“Everything Everywhere All At Once” continued its Film Independent Spirit Awards sweep on its way to the Oscars next weekend. The multiple-choice adventure collected awards for best picture, directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, actors Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu, screenplay and editing.
“Thanks to everyone who makes crazy, weird independent films,” Scheinert said.
The awards were presented Saturday afternoon on a beach stage in Santa Monica, California, and the show was streamed live on YouTube and Twitter.
The first Spirit Awards host, Hasan Minhaj, opened the show by saying, “Of all the awards, this is by far, one of them.”
Minhaj took everything from the entertainment trade website Deadline (“At this point, Deadline is half gossip, half Ezra Miller crime sleuth,” he said) to the show’s lack of a partner.
“The Independent Film Channel didn’t want the Independent Film Awards,” he said, noting that the channel chose to air Will Ferrell’s poorly reviewed film Semi-Pro.
“Award shows are dead,” he added. “My 2-year-old watches slime videos with more viewers than the Oscars.”
The first award of the evening went to Kwan 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 adopted gender-neutral acting awards – both the lead and supporting acting categories had 10 nominations. Quan, who is expected to win a supporting actor Oscar next week, chose to dedicate his speech to the many crew members who worked on the film, from stunt coordinators to production assistants.
Hsu later received the award for Best Breakthrough Performance for the film.
“This is my first individual award and it feels incredibly fitting that it’s in this room. I feel so honored,” she said. “I really want to thank Daniels so much. Thank you so much for finding me and believing in my art and seeing me and supporting me.”
Hsu said she hoped the award would act as a talisman to “protect this horrific flag” and the desire to tell stories.
“I kind of like the gender neutral, it’s kind of tight,” said Quinta Brunson of “Abbott Elementary,” who won for top performance in a new scripted series.
Branson said she felt like the least independent person there since her show is backed by Warner Bros. and Disney, but that her spirit was right.
Laura Poitras’ “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” won best documentary. The film examines the life of photographer and activist Nan Goldin.
“It would take me all day to fully express my gratitude to Nan for her cooperation and trust,” Poitras said. “It taught me so many things making this film, most importantly the role of art and artists to change not only society but also the way we understand the world we live in.”
“Women Talking” was previously announced as a Robert Altman Award winner, with director Sarah Polley, casting directors John Buchan and Jason Knight and an ensemble cast that includes Jessie Buckley, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Ben Whishaw and Frances McDormand .
“It’s so fitting to be recognized for the beautiful, supportive and loving whole that you are,” Polley said.
She also named her film “Women Are Talking” in a nod to Mark Wahlberg’s slip-up at the Screen Actors Guild Award last week.
“Sorry, Marky Mark just pops into my head,” he said.
Apple TV+’s ‘Pachinko’ took the corresponding award on the TV side.
Nathan Fielder got the crowd laughing by accepting his unscripted series award 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 also a few grapes. Delicious. It wasn’t rotten. None were rotten.”
Looking at his prize, 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 wasn’t in this category because all year ‘Aftersun’ has been blowing my mind,” Jusu said.
“Aftersun” won best first picture later in the afternoon.
“Here’s the second feature,” Wells said.
Other winners were “Joyland” (Best International Film), “The Bear” (new script 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.
The 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’re in the middle of an identity crisis, the industry in general is confused about what’s going to happen next, and it’s really scary especially for the independent world, but I want to offer a new context: This is an opportunity,” Kwan said.
“When things shake and it gets turbulent and cracks form in the foundation, that’s the best time to plant seeds. It’s our job not only to adapt to the future but also to actively dream about what kind of future we want to rewrite and what kind of future we want to work and live in,” Kwan continued. I urge all of us to really dream. What we do here will flow upstream to the rest of the industry.”