Other winners included Adam Sandler for best male lead, Renée Zellweger for best female lead, the Safdie brothers for best director and Noah Baumbach for best screenplay.
The Film Independent Spirit Awards often position themselves in direct contrast to the Oscars — and this year was no different. The Spirit Awards ceremony, which took place Saturday on the beach in Santa Monica, promoted the diversity that is infamously lacking in the 2020 Academy Awards.
"We actually honor female directors," said host Aubrey Plaza during her opening monologue, giving a dig at the Oscars, which lacks women directing nominees for yet another year, as the camera panned to Honey Boy helmer Alma Har’el.
From the stage, Plaza also called out supporting actress nominee Jennifer Lopez and their shared Puerto Rican heritage, noting that Puerto Rico is a lot like independent film: "It’s beautiful, not enough people have seen it and its financing is always falling through." The joke was greeted with laughs, groans and a grimace from Lopez.
Three out of the four winners in the acting categories were not nominated for the Oscars in the same respective categories (Renee Zellweger took home the trophy for the best lead actress, and was the expected winner at Sunday's Academy Awards).
"For the first time at the Independent Spirit Awards, all five supporting actress nominees are women of color," noted presenter Idina Menzel. The Oscars only have one acting nominee that is a person of color — Cynthia Erivo for Harriet.
The supporting actress winner was The Farewell’s Zhao Shuzen, who was stuck in China due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (director Lulu Wang accepted the award on her behalf), while Willem Dafoe was tapped as best supporting actor for The Lighthouse.
The Farewell, Uncut Gems and The Lighthouse all hail from A24. After being nearly shut out of the Oscars, the indie studio was the biggest winner at Saturday's Spirit Awards ceremony, with its nominees prevailing in three out of the four acting categories, as well as for cinematography (Jarin Blaschke for The Lighthouse), editing (Ronald Bronstein & Benny Safdie for Uncut Gems), director (Uncut Gems' Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie) and picture (The Farewell). "They were the one who were able to give us the platform," said The Farewell's Wang of A24.
Adam Sandler, who was snubbed for a leading actor Oscar nomination for Uncut Gems, received a standing ovation as he made his way to the stage to accept his Spirit Award.
During his speech, the actor surmised of the gap between the Spirit Awards and the Academy Awards, using a personal anecdote: "A few weeks back when I got, quote-unquote, snubbed by the Oscars, it reminded me when I briefly attended high school and was overlooked for the coveted yearbook superlative ‘best looking.’ That accolade was given to a jean jacket-wearing, feather-haired douchebag by the name of Skipper Jenkins. But my classmates did honor me with the allegedly less prestigious ‘best personality.'"
He concluded: "Tonight, as I look around this room, I realize that the Independent Spirit Awards are the 'best personality' awards of Hollywood. So, when all those feather-haired, douchebag motherfuckers go to get their Oscars tomorrow night, their handsome good looks will fade in time ... but our independent personalities will shine on forever."
The 35th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards aired on IFC.
A complete list of winners follows. Read all the news from the show here.
The Farewell (WINNER)
Producers: Anita Gou, Daniele Melia, Andrew Miano, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Lulu Wang, Chris Weitz, Jane Zheng
A Hidden Life
Producers: Elisabeth Bentley, Dario Bergesio, Grant Hill, Josh Jeter
Producers: Timur Bekbosunov, Julian Cautherley, Bronwyn Cornelius, Peter Wong
Producers: Noah Baumbach, David Heyman
Producers: Eli Bush, Sebastian Bear-McClard, Scott Rudin
Director: Olivia Wilde
Producers: Chelsea Barnard, David Distenfeld, Jessica Elbaum, Megan Ellison, Katie Silberman
Director/Producer: Michael Angelo Covino
Producers: Noah Lang, Kyle Marvin
Director: Kent Jones
Producers: Luca Borghese, Ben Howe, Caroline Kaplan, Oren Moverman
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Director/Producer: Joe Talbot
Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Khaliah Neal, Christina Oh
Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Producer: Ilan Goldman
See You Yesterday
Director: Stefon Bristol
Producer: Spike Lee
Parasite (South Korea), Director: Bong Joon Ho (WINNER)
Invisible Life (Brazil), Director: Karim Aïnouz
Les Misérables (France), Director: Ladj Ly
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France), Director: Céline Sciamma
Retablo (Peru), Director: Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio L.
The Souvenir (United Kingdom), Director: Joanna Hogg
American Factory (WINNER)
Director/Producer: Steven Bognar & Julia Reichert
Producers: Julie Parker Benello, Jeff Reichert
Director/Producer: Todd Douglas Miller
Producers: Evan Krauss, Thomas Baxley Petersen
Director: Edward Watts
Director/Producer: Waad al-Kateab
Director: Tamara Kotevska
Director/Producer: Ljubo Stefanov
Producer: Atanas Georgiev
Island of the Hungry Ghosts
Director/Producer: Gabrielle Brady
Producers: Gizem Acarla, Samm Haillay, Alex Kelly, Alexander Wadouh
Director: Noah Baumbach
Casting Directors: Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler
Ensemble Cast: Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Julie Hagerty, Scarlett Johansson, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson, Merritt Wever
Give Me Liberty (WINNER)
Writer/Director/Producer: Kirill Mikhanovsky
Writer/Producer: Alice Austen
Producers: Val Abel, Wally Hall, Michael Manasseri, George Rush, Sergey Shtern
Writer/Director/Producer: Phillip Youmans
Producers: Ojo Akinlana, Jakob Johnson, Karen Kaia Livers, Mose Mayer, Wendell Pierce, Isaac Webb, Cassandra Youmans
Writer/Director: Tom Quinn
Producers: Joshua Blum, Alexandra Byer, Craig Shilowich, Matthew Thurm
Writer/Director/Producer: Rashaad Ernesto Green
Writer: Zora Howard
Producer: Darren Dean, Joy Ganes
Wild Nights With Emily
Writer/Director/Producer: Madeleine Olnek
Producers: Anna Margarita Albelo, Casper Andreas, Max Rifkind-Barron
Kelly Reichardt (WINNER)
Mollye Asher (WINNER)