Saturday, April 13, 2024

Indie Spirit Awards Sells Out, Adds TV Awards, Waves White Flag to Get Some Ratings, Sends a Money Message to Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Hulu Etc.


The Independent Spirit Awards are throwing in the towel on independent films.

Starting this year, the Spirit Awards– part of Los Angeles’s Film Independent — are adding TV categories to their awards show. This is beyond hilarious. It’s sad.

The Spirit Awards were traditionally for the independent film world, something that peaked around the year 2000 but kept going in spite of itself. The Awards show is aired on IFC and gets about 100,000 viewers. It’s clique-y and inside. Most of the films have never been seen by anyone.

In recent years the Spirit Awards overlapped with the Oscars, touting more and more expensive and better known films. The whole division between “church” and “state” disappeared.

But now in a Hail Mary pass, they’re going to add TV awards. Not “independent” TV awards, because there’s no such thing. This is clarion call to Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Hulu et al to come spend some money on the Spirit Awards. This is a new ball game.

The new categories are:

Best New Scripted Series
Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series
Best Male Performance in a Scripted Series
Best Female Performance in a Scripted Series
Best Ensemble Cast in a Scripted Series

And now you’re going to have the cablers and premium channels, subscription platforms racing in with big bucks, promotional opportunities and so on to get all the shows already overly awards more accolades. It’s quite literally like installing the Emmys into the Spirit Awards. By next season they will have added supporting actor categories and guest appearances.

But why not? The Indie world is vanishing. Or has vanished. A current movie like Miranda July’s “Kajillionaire” would have been the top indie darling in 2000. In 2020, it’s flailing at a very limited box office. The audience has been dumbed down tremendously. Ironic, off beat comedy is hard to enjoy when there’s a pandemic on our heads, a government killing its people, and large scale unemployment. Film Independent is smart to just wave the white flag and get the Maisels and the royals and the Roys literally into the tent.

And so it goes. The Spirit Awards will be shown on IFC April 24th. Don’t expect Aubrey Plaza back as host, though. My guess is they go with a TV star or stars. They’ll kick it up to Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss, something like that.  Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner. Wait. Remember.


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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