Spirit Awards moved up a day

Ceremony traditionally held day before the Oscars

NEW YORK -- The Film Independent Spirit Awards, which for more than a decade have been held on the Saturday afternoon before the Academy Awards, this season will take place on Friday, March 5, two days before the Oscars.

They also will be held at night, kicking off at 8 p.m. PST, and moving.

The Spirits are traditionally held under a tent on the beach near the Santa Monica Pier. Although Film Independent reps said details on a new location would be forthcoming, it's unlikely that at that post-dusk hour the show would continue to be held at a beachside location.

The Spirit Awards have made an Oscar-weekend tradition out of the Saturday spot. Execs and talent have gathered in the afternoon for what is one of the more laid-back and informal awards shows before heading off to Oscar obligations in the evening.

Film Independent did not offer a reason for the move of what will be the ceremony's 25th year; exec director Dawn Hudson said only that "in planning this year's significant anniversary, we decided to venture away from our beloved day at the beach to a Friday evening where we hope an even broader audience discovers us as we kick off the awards weekend."

A rep later underscored that that the organization wanted to do something different on this anniversary year, leaving open the possibility that the ceremony could revert to its usual slot in the future.

The televised broadcast will continue to air live and uncut on IFC -- though the new time slot means an 11 p.m. start for East Coast viewers. An IFC rep was not available at press time to address how it might affect the marketing and viewership of the telecast.

The new slot could throw a curve at Oscar weekend schedules. A number of parties are usually set for Friday night, while many groups have steered clear of Saturday afternoon to make way for the Spirits.