“Everything Everywhere All At Once” continued its awards sweep at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on its path to the Oscars next weekend. The multiverse-hopping adventure collected awards for best picture, directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, actors Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu, screenplay and editing.
"Thank you to everyone who makes crazy, weird independent movies,” Scheinert said.
Awards were handed out Saturday afternoon in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica, Calif., and the show was streamed live on YouTube and Twitter.
First-time Spirit Awards host Hasan Minhaj opened the show saying, “Of all the awards shows, this is by far, one of them.”
Minhaj went hard on everything, from the entertainment trade website Deadline (“At this point, Deadline is half gossip, half Ezra Miller crime tracker,” he said) to the show’s lack of a broadcast partner.
“The Independent Film Channel did not want the Independent Film Awards,” he said, noting that the channel chose to show the poorly reviewed Will Ferrell movie “Semi-Pro” instead.
“Awards shows are dead," he added. "My 2-year-old watches slime videos with more viewers than the Oscars.”
The first prize of the afternoon went to Quan for best supporting actor for “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” which his co-star Jamie Lee Curtis was also nominated for. This is the first year the Spirit Awards embraced gender neutral acting awards – both lead and supporting performance categories had 10 nominees. Quan, who is expected to win the supporting actor Oscar next week, chose to devote his speech to many of the crew who worked on the film, from the stunt coordinators to the production assistants.
Hsu later collected the prize for best breakthrough performance for the film.
“This is my first ever individual award and it feels incredibly appropriate that it’s in this room. I feel so honored” she said. “I really want to thank the Daniels so much. Thank you so much for finding me and believing in my art and seeing me and championing me.”
Hsu said she hoped the award would act as a talisman to “protect that freak flag” and desire to tell stories.
“I kinda like the gender neutral thing, it’s kind of tight,” said “Abbott Elementary’s” Quinta Brunson who won for leading performance in a new scripted series.
Brunson said she felt like the least independent person there, as her show is supported by Warner Bros. and Disney, but that the spirit of it felt right.
Laura Poitras’s “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” won best documentary. The film looks at the life of photographer and activist Nan Goldin.
“It would take me the entire day to fully express my gratitude to Nan for her collaboration and for her trust,” Poitras said. “She’s taught me so many things in making this film, most importantly the role of art and artists to change not only society but how we understand the world we live in.”
“Women Talking” was previously announced as winner of the Robert Altman Award, celebrating director Sarah Polley, casting directors John Buchan and Jason Knight, and the ensemble cast including Jessie Buckley, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Ben Whishaw and Frances McDormand.
“It’s so fitting the way that you’re being recognized for the beautiful, supportive, loving ensemble that you are,” Polley said.
She also called her film “Women Are Talking” in a nod to Mark Wahlberg’s slip-up at the Screen Actors Guild Award s last week.
“Sorry, Marky Mark just gets in my head,” she said.
Apple TV+’s “Pachinko” got the corresponding award on the television side.
Nathan Fielder had the crowd laughing accepting his award for non-scripted series for his HBO show “The Rehearsal” and detailing the contents of the lunch boxes at everyone’s seats.
“The bean salad was great,” he said. “There were a few grapes also. Delicious. They weren’t rotten. None were rotten.”
Looking down at his award, he said, “I guess they’ll add the name to it later?”
“Nanny” director Nikyatu Jusu won the Someone to Watch award.
“Thank god Charlotte Wells was not in this category because all year ‘Aftersun’ has been whooping my ass,” Jusu said.
“Aftersun” did win best first feature later in the afternoon.
“Here’s to the second feature,” Wells said.
Other winners included “Joyland” (best international film), “The Bear” (new scripted series and supporting actor Ayo Edebiri), “The Cathedral” (The John Cassavetes Award), John Patton Ford (first screenplay for “Emily the Criminal”) and “Tár” cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister.
Winners are voted on by members of the non-profit organization Film Independent. The budget cap for eligible films was recently raised from $22.5 million to $30 million.
Kwan closed the show with some words of inspiration to dream big.
“We are in the middle of an identity crisis, the industry at large is confused as to what’s happening next and it’s really scary especially for the independent world, but I want to offer up a reframe: This is an opportunity,” Kwan said.
“When things are shaking and it gets turbulent and cracks form in the foundation, that’s the best time to plant seeds. It is our job not just to adapt to the future but also to actively dream up what kind of future we want to rewrite and what kind of future we want to be working and living in," Kwan continued. I urge us all to dream really big. What we do here is going to flow upstream to the rest of the industry.”