‘Moonlight’ Sweeps Film Independent Spirit Awards, Isabelle Huppert Adds Another Win


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Moonlight swept the 32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards today going 5/5 of its nominations (Feature, Director, Screenplay, Editing and Cinematography) plus its juried Robert Altman Award for the cast and casting director. That total breaks the record for the decade, previously set by Spotlight just last year. That film won the exact same awards, save Cinematography, and then went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars the next day. Four of the last five winners of the Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature have won the Oscar. Moonlight is up for eight Oscars tomorrow, including all that it won today plus two acting nominations, one for Mahershala Ali in Supporting Actor and one for Naomie Harris in Supporting Actress.

French legend Isabelle Huppert added another trophy to her mantle, having picked up the César yesterday and the Golden Globe last month for her performance in Elle. “Good cinema is always independent,” she said, adding “Independence makes art win.” She is Oscar-nominated for her performance and is a dark horse at tomorrow’s Academy Awards. Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) won Male Lead, making a half-hearted anti-administration speech at the podium (“The policies of this administration are abhorrent and will not last”).

The most spirited win and speech went to Supporting Female winner Molly Shannon (Other People) who extolled the virtures of indie spirit storytelling, got serious for a moment about the plight of cancer victims and ended with a quick tribute to her most popular Saturday Night Live character, Mary Katherine Gallagher, with a ‘SUPERSTAR!’ pose. Ben Foster (Hell or High Water) surprised, winning Supporting Male and the John Cassevetes Award (given to films made for under $500,000) went to Andrew Ahn for Spa Night, whose heartfelt speech included “Thanks to my parents for understanding that their gay Korean-American son is their son.”

Robert Eggers picked up both ‘First’ awards; First Feature and First Screenplay for The Witch. Maren Ade won the International Film award for her Oscar-nominated Toni Erdmann and expressed her happiness at being “proud to stand here as a female director.”

The most-nominated film of the day, American Honey, went home 0/6 but director Andrea Arnold got a shout out from Barry Jenkins during his Best Director speech.

The ceremony was hosted by John Mulvaney and Nick Kroll who took potshots at everyone from Donald Trump to Samuel L. Jackson.

Here is the full list of winners:

Best Feature

Best Director
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Best First Feature
The Witch

Best Male Lead
Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

Best Female Lead
Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

Best Supporting Male
Ben Foster (Hell or High Water)

Best Supporting Female
Molly Shannon (Other People)

Best Screenplay

Best First Screenplay
The Witch

Best International Film
Toni Erdmann

Best Documentary Feature
O.J.: Made in America

Best Cinematography

Best Editing

John Cassavetes Award
Spa Night

Robert Altman Award

Piaget Producers Award
Jordana Mollick

Truer Than Fiction Award
Nanfu Wang (Holligan Sparrow)

Someone to Watch Award
Anna Rose Holmer (The Fits)

Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson is the founder/owner and Editor-in-Chief of AwardsWatch and has always loved all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards since he was in single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself in film school and the film forums of GoldDerby, and then migrated over to the former Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), before breaking off to create AwardsWatch in 2013. He is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, accredited by the Cannes Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and more, is a member of the International Cinephile Society (ICS), The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics (GALECA), Hollywood Critics Association (HCA) and the International Press Academy. Among his many achieved goals with AwardsWatch, he has given a platform to underrepresented writers and critics and supplied them with access to film festivals and the industry and calls the Bay Area his home where he lives with his husband and son.

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