Everything Everywhere All At Once continued its awards show at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on its way to the Oscars next weekend. The multiverse hopping adventure garnered awards for Best Picture, Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Actors Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu, Screenwriting and Editing.
“Thanks to everyone who makes crazy weird independent films,” said Scheinert.
The awards were presented Saturday afternoon in a beachfront tent in Santa Monica, California, and the show was streamed live on YouTube and Twitter.
First-time Spirit Awards presenter Hasan Minhaj opened the show by saying, “Of all awards shows, this is by far one of them.”
Minhaj was harsh on everything from the entertainment trade website Deadline (“At this point, Deadline is half gossip, half Ezra Miller crime tracker,” he said) to the lack of a broadcast partner for the show.
“The Independent Film Channel didn’t want the Independent Film Awards,” he said, noting that the channel instead showed the poorly-reviewed Will Ferrell film Semi-Pro.
“Award shows are dead,” he added. “My 2 year old watches slime videos with more viewers than the Oscars.”
First prize of the afternoon went to Quan for Best Supporting Actor for Everything Everywhere All At Once, for which his co-star Jamie Lee Curtis was also nominated. This is the first year the Spirit Awards have included gender-neutral acting awards – there were 10 nominees in both the major and minor performance categories. Quan, who is expected to win the Oscar for Supporting Actor next week, chose to dedicate his speech to many of the crew who worked on the film, from the stunt coordinators to the production assistants.
Hsu later received the Best Breakthrough award for the film.
“This is my first-ever individual award and it feels incredibly fitting that she’s in this room. I’m so honored,” she said. “I want to say a really big thank you to the Daniels. Thank you for finding me and believing in my art and seeing me and standing up for me.”
Hsu said she hoped the award would serve as a talisman to “protect that freak flag” and desire to tell stories.
“I kind of like the gender-neutral thing, it’s kind of tight,” said Abbott Elementary’s Quinta Brunson, who won to star in a new scripted series.
Brunson said she feels like the least independent person there since her show is supported by Warner Bros. and Disney, but that the spirit feels right.
Laura Poitras’ All the Beauty and the Bloodshed won Best Documentary. The film sheds light on the life of photographer and activist Nan Goldin.
“It would take me all day to express my gratitude to Nan for her cooperation and trust,” Poitras said. “She taught me so many things while making this film, most notably the role of art and artists in transforming not just society but our understanding of the world we live in.”
Women Talking was previously announced as the winner of the Robert Altman Award, which celebrates director Sarah Polley, casting directors John Buchan and Jason Knight, and ensemble cast of Jessie Buckley, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Ben Whishaw and Frances McDormand.
“It’s so fitting that you are recognized for the beautiful, supportive and loving ensemble that you are,” Polley said.
She also dubbed her film “Women Are Talking” in reference to Mark Wahlberg’s slip at the Screen Actors Guild Awards last week.
“Sorry, Marky Mark just came to mind,” she said.
On the television side, Apple TV+’s “Pachinko” received the appropriate award.
Nathan Fielder got the crowd laughing as he accepted his award for an unscripted series for his HBO show The Rehearsal, detailing the contents of each seat’s lunch box.
“The bean salad was great,” he said. “There were also some grapes. Yummy. They weren’t lazy. Nobody was lazy.”
Looking down at his award, he said, “I’m guessing you’ll add the name later?”
“Nanny” director Nikyatu Jusu won the Someone to Watch Award.
“Thank goodness Charlotte Wells wasn’t in that category because ‘Aftersun’ has been kicking my ass all year,” Jusu said.
“Aftersun” won Best First Feature later that afternoon.
“To the second feature,” Wells said.
Other winners included Joyland (Best International Film), The Bear (New Screenplay Series and Supporting Actor Ayo Edebiri), The Cathedral (The John Cassavetes Award), John Patton Ford (First Screenplay for Emily the Criminal) and “Tár” cameraman Florian Hoffmeister.
The winners are chosen 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 ended the show with some inspirational words to dream big.
“We’re in the middle of an identity crisis, the entire industry is confused about what’s next and it’s really scary, especially for the independent world, but I want to provide a new framework: this is an opportunity,” said Kwan.
“When it’s shaking and turbulent and the foundation is cracking, that’s the best time to plant. It’s our job not only to adapt to the future, but also to actively think about what kind of future we want to rewrite and what kind of future we want to work and live in.” I urge all of us to dream really big. What we do here will flow upstream to the rest of the industry.”