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Spirit Awards return to Santa Monica

Annual awards to be held on Feb. 26

The Spirit Awards are moving back to Santa Monica Beach after a one-time shift to downtown Los Angeles.

Film Independent made the announcement Tuesday, two months after announcing the 26th annual Spirit Awards would be held on Feb. 26 — its usual slot on the day before the Oscars.

Film Independent said red carpet arrivals will begin at 11:30 a.m., with the ceremony scheduled to start at 2 p.m. IFC will air the ceremonies at 10 p.m.

Nominations will be announced Nov. 30, and all past Spirit Award winners and nominees will be eligible to vote for the winners.

Film Independent’s tapped Dick Clark Prods., Barry Adelman and executive producer Audrey Morrissey of Live Animals for the upcoming show.

This year’s gala featured a pair of notable shifts — a new location at the L.A. Live complex downtown rather than the usual beachside site and an evening start instead of its previous Saturday midday launch — as part of an effort by Film Independent to herald its 25th anniversary.

Only films made for $20 million or less are eligible for the Spirit Awards. “Precious” monopolized this year’s awards, copping five trophies including best feature, director for Lee Daniels, actress for Gabourey Sidibe, supporting actress for Mo’Nique and first screenplay for Geoffrey Fletcher.

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