×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Independence days

Key years in Spirit Awards history

1985: IFP/West’s first organized kudo luncheon (shared by Filmex) is held at Los Angeles eatery 385 North. ‘Findie’ awards are handed out to supporters of indie filmmaking; among them are Cineplex Theaters, distrib Island Alive and Glen Glenn Sound. Peter Coyote and Jamie Lee Curtis serve as guest hosts.

1986: The Findie becomes an honorary award, and the kudos are redubbed the Independent Spirit Awards, focusing on eight feature-film categories. Eastman Kodak is the first corporate sponsor, joining previous benefactor, the Arkansas Film Commission. The Spirits garner some attention for honoring “The Trip to Bountiful” thesp Geraldine Page and scribe Horton Foote, as well as “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” which are among the Oscar winners two days later.

1987: Buck Henry (pictured with Winona Ryder) begins a seven-year stint hosting the Spirits ceremony. Oliver Stone’s “Platoon” wins four kudos, including picture — to date, the only time that category’s winner corresponds with the Academy Awards’ choice. 1988: Three categories are added: two for supporting thesps and one for foreign feature. Swedish helmer Lasse Hallstrom, winner in the latter category for “My Life as a Dog,” gives out his cell phone number in a plea for work during his speech.

1989: Warners-distribbed indie “Stand and Deliver,” about an L.A. calculus teacher, wins six awards (out of seven noms) — a record that has been matched just once, by 1996 Coen brothers pic “Fargo.” Venue moves to the Blossom Room at L.A.’s Roosevelt Hotel, which also played host to the first Academy Awards ceremony 60 years earlier.

1990: Gus Van Sant’s “Drugstore Cowboy,” produced by Avenue Pictures, earns a record nine noms and wins four trophies, but misses out on the best picture kudo (it goes to Steven Soderbergh’s “sex, lies, and videotape”).

1991: The ceremony moves to the Beverly Hills Hotel. Kevin Costner is the keynote speaker. Oliver Stone serves as the first honorary chairman; subsequent years include Jodie Foster, Danny Glover, Tom Cruise, Holly Hunter and Halle Berry.

1992: Honorary chair Jodie Foster delivers a speech about the less-than-honorable business practices among the studios. The title? “The Scum-Sucking Vampire Pig Theory of Hollywood.” Portions of the ceremony, held at Raleigh Studios, are aired tape-delayed on cable web Bravo.

1993: The first Spirits ceremony held under a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. After returning inland to the Hollywood Palladium in 1994, the kudos are back on the beach the following year and remain there.

1995: Two years after Disney absorbs indie vanguard Miramax Films, IFP changes eligibility requirements to allow studio-financed films that still meet other criteria of “independence” to be submitted for Spirit consideration. “Pulp Fiction” wins four awards, including best feature.

1997: The Independent Film Channel, a Bravo spinoff, begins its annual telecast of the Spirits ceremony.

1999: In a bit performed during the ceremony, Ileana Douglas and Alec Baldwin list a few “new” Spirit kudos, including The Shelf, awarded to Miramax for possessing the most films picked up for distribution and then put on ice.

2001: “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” budgeted at $14 million, wins the top Spirit (previously there was a $6 million limit on production budgets). IFP debuts of a category for features made for under $500,000 (“Chuck & Buck” is the inaugural winner). John Waters begins a four-year run as Spirit Awards host.

2003: An annual tradition of celeb-led spoofy sing-alongs for each best feature nominee is launched; among the songs is “Cheat on Your Man” (to the tune of “Stand by Your Man”), belted out by Lesley Ann Warren, to introduce “The Good Girl.” Actor winner Derek Luke (“Antwone Fisher”) discloses that four years earlier he worked the Spirit Awards as a waiter.

2004: Bill Murray wins his second Independent Spirit award for “Lost in Translation”; he claims not to have prepared a speech because to do so wouldn’t have been very “independent” of him. Murray wasn’t present for his first win in 1999; at the time helmer Wes Anderson noted Murray was “busy courting the Academy.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Joe Anthony Russo

    Russo Brothers to Receive Publicists Motion Picture Showman Award

    Hollywood union publicists have selected the Russo Brothers to receive the Motion Picture Showman of the Year Award. Anthony and Joe Russo, who directed “Avengers: Endgame,” will receive the award at the 57th Annual Publicists Awards ceremony on Feb. 7 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The publicists are part of the Intl. Cinematographers Guild, IATSE [...]

  • Sylvester Stallone on Rambo's Return: A

    Sylvester Stallone on Rambo's Return: 'The Warrior Can Never Find Peace'

    Sylvester Stallone may be 73, but he’s not one to sit back in his twilight years. As his legendary body slows, his output certainly hasn’t. This Friday, “Rambo: Last Blood” hits theaters around the world – 37 years after the debut of “Rambo: First Blood.” Why bring the muscled Vietnam veteran back for a final, [...]

  • VINCENZO-NATALI

    Vincenzo Natali to Open Sitges Pitchbox (EXCLUSIVE)

    Like Ron Perlman in 2018 and Guillermo del Toro the year before, Canadian writer-director Vincenzo Natali, whose new Netflix film, an adaption of Steven King’s “In the Tall Grass” will innaugurate October’s Sitges Film Festival, is lined up to open this year’s Sitges Pitchbox, organized in by Barcelona-based platform Filmarket Hub. The Sitges Pitchbox take [...]

  • "Tezuka's Barbara" in competition at Tokyo

    ‘Tezuka’s Barbara’ and ‘A Beloved Wife’ Head for Tokyo Festival Competition

    Two Japanese films, “Tezuka’s Barbara” and “A Beloved Wife” have been selected for the main competition section of next month’s Tokyo International Film Festival. The festival will reveal the remainder of the competition and the bulk of its other selections later this month. To date the Japanese festival has only revealed its opening film (“Tora-san, [...]

  • Garin Nugroho film "Memories of my

    Indonesia Selects Controversial 'Memories of My Body' as Oscar Contender

    “Memories of My Body,” directed by Garin Nugroho, has been selected to represent Indonesia at the Academy Awards in the international feature film category (previously best foreign-language film). The announcement was made Tuesday by actress Christine Hakim representing the Indonesian Film Selection Committee. The fact-based film depicts the story of a young man from a [...]

  • Benjamin Wallfisch - scoring session, Abbey

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch Signs With Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch has signed with the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency (GSA) for worldwide representation, in partnership with London-based agency COOL Music Ltd. A top composer, whose scoring credits include “It Chapter Two,” Shazam!” Hellboy,” “Hidden Figures” and “Hostile Planet,” among others, Wallfisch has worked on over 75 feature films and is a member of the BAFTA [...]

  • The Moneychanger

    Toronto Film Review: ‘The Moneychanger’

    Uruguayan auteur Federico Veiroj (“The Apostate,” “Belmonte”) broadens his usual intimate dramatic scope to diminishing returns for his fifth feature, “The Moneychanger,” . Adapted from a novella by compatriot Juan Enrique Gruber, the period (mid-1950s to mid-1970s) tale centers on the eponymous character, an amoral currency exchanger, who winds up laundering some of the dirtiest [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content