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Film Independent posted up on Santa Monica Beach on Saturday for the Spirit Awards, the biggest party for the independent film scene. While cameras captured the live show for a stream on IMDb (a first after being aired on IFC for years), The Hollywood Reporter was inside the iconic white tent on the beach to bring you all the action you might’ve missed.
Hasan Minhaj Sticks Around Until Cate Blanchett Comes Up for Air
Spirit Awards host Hasan Minhaj unveiled an ambitious plan for one of his bits: Attempt to get huge stars like Cate Blanchett to respond to various situations and then catch their reaction on camera in order to use as the Spirit Awards thumbnail on YouTube (as a play to gain views, he said). But it quickly backfired when Blanchett ducked for cover under the table. Minhaj turned his attention to Tár director Todd Field who followed his star and disappeared beneath a white tablecloth, as did Regina Hall and Marisa Tomei. Cameras caught all of that, of course, but what THR noticed is that when Jenny Slate and Nicholas Braun were presenting the Spirit Award for best new scripted series, Minhaj stuck around while Blanchett, Field and Tomei came up for air. It appeared that he exchanged a few pleasant words with Blanchett over the whole thing. After the show, THR confirmed that Blanchett and crew did not know of Minhaj’s plan and their ducking for cover was completely spontaneous.
Hot Dog Fingers Make Backstage Cameo
After a near sweep, the Everything Everywhere All at Once team hit the press room where they posed for pics on the mini stage hoisting their haul of hardware. Nominee Jamie Lee Curtis came ready with a pair of gloves shaped like hot dog fingers, a welcome sight to fans of the hit film. On a more serious note, the Daniels spoke about A24’s recent auction of film props that raised more than $500,000 for charity. “When they first asked for him, I said that’s too valuable,” Daniel Scheinert said of offering animatronic raccoon puppet Raccacoonie. He said he was glad to have a change of heart because “it sold for $90,000 and that’s going to Asian Mental Health Project, so a bunch of people will get to go to therapy for free. Raccacoonie is a hero.” Daniel Kwan added the auction was all A24’s idea, and “all the super fans and collectors who decided to put that money into things like rocks and hotdog pants, it’s so silly but at the same time, knowing that perhaps has profound effects on real people’s lives is incredible.”
Jamie Lee Curtis Reveals a “Secret”: She’s Skipping Oscar Nominees Dinner
Speaking of Jamie Lee Curtis, the actress gifted THR some time on the blue carpet and even revealed “a secret” about her upcoming Oscar week schedule. Nominated for best supporting actress, Curtis got invited to a private dinner strictly for nominees that is hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on Thursday night. But — twist — she’s not going! “You might say, ‘Jamie, you’re nominated for an Academy Award, you’re going to be in the room with only nominees for the Academy Award.’ And I have declined,” she explained. Like us, you might be thinking, why would she do that? Here’s the early bird’s answer: “Because mommy goes to bed early.”
Michelle Yeoh Plays Fiji Water Hydration Hostess
Before she picked up a trophy for best performance for her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once, Yeoh proved that she can pretty much do everything all at once. The actress walked the press line, posed for photos, did a few interviews and then grabbed a tray from a Fiji Water server and played the part for a few minutes, offering up hydration from the event’s official water sponsor. She even looked the part, too, in a blue Gucci gown. The one thing Yeoh didn’t do is overstay her welcome: Yeoh joined her EEAAO family backstage after winning the day’s top award and she revealed that she had to say a quick goodbye in order to catch a flight to Paris at 6:30 p.m.
Sarah Polley Responds to Mark Wahlberg Mispronouncing Women Talking
During an acceptance speech for the Robert Altman Award, filmmaker Sarah Polley said, “I can’t tell you what it means to us to be up here being recognized in this way for this film, Women Are Talking. I mean, Women Talking, sorry, Marky Mark gets in my head.” The quip was in reference to the recent SAG Awards where Mark Wahlberg mispronounced her film while announcing the night’s final award for best ensemble. Today’s onstage moment confirmed what Polley had told THR on the blue carpet — that she has absolutely no hard feelings about “Marky Mark’s” mix-up. “Whatever happened on Twitter for the next 48 hours, probably did more to raise awareness of our film than any other single gesture so it was extremely funny,” Polley explained. “I find it hard to muster up outrage in my heart. It ended up being an incredibly hilarious talking point around our film and it got a lot of our supporters out there talking about how much they liked our film.”
Inspecting Quinta Brunson’s Standing Ovation
Quinta Brunson has cleaned up this awards season and when she won yet again today (for best lead performance in a new scripted series), the Abbott Elementary creator and star received a standing ovation from a chunk of the audience that was off-camera, including Gabrielle Union, Jeremy Pope and the rest of their colleagues from the nominated film The Inspection. Backstage, Brunson revealed where she’s keeping all the hardware. “I’m going to put them in my office at Warner Brothers, I just recently signed an overall deal there so I have an office that I’m just going to fill it with,” she told reporters backstage, joking, “That’s what I see other executives do. I don’t want them in my home, that looks a little obnoxious unless you have like multiple wings. It’s wild to do that — put awards on your table.” Brunson also threw her support behind the Spirit Awards’ 2 p.m. start time and its alcohol selection: “Normally it’s hard to find whiskey at these things but it’s just overflowing here,” praised Brunson (in an Aliétte ostrich feather embellished faille gown), a nod of gratitude that should be directed to sponsor Bulleit Frontier Whiskey. Not that she downed too many glasses. “I had to wake up at 6:30 for glam so I’ll probably be able to do some laundry after this.”
Spirit Award’s Newest Accessory: HVAC Units
Don’t let the sunshine and beachside location fool you, it was a frigid afternoon that called for the Spirit Awards to add a series of new accessories attached to the big white tent this year: HVAC units. Temperatures hovered in the mid-50s and despite some heat being pumped into the tent, THR noticed some guests that were draped in scarves, coats and hats to keep warm.
Sharon Horgan Meets Pearl Nominee Mia Goth
During a chat with THR, Bad Sisters co-creator and star Sharon Horgan noted that she had recently been emailing with filmmaker Ti West because she loved his trilogy so much, specifically Pearl starring Mia Goth in the title role. At the moment she detailed their email exchange, Goth, nominated for best performance for her work in the horror thriller, happened to be standing just feet away, leading to the moment seen below.
What the Stars Ate at Saturday’s Spirit Awards
Nathan Fielder, a winner for non-scripted series for his HBO show The Rehearsal, used a chunk of his acceptance speech to give attention to a couple of surprise subjects including Film Independent president Josh Welch (whom he thanked for the honor and the show itself) and the menu. “The bean salad was great,” Fielder confirmed. “There were a few grapes also. Delicious. They weren’t rotten. None were rotten.” The praise may have inspired curiosity about what else was in that tapas box. Here goes: Spanish charcuterie and cheeses, cannellini bean salad, roasted beet salad and vegan olive oil shortbread with blood orange glaze.
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