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.”