Spirit Awards return to Santa Monica

Downtown location didn't win Hollywood fans

After a one-time shift to downtown Los Angeles, the Spirit Awards are moving back to their usual location on Santa Monica beach on Feb. 26.

Film Independent’s announcement Tuesday pulls the plug on its experiment with a new location at the L.A. Live complex. The org had said two months ago that it was ditching the Friday evening start, returning to the traditional Saturday midday berth on the day before the Oscars.

Film Independent topper Dawn Hudson said the org was “delighted” to return to the beach for the 26th Spirit Awards to celebrate during the afternoon with the nominees and the filmmaking community.

Move wasn’t a huge surprise after Spirit attendees groused about dealing with downtown rush-hour traffic, the $25 parking tab and missing out on competing pre-Oscar events.

This year’s gala took place in the evening at the recently opened L.A. Live complex in conjunction with the event’s 25th anniversary. “We wanted to call attention to the show and celebrate in a way that’s big,” Hudson told Daily Variety at the time.

For the upcoming event, red carpet arrivals will begin at 11:30 a.m., with the ceremony to start at 2 p.m. IFC will air it at 10 p.m.

Nominations will be announced Nov. 30. All past Spirit Award winners and nominees will be eligible to vote for the winners. Dick Clark Prods., Barry Adelman and exec producer Audrey Morrissey of Live Animals have been tapped to produce the upcoming show.

Only films made for $20 million or less are eligible for the Spirit Awards. “Precious” monopolized this year’s awards, copping five trophies.

Film Independent also shifted the Los Angeles Film Festival to downtown this year from its previous Westwood location but plans to keep it there for the next two years.

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