Jordan Peele’s horror-comedy “Get Out” dominated the Film Independent Spirit Awards on a chilly Saturday afternoon in the traditional Santa Monica beach-set marquee, winning best picture and best director.
“It’s clear we are in the beginning of a renaissance right now where stories from the outsider, stories from the people in this room, the same stories that independent filmmakers have been telling for years are being honored and recognized and celebrated,” Peele said in his acceptance speech.
The award for best film, presented by “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman, was also given to producers Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., and Sean McKittrick along with Peele. “Get Out” won over “Call Me by Your Name,” “The Florida Project,” “Lady Bird” and “The Rider.”
Frances McDormand, in an F-bomb laden speech (“The awards convention is too f–king long”), accepted the best female lead award at the Spirit Awards for the dark comedy “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” while Timothee Chalamet won best male lead for the drama “Call Me by Your Name.”
Spike Lee made the presentation of the director award to Peele, who has been nominated for Oscars in the best picture, best director and best original screenplay categories. “I would not be here without him,” Peele said of Lee.
Peele concluded by saying, “Our truths are most powerful weapons against the lies in the world, so keep doing what you’re doing.”
“Get Out” was shot in 23 days on a $4.5 million budget. It was by far the most commercially successful film among Spirit Awards nominees with more than $250 million in worldwide box office for Universal.
Sam Rockwell won the best supporting actor award at the Spirit Awards for his performance as a racist deputy in “Three Billboards.” “I’ve been in 932 independent films. I’m very familiar with the phrase ‘scale plus 10,'” said Rockwell in his acceptance speech.
In the first major acting award of the afternoon, Allison Janney won the best supporting actress award for portraying a demented mother in “I, Tonya.”
Janney, who’s favored to win the category at Sunday’s Academy Awards, topped Holly Hunter for “The Big Sick,” Laurie Metcalf for “Lady Bird,” Lois Smith for “Marjorie Prime,” and Taliah Lennice Webster for “Good Time.”
Greta Gerwig won the best screenplay award for her Oscar-nominated coming-of-age comedy-drama “Lady Bird.” She gave extensive thanks to Oscar-nominated actresses Soirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf and the producers, then singled out her family.
“Thank you to my parents for watching the plays that I put on in the living room and thank you to my brother and sister for acting in them,” she said.
Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani won for best first screenplay for their Oscar-nominated “The Big Sick.” The script, which is based on the story of the real-life couple’s decade-old courtship, won over the scripts for “Donald Cried,” “Women Who Kill,” “Columbus” and “Ingrid Goes West.”
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom won the cinematography award for “Call Me by Your Name” in the first trophy handed out Saturday. “Ingrid Goes West” won best first feature for Matt Spicer.
“Life and Nothing More” won the Spirit’s John Cassavetes Award for writer-director Antonio Méndez Esparza. The best international film trophy went to the Chilean drama “A Fantastic Woman” and director Sebastián Lelio. It’s favored to win the best foreign language film at the Oscars.
Chloe Zhao, director of “The Rider,” won the first Bonnie Award to honor a mid-career female filmmaker. French documentary “Faces Places” won that category for co-directors Agnes Varda, who is 89, and JR and producer Rosalie Varda, Agnes Varda’s daughter.
This year’s iteration of the awards show kept its original independent streak, nominating films outside the Academy Awards stratosphere like the Safdie brothers’ “Good Time,” starring Robert Pattinson, as well as Chloe Zhao’s still commercially unreleased “The Rider” and Kogonada’s debut “Columbus.”
John Mulaney and Nick Kroll hosted for the second year in a row. “The Independent Spirit Awards, where the dress code is get dressed,” said Mulaney in his intro.
Mulaney also blistered disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein, who had told him his tombstone would read “Project Runway.” Mulaney said, “It’s going to say ‘Double XL unmarked grave.'”
Kroll got big laughs for slamming others accused of abuse, saying of Kevin Spacey, “Can we still watch ‘K-Pax’?” As for Woody Allen, Mulaney asked “What about his last 20 not-watchable movies?”
“Mudbound” won the previously announced Robert Altman award to honor ensemble cast, which left it ineligible for the acting awards. Writer-director Dee Rees said in her acceptance, “Cinema lies in absorbing, electrifying performances by committed actors that make audiences feel, that make them think, make them observe themselves and world around them in a more expansive way.”
The Spirit Awards are voted on by the 6,200 members of Film Independent and require that films be produced in the U.S. for less than $20 million. In the last four years, “Moonlight,” “Spotlight,” “Birdman” and “12 Years a Slave” have won both the Spirit Award and Oscar best picture trophy.