a new twist on the segment about remembering stars: He performed a song, as Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club, dedicated to stars he was afraid to lose … to blockbuster films.
He sang, to the tune of Don’t You Forget About Me: “Timothée Chalamet, if you stay indie we’ll pronounce it the pretentious way. Jordan (Peele) and Kumail (Nanjiani), don’t go and fall for the seductive dancing of the studios. I know you got what it takes. I just don’t want to succeed, because I am jealous. Don’t you, forget about us.”
He ended the performance with a freeze frame.
6. There were some technical difficulties
When Kumail Nanjiani and Lil Rel Howery were onstage to present, the audio unexpectedly cut out. When they tried to start from the top, the teleprompter was in the wrong place.
“Should we just say who’s nominated?” asked Howery. “No, no, no. We are gonna fix this. How are we on time? Go forward. Go forward. Forward, means ahead,” laughed Nanjiani. Finally, the duo did announce the winner for first feature: Ingrid Goes West.
Fortunately, both stars were able to return to the microphone with more success. Howery was onstage for the Get Out win, and Nanjiani went back to accept the first screenplay award with his wife and co-writer, Emily V. Gordon, for The Big Sick. Nanjiana and Gordon are also up for an Oscar in the screenplay category.
7. The floor was sopping wet
Fortunately, the beach was dry for most of the blue carpet arrivals on Saturday, but an earlier rainfall made the floor of the Spirit Awards tent very wet. It was so bad that an announcer warned winners to take their time walking up to the podium, and several winners complained about getting their outfits wet.
Allison Janney, for example, mentioned that the train of her dress was soaked when she accepted her best supporting actress Spirit Award. (She’s also up for an Oscar for supporting actress in I, Tonya). Gordon apologized for the bottom of her dress appearing a different color when she and Nanjiani won. Rockwell also commented about how dangerous the path to the stage was.
Fortunately, no major injuries were sustained.
8. Mulaney and Kroll named names in their opening monologue
The show’s comedic duo shared stories about their own experiences with Hollywood producers accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, Harvey Weinstein and Brett Ratner.
Mulaney remembered Weinstein lamenting in 2015 that his TV career would become more of his legacy than his films would, and Project Runway would be written on his gravestone. Mulaney begged to differ: “It’s going to say XXL Unmarked Grave.”
Kroll had an anecdote about Ratner, saying he was “constantly scratching his (testicles)” when Kroll worked on a pilot with him. “One day he was really going to town … (and) we watched him walk away and walk over to the crafts services table, where he then he touched six different doughnuts. Then he grabbed one and walked away. So I’m thinking, if that’s how the guy treats donuts. …”
Of course, there were plenty of material about the nominated films, too, many of them NSFW. One joke we can print? Here:
“I hear they’re making a sequel to I, Tonya,” said Kroll. “It’s called I, Nancy. it’s about a nice lady who gets her knee bashed in by some trailer-park assassin, and then 25 years later has to see an award-winning movie about how she’s not the victim.”
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