How Indie Spirits Will Influence Oscar Voting in 2023

Indie favorite “Everything Everywhere All at Once” won seven Spirit Awards heading into the final days of Oscar voting.

This year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards were once again ahead of the Oscar curve: their winners were announced on Saturday, March 4th in the usual cold, white tent on Santa Monica Beach, and Oscar voting doesn’t end until March 7th.

At the time, when the awards were presented on the Saturday before the Oscars, they had absolutely no effect on the Oscars. But this year, big winner “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which took home seven Spirit Awards, is heading straight into the final days of Oscar voting, bolstered by recent key wins at the DGA, PGA and SAG awards. Voting closes on March 7th at 5pm PT.

Host Hasan Minhaj explained that IFC should not renew its contract to broadcast the awards show, which was broadcast live, just like the SAG Awards on YouTube. First-time host (and former host) Aubrey Plaza congratulated Spirits for “finally letting go of the corporate commercial bullshit and finally becoming independent enough that no one can watch it.”

See the list of winners for the 38th Indie Spirit Awards here — all falling under Film Independent’s newly raised budget cap of $30 million.

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 4: Ke Huy Quan attends the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards on March 4, 2023 in Santa Monica, California.  (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Ke Huy Quan at the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Getty Images

For the first time this year, Film Independent has selected gendered acting categories, with 10 contenders for Best Actor. “We don’t care about meaningless binaries like male and female,” Minhaj said. “We only care about important binaries like lead or support. Now, for the first time, all the men know how women feel when they find out they’re competing with Cate Blanchett.”

“TÁR” star Blanchett (who most recently won an Indie Spirit and Oscar for “Blue Jasmine”) and Oscar rival Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) squared off as other best actress nominee Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”) and best actor Oscar nominee Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”).

In the end, as expected, a tearful Yeoh took home the big win in the Oscar voting, where the Best Actress race is too close to call. He thanked A24 for believing in “Daniels’ masterpiece” and Scheinert and Kwan “for writing such an incredible script that gave us the opportunity to be seen, to be heard.

Neon CEO Tom Quinn at the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Anne Thompson

With seven overall Spirit wins, A24’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once” won every category it could — Academy Award nominee Ke Huy Quan won Best Supporting Actor, beating out nine men and women, including his actress, the SAG Award-winning supporting actor and Oscar nominee. Jamie Lee Curtis.

Quan emphasized the family nature of the “EEAAO” film set. “We never felt like we were working for anybody,” he said. The film also won Best Feature, Best Director (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), Editing and Screenplay, which Scheinert said was “particularly scary to read.” In the best breakthrough performance category, Stephanie Hsu, the Oscar nominee’s first solo award, also received an expected award, he said.

Daniel Kwan urged the indie film community to look to the future. “It’s an opportunity when things are shaking and it’s getting stormy and there’s cracks in the foundations,” he said, “that’s the best time to plant seeds.” Our task is not only to adapt to the future, but also to actively dream of the kind of future we want to rewrite and the kind of future we want to work and live in. I just encourage everyone to think really big. What we do here will flow upwards into the rest of the industry. We have a very special power. It feels like a weakness because what we do is so small and scrappy. This makes us flexible. This allows us to advance in ways that the rest of the industry cannot. And I encourage you all to plant some seeds. Now. Ma.Think about how we can make a movie set more family-friendly and people-centered? How can we make a film set more environmentally friendly? But let’s really dig. Now is the time to do it. And the people in this room—producers, directors, actors—you are the ones who want to dictate how these things happen. It’s not just the stories we tell them, but the way we do it. Let’s try to do it together.”

With seven Spirit nominations, “TÁR” had to settle for Best Cinematography, which writer-director Todd Field accepted.

Claire Foy and Rooney Mara at the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Anne Thompson

Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking” (UA release) was the noted winner of the Robert Altman Award for Best Cast, Director and Casting Director of a Motion Picture, which did not receive any other acting awards. “Women talk,” Polley joked, referring to host Mark Wahlberg at the SAG Awards. She credited her late mother, Diane Polley, who was a casting director, for influencing her brother, Johnny, who was the casting director for “Women Talking.”

“This group of people supported and supported each other and worked as a collective,” he said of the ensemble. “They honestly changed how I feel about the world and what we are capable of as human beings. And I’m so proud to be standing here with you.” As for the Oscars, Polley is a very likely contender for Best Adapted Screenplay.

On the best international film front, none of Spirit’s nominees made it to the Oscars, the winner was Pakistan’s “Joyland,” which will finally be released in April. On the other hand, the Best Documentary Award for Laura Poitras’ “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” (Neon) cemented the film’s Oscar-winning status. Poitras thanked artist/activist Nan Goldin for her “collaboration and trust” and for showing her that “the role of the artist is to change society and how we understand the world we live in.”

“EO” director Jerzy Skolimowski at the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Anne Thompson

Among the Spirit winners who could play a role in future Oscar races, Emily, the crime writer-director John Patton Ford won best first screenplay for his low-budget film, thanking star Aubrey Plaza for agreeing to shoot in 20 days in August shoot the film. for zero money, he said.

As expected, Charlotte Wells’ “Aftersun,” starring Mescal in the running for the best actor Oscar, won best first performance. And when Nikyatu Jusu won the Someone to Watch award for ‘Nanny’, he said: ‘I am very happy that ‘Aftersun’ was not nominated in this category. He beat my ass all season.”

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