Spirit Awards: Emma Donoghue Thanks 'Room' Director for Being "Gandalf to [Her] Bilbo"

The writer, who adapted her own best-selling novel for the big screen, won the award for best first screenplay.

Emma Donoghue's Room won best first screenplay at the 31st Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday.

Donoghue adapted her own best-selling novel, Room, for the big screen. The A24-released film stars Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay — who presented the award to Donoghue alongside Anthony Mackie — as a young woman and her son who are held captive in a small enclosure for more than five years before escaping.

"Thank you everyone who has welcomed this ignorant newbie into the movie business, but especially Element Pictures and our great director, Lenny Abrahamson," Donoghue said after pushing Tremblay's "ledge" out of the way. "Lenny led me into the world of independent film like mighty Gandalf to my Bilbo. I couldn't have had a wiser or kinder or funnier guide."

Donoghue dedicated the award to her family, including her "beloved" partner Chris Roulston and their son, Finn, and daughter, Una. Their kids, Donoghue said, inspired both the book and film versions of Room and "continue to inspire me every day I'm lucky enough to spend with them."

Roulston, Donoghue said, has supported her "for 22 years, 15 books, one film and two children."

"When I was pregnant with our first child, I remember another writer, a woman, she leaned over to me and she said, 'As they say, every baby costs you a book.' It was a phrase I'd never heard before," Donoghue continued. "And in my experience, children do leave you less time to write, but they give you a lot more to write about."

Room won two of the three Spirit Awards for which it was nominated, including best female lead, which star Brie Larson won.

The acclaimed film has already won two Critics' Choice awards and an award each at the BAFTAs, SAG Awards and Golden Globes and is up for four Oscars, including best picture.

The screenwriter beat out Jesse Andrews (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl); John Magary, Russell Harbaugh and Myna Joseph (The Mend); Jonas Carpignano (Mediterranea); and Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl).

The awards were handed out in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica at a ceremony hosted by Silicon Valley's Kumail Nanjiani and Saturday Night Live's Kate McKinnon. The awards were exclusively broadcast live on IFC.

Visit THR.com/awards for complete coverage of awards season.