Spirit Awards: 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' Wins Best Screenplay

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Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty

Screenwriter Nicole Holofcener accepted the award, dedicating the win to the film's subject, Lee Israel.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?'s Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty accepted the award for best screenplay at the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday.

Holofcener and Whitty were up against fellow nominees in the category Richard Glatzer, Rebecca Lenkiewicz and Wash Westmoreland for Colette, Tamara Jenkins for Private Life, Boots Riley for Sorry to Bother You and Paul Schrader for First Reformed.

The film, which stars Melissa McCarthy, also earned the award for best supporting male for actor Richard E. Grant's performance. 

The film's director, Marielle Heller, joined the screenwriters on stage upon Holofcener's invitation. "[The film] proves that outlier characters who you would rather not spend time with, who aren't likeable, can still be entertaining and worthy of our love," Holofcener said. 

Holofcener dedicated the award to Lee Israel, the author and notorious literary forger portrayed by McCarthy, who did not live to see the film. "I wish she could've been here, even though though she wouldn't have been very nice to anybody," Holofcener joked.

Actress Aubrey Plaza hosted the show, televised live from a tent on the beach in Santa Monica