The 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards are going virtual and have partnered with virtual venue Looped to make the awards show a virtual interactive experience for attendees.
In place of its signature beach tent, virtual guests will watch this year’s ceremony from inside an online equivalent. The 36th annual Spirit Awards telecast will air on April 22, and “Saturday Night Live’s” Melissa Villaseñor will serve as the show’s host. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Nina West will attend the awards show as a special guest.
As part of the fully interactive experience, a cocktail hour will begin at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT. There will be a main stage DJ entertaining guests. The annual Spirit Awards after-party will be reimagined as a virtual karaoke party.
Before heading to private Spirit Awards viewing suites, the virtual show will kick off with a curated, pre-show cocktail hour for all guests, featuring a main stage DJ set.
Attendees will have the chance to engage with live video chat as they move between the various curated virtual bars and tents. Those include The Wine Bar, hosted by Napa winemakers; The Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Bar, featuring a mixologist; the Blue Carpet photo booth and a host of other familiar hangouts including The Pier, The Carousel and The Bungalow. Or, for those wanting to ease into the evening, The Quiet Cabana. Guests will also have the chance to go to “The Beach” where they can let loose at the Silent Disco.
The Virtual Show Backstage will also feature tents exclusive to Nominees and Special Guests only. Variety’s film and media reporter Angelique Jackson and The Curvy Critic’s Carla Renata are set to host the main Backstage tent.
Presenters for the evening will include Adam Sandler, Renee Zellweger, Daveed Diggs, Julia Garner, Kathryn Hahn, Annie Murphy and Lulu Wang.
Best feature nominees include “First Cow” (A24), “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix), “Minari” (A24), “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (Focus Features) and “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures). Regina King’s powerful “One Night in Miami” was given the Robert Altman Award.
Previously announced Spirit Awards Chair and 2014 Someone to Watch Award winner Shaka King will feature as a special guest. King recently announced the 2021 Emerging Filmmaker Awards, which granted $25,000 to recipients Ekwa Msangi (Someone to Watch Award), Gerry Kim (Producers Award) and Elegance Bratton (Truer Than Fiction Award.)
As a Premier Sponsor, Genesis Motor North America is also supporting the ongoing Film Independent Directors Close-Up series.