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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Independent Spirit Awards Recap: Moonlight's Record-Breaking Win, Annette Bening's Confused Slow Clap and More

I know I say this every year, but the Film Independent Spirit Awards just get it. You know you're watching the right award show if Moonlight becomes the film with the most amount of awards of this entire decade. Why? Because 1) it's a beautiful narrative with a wonderful cast, 2) it's truly independent and exemplifies in every way what this award stands for, and 3) because it's so necessary. And this awards committee understands that.

Aside from Moonlight's record-breaking wins (a total of six, including best feature), the ceremony also boasted historic wins for Andrew Ahn, writer/director of the John Cassavetes Award-winning queer Korean drama, Spa Night (which I desperately need to see) and the horror film, The Witch, earning the award for both best first feature and best first screenplay. (To be clear, I still do not care for The Witch, but, since horror films usually get snubbed, I'm glad to see some recognition for the genre, though if it was a fair world Under the Shadow should have been its only representation). I digress.

A love/hate moment during the show came when Isabelle Huppert won for her performance in the wretched rape fantasy drama, Elle, over Annette Bening (20th Century Women), who could barely muster a lackluster slow clap from her seat in the audience. It was at that point when I realized that Bening and I were separated at birth, and we're long overdue for a chat about this foolery over a hard drink.

Same goes for Casey Affleck, who won best actor in not very competitive category (though I really need see David Harewood in Free in Deed). It's important to note here that Denzel Washington (Fences) was not nominated, and since apparently Affleck is his alternate, he won. I want you to be clear on that point,

Also, a huge congrats to director Ezra Edelman, whose terrific film, O.J. Made in America, won best documentary. I'm not going to pretend to know what this means come tomorrow's Oscars, but I think it's safe to say that the film's 7.5-hour length isn't hurting its chances. So, let's just end that debate here and now.

Oh and, OMG, can we talk about Molly Shannon (aka Mary Katherine Gallagher from SNL) winning best supporting actress for the heartbreaking dramedy, Other People? Seriously folks, if you haven't seen this movie, you must. So, so, so good and understated. It, like Moonlight, does what most films should: it normalizes the beauty of life and humanity.

Major props to the Film Independent Spirit Awards for staying true to its mission. Your move, Oscars.

For a full list of winners of the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards, click here.


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