Thursday, April 25, 2024

Spirit Awards Go to Brand Names: Beale Street, Roma, Glenn Close, Ethan Hawke, Etc. Unknowns Remain Unknowns


The Spirit Awards, as my friend Steve Gaydos wrote on Twitter, were very dispiriting.

All the brand names won. The unknowns remain unknowns. Movies like “We the Animals” were used by Film Independent as bait and switch filler .

Plus the winners clearly were not surprised. Their names were on Teleprompters. As Amazon film chief Ted Hope wrote, the statues went up on the podium before the names were announced. Hmmmm.

So “If Beale Street Could Talk” was the big winner. They got Best Film, Director (Barry Jenkins),and Best Supporting Actress (Regina King). “Beale Street” had the highest gross of any of the nominees.

Best Actress went to Glenn Close, who brought her dog with her and looked ebullient from the moment she arrived. Ethan Hawke won Best Actor. Richard E. Grant won Best Supporting Actor.

Best Screenplay went to the Oscar nominated “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” Close, Grant, and King are all also Oscar nominated.

“Roma” won Best Foreign Language Film.

“Eighth Grade” and its director, Bo Burnham, won Best First Screenplay.  “Sorry to Bother You” won Best First Feature.

Morgan Neville won for “Will You Be My Neighbor?” even though he was snubbed by the Oscars.

Does it seem like the fix was in? Or that this was the Gotham Awards from last November?

No real indie people won, and there were no surprise winners who came out of nowhere.

But it’s all good, and Joaquin Phoenix, who did show up not knowing all this, for “You Were Never Really Here,” can pretend he wasn’t really there.

We’ll find out on Monday if anyone watched the show on TV. I napped, as I predicted, during the tribute to “Suspiria,” a movie no one saw– but obviously Film Independent thought it would be a hit when they announced the award before the film flopped.

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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