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The Farewell won the Spirit Award for best feature at Saturday’s Film Independent Spirit Awards.
The film’s director, Lulu Wang, accepted the award and gave an impassioned acceptance speech about the importance of those with power in Hollywood hiring more female filmmakers.
“There’s been a lot of conversation this year about how to encourage more women to be in film or get more women into the conversation,” Wang said. “And I just have to say that we don’t have to encourage women. There are lots of women making films.”
While Wang noted that there are “great” programs out there for aspiring women filmmakers, she stated: “Really, what women need is just the job. Just give them the frickin’ job!”
Wang continued, “Give us the money, you know, because in America, unfortunately, we’re not going to make a lifelong career making art house films supported by government funding. That’s just not the country we live in. So, just give the women the jobs. Don’t make them run through that many hoops.”
Wang went on to thank her Farewell collaborators. “These incredible people gave me an opportunity,” she said. “When my first film went nowhere, they didn’t have to take a chance on me and they did.”
Wang concluded her speech by dedicating The Farewell‘s win to her grandmother — the woman whom she affectionately calls Nai Nai and who inspired the film’s story. “I think a year ago, nobody would have known what a Nai Nai was and now everybody’s saying ‘Nai Nai,’ so that’s awesome,” Wang said, before joking: “And I’m sorry, Mom and Dad, for putting all of your baggage out there, but thank you. I hope it’s worth it.”
Earlier in the ceremony, Wang accepted the award for best supporting actress on behalf of Zhao Shuzhen, who played a version of her own grandmother in the film. (Zhao wasn’t able to attend the Spirit Awards due to the coronavirus outbreak in her native China.) During that acceptance speech, Wang also focused on her Nai Nai’s impact, telling the crowd, “This is for grandmothers everywhere.”
For best feature, The Farewell beat out nominees including A Hidden Life, Clemency, Marriage Story and Uncut Gems.
Actress Aubrey Plaza hosted the 2020 Spirit Awards, televised live on IFC from a tent on the beach in Santa Monica.
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