Spirit Awards: Noah Baumbach Wins Best Screenplay, Jokes "I Kind of Hate Writing"

'Marriage Story,' starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, is the writer-director's first film for Netflix and the 10th in his growing catalog.

Noah Baumbach’s divorce drama Marriage Story won best screenplay at the 35th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday afternoon.

After taking the stage to accept his first-ever Spirit Award win, the writer, director and producer "concurred" with sentiments shared by category presenters Nick Kroll and Mindy Kaling, noting the labor and stress of being a Hollywood scribe. 

"I kind of hate writing," Baumbach said to crowd laughter. "I mean, I love other people's writing. My fellow nominees wrote amazing movies. But writing is hard. It's agony. And I'm in awe of all the screenwriters here and elsewhere who essentially devoted their lives to something that gives us no pleasure and makes us feel bad."

He went on to thank his cast and Netflix chief creative officer Ted Sarandos before giving a shout-out to his partner and fellow filmmaker Greta Gerwig.

"I want to say hi to Greta, who made a movie too expensive for the Spirit Awards. She's no less independent than anyone here. You're amazing, my inspiration and everything," Baumbach said before leaving the stage.  

The Netflix film chronicles a grueling coast-to-coast divorce between a stage director (Adam Driver) and actress (Scarlett Johansson) in which they struggle to define themselves and their family in the aftermath of their fractured marriage.

The film’s best screenplay win is the latest in an awards season filled with heavy praise for Baumbach’s writing and directing. The latest in the writer-director's career which began with 1995’s Kicking and Screaming, Marriage Story's screenplay has been honored by the Gotham Independent Film Awards, Satellite Awards, AARP's Movies for Grownups Awards and numerous film critics societies. The film is also up for six awards, including best original screenplay, at the 2020 Academy Awards.

Marriage Story was nominated in the best screenplay category alongside Clemency, High Flying Bird, To Dust and Uncut Gems. Recent past winners have included Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Moonlight, Spotlight and Nightcrawler.

The 35th annual Independent Spirit Awards were hosted for the second consecutive year by actress Aubrey Plaza, held in a beachside tent in Santa Monica and broadcast live on IFC.