Friday, July 12, 2024

Independent Spirit Awards Face Apathy as Nominated Films Had Total $20 Mil Box Office, Last Year’s Telecast Drew Only 95,000 People


We’ve got the SAG Awards tonight, we’re in the home stretch of awards season for movies. All that’s left are the Directors Guild, the Writers Guild, and the Oscars.

Oh, and the Independent Spirit Awards.

Given the afternoon before the Academy Awards, the Spirit Awards in recent years turned into a mini-Oscars. Many of the nominees overlapped since a great number of quality movies came from the indie world.

But this year will be different. The nominees for the Spirit Awards are so twee and special, the total box office for the five titles in Best Picture was just about $20 million. Not only that, the Robert Altman Ensemble Award is going to a movie just about no one saw, the remake of “Suspiria” from Luca Guadagnino. Total US box office for that one: $2.5 million. How was it chosen, anyway? The Rotten Tomatoes score is 64%. “Suspiria” 2018 should not be getting an award.

Indeed, “If Beale Street Could Talk” should have gotten the Altman award. Well reviewed, with a terrific cast, Barry Jenkins‘ movie is exactly what Altman would have liked. The Indie Spirit people didn’t get this one at all.

Last year, the Spirit Awards managed to find only 95,000 people for the IFC Channel telecast. And that show was pretty star studded, with “Get Out”– an enormous box office hit– winning, “Lady Bird” in the mix, and people like Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Timothee Chalamet, and Allison Janney — winners– on the show. Also, the hilarious Nick Kroll and John Mullaney hosted.

This year, the nominees– with the exception of Glenn Close— are fairly unknown. The host is Aubrey Plaza. (I already made a joke that Richard Johnson picked up– I thought Aubrey Plaza was a shopping center.) This could be the last time the Spirits are on TV. They should take a page from their cousin show, the Gotham Awards, held in New York in late November and not televised. That’s a great evening.

PS I don’t know who votes in this thing, but if you do, Josh Hamilton should get Best Supporting Actor for “Eighth Grade.” Just sayin’….

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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