No Oscar weekend is complete without a trip to cover the Academy Awards’ unofficial, low-budget little brother, the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
There were a few surprises tonight, but ultimately Barry Jenkins‘ “Moonlight” reigned supreme with wins for Best Editing, Best Cinematography, the Robert Altman Award, Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Feature. It deserves every single one of these awards and then some. You should make an appointment to watch this film next week with XFINITY On Demand.
Among the surprises and delights of the night was former “SNL” star Molly Shannon‘s Best Supporting Female win for the drama “Other People.” After a beautifully frantic and emotional speech, Shannon capped off her celebration striking the “superstar” pose that she made famous as Mary Katherine Gallagher on “SNL.” She later said in the press room that the moment was something completely spontaneous. I had the opportunity to chat with Molly briefly after the ceremony and she was so sweet and gracious and humbled by the honor. You should make an appointment to watch “Other People” (available on Netflix via X1) after “Moonlight.”
Another shocker: Isabelle Huppert did it again. The 63-year-old French actress won Best Female Lead for her performance in the provocative Paul Verhoeven indie that has thus far earned her a Golden Globe victory and an Oscar nomination. This couldn’t be a sign of an Oscars upset brewing, could it?
Other big winners for the night included Ben Foster (Best Supporting Male for “Hell or High Water”), Casey Affleck (Best Male Lead for “Manchester by the Sea”) and the horror movie “The Witch,” which captured Best First Screenplay and Best First Feature.
Check out some of my favorite photos I snapped on the Spirit Awards red carpet today in the collage below, or check out @XFINITY on Twitter for the full set:
We’re less than 24 hours (way less than 24 hours) away from the 89th Academy Awards. As our predictions for the night’s big winners continue, let’s take a look at the nominees in the Best Director category. And the nominees are:
- Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”)
- Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”)
- Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”)
- Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”)
- Mel Gibson (“Hacksaw Ridge”)
Maybe tonight’s Spirit Awards festivities have swayed me, but I think it’s definitely a two-man race. And that race is between Damien Chazelle and Barry Jenkins. Listen, these are two very different films. How do you choose between the direction of an old Hollywood-style musical with splashy colors, dance numbers and musical performances, and something much more subtle, slow-burning and emotionally nuanced? I’m going to split the difference.
Who Will Win: Damien Chazelle. “La La Land” is glorious, and it’s hard to ignore what Chazelle’s accomplished from the writing of original music to his stylizing of Hollywood to his choices behind the camera.
Who Should Win: Damien Chazelle
Who Could Win: Barry Jenkins. And if he does, it would be well deserved.