Saturday, May 18, 2024

“12 Years a Slave” Wins Indie Spirit Awards, Which are Now Junior Oscars


Good news and bad news: Steve McQueen won Best Picture and Director for “12 Years a Slave” at–not the Oscars, but the Independent Spirit Awards. Four actors won as well: Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey, Lupita Nyongo and Jared Leto– for the Spirits, not the Oscars. But there’s a good chance all of these people will win Oscars on Sunday. And that begs the question: what’s the difference?

Not much anymore. There is now so much overlap from the Spirits and the Oscars that it’s undermining each awards show. The Oscars are the big time. They should be for the major movies, and the art films that cross over to the main spotlight.

The Spirit Awards used to be for the real indies, small art house films, films from smaller distributors, and not from the majors. But today we had a film backed by Fox win almost everything. It’s a little crazy. You can say the “Dallas Buyers Club” or “Blue Jasmine” had small budgets, but they were released by corporations with huge resources.

So do watch the Spirit Awards tonight on IFC. They’re like the non dress rehearsal for the Oscars. The Spirit Award winners should have been “Fruitvale Station” and director Ryan Coogler, Oscar Isaac from “Inside Llewyn Davis,” Brie Larson for “Short Term 12,” and supporting actors from other independent movies.

Because they weren’t, the feeling in the tent in Santa Monica was flat. There’s no longer a sense of kids who’ve gotten away with something. It was very much a case of the adults running the show. If there’s an indie film community, there was no sense of it at today’s show. And that’s very sad. Film Independent had better do something to get back to their stated purpose.

Great speeches today from Coogler, who did Best First Feature, and Jared Leto, who has become a surprisingly astute breath of fresh air this season.

The following is a complete list of the winners:

Best Feature: 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Dede Gardner, Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Brad Pitt, Bill Pohlad

Best Director: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Best Screenplay: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Best First Feature: Fruitvale Station (The Weinstein Company)
Director: Ryan Coogler, Producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker

Best First Screenplay: Bob Nelson, Nebraska (Paramount Pictures)

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

This is Martin Bonner (Monterey Media inc)

Writer/Director: Chad Hartigan, Producer: Cherie Saulter

Best Supporting Female: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Best Supporting Male: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features)

Best Female Lead: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics)

Best Male Lead: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club, (Focus Features)

Robert Altman Award: Mud (Roadside Attractions / Lionsgate)
Director: Jeff Nichols, Casting Director: Francine Maisler, Ensemble Cast: Joe Don Baker, Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Tye Sheridan, Paul Sparks, Bonnie Sturdivant, Reese Witherspoon

Best Cinematography: Sean Bobbitt, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Best Editing: Nat Sanders, Short Term 12 (Cinedigm)

Best International Film: Blue is the Warmest Color (France- IFC Films)

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche

Best Documentary: 20 Feet From Stardom (Radius-TWC)

Director/Producer: Morgan Neville, Producers: Gil Friesen, Caitrin Rogers

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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