Spirit Awards: 'If Beale Street Could Talk' Team Dedicates Best Feature Win to James Baldwin

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Michael Keaton presented the award to producers Adele Romanski, Barry Jenkins and their team. Jenkins also won best director honors for the adaptation of the Baldwin novel of the same name.

If Beale Street Could Talk won big on Saturday at the 34th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, earning a number of nods including the show's top prize, best feature. 

Michael Keaton presented the award to producers Adele Romanski, Barry Jenkins and their team. Jenkins also won best director honors for the adaptation of the James Baldwin novel of the same name.

Romanski thanked the Baldwin estate and the author himself, "without whom none of us would be standing up here." 

Just two years ago, the Beale Street producers won the same award for Moonlight. "It's so nice to be standing back up here with the same family two years later, and some new members, too," Romanski said.

She continued, recalling what Glenn Close said earlier ("It's really, really only ever about the work, no matter what you're wearing, no matter what red carpet you walk on, no matter what people say to you") during her acceptance speech for best female lead in The Wife.

"I really liked what Glenn had to say, that it's about the work. I think that's true," Romanski said. "I think we would all agree it's very much about the work. And there's so much good work in this room today, so really, congrats to everybody. And I know that sounds like a thing you say, but I really, genuinely, deeply mean that." 

If Beale Street Could Talk prevailed in the category over Eighth Grade, First Reformed, Leave No Trace and You Were Never Really Here.

This year's Spirit Awards marked a departure from previous shows, as none of the five films nominated for best feature were nominated for the Academy's equivalent award, best picture — something that hasn't happened since 2008. In fact, only two of the best feature nominees are competing in other categories at Sunday's Oscars: If Beale Street Could Talk and First Reformed.

The sudden lack of correlation between Film Independent and Academy voters could be attributed to a number of factors, including the Spirit Awards' specific celebration of "independent" movies, defined by the rules committee as those with "uniqueness of vision" and "original/provocative subject matter," with many of this year's Oscar frontrunners excluded because of their budgets, such as Vice, A Star Is Born, Green Book, Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Panther. Two other Oscar nominees for best picture, The Favourite and Roma, were only eligible in the Spirits' best international film category.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards aired on IFC and were hosted by Aubrey Plaza.