Indie Spirit Awards:  Moonlight Shines Bright Like a Diamond Taking Best Feature and Best Director

A24’s Moonlight outshined the competition at the 32nd Annual Spirit Awards in Santa Monica.  Moonlight Director took awards for Directing and Screenplay, with additional wins for editor James Lawton and in Editing.   The film also walked away with the honorary Robert Altman, which is given to Jenkins, the cast and producers.


Paving the way for almost imminent Oscar wins were Casey Affleck and Isabelle Huppert  in the top actor categories for Manchester By The Sea and Elle.  Huppert praised the spirit of independent film  saying that “Good cinema is always independent…I think it’s independence that makes art win.”

Award shows are generally full of politic rhetoric and speeches, but this year only Affleck spoke out blasting the current administration, stating, “The policies of this administration are abhorrent and they will not last…They’re really Un-American.  It’s a time to struggle for the future and the sould of our nation.”


Backstage after Moonlight’s win, Jenkins was asked about the currently political climate of America. “I’m pissed off, as I’m sure the majority of people in that hangar were pissed off.  I think Moonlight exists because of this beacon of inclusivity.  I’ve gotta tell my stories and speak my truth to power…I made this movie under a different administration, this space is not so safe.”

That sentiment was echoed when Andrew Ahn scored a John Cassavetes Award for Spa Night. “This film tells stories about people who are being marginzed…film is such a powerful tool in humanizing these communities…we are part of this great country.”  Ahn went on to thank his parents for accepting, loving and raising a Gay, Korean-American.


Breaking up the evening with a little humor was the energized Molly Shannon after winning for the cancer drama Other People ending her speech with her signature “Superstar” pose from her SNL-inspired character Mary Catherine Gallagher.



Here is a full list of the winners:

BEST FEATURE
Moonlight

Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski
BEST MALE LEAD
Casey Affleck

Manchester by the Sea
BEST FEMALE LEAD
Isabelle Huppert

Elle
BEST DIRECTOR
Barry Jenkins

Moonlight
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Molly Shannon

Other People
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD

(Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)
Moonlight

Director: Barry Jenkins

Casting Director: Yesi Ramirez

Ensemble Cast: Mahershala Ali, Patrick Decile, Naomie Harris, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
Toni Erdmann (Germany and Romania)

Director: Maren Ade
BEST SCREENPLAY
Moonlight

Barry Jenkins

Story By Tarell Alvin McCraney
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD

(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)
Spa Night

Writer/Director: Andrew Ahn

Producers: David Ariniello, Giulia Caruso, Ki Jin Kim, Kelly Thomas
BEST DOCUMENTARY
O.J.: Made In America

Director/Producer: Ezra Edelman

Producers: Nina Krstic, Tamara Rosenberg, Caroline Waterlow
BEST FIRST FEATURE
The Witch

Director: Robert Eggers

Producers: Daniel Bekerman, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Jodi Redmond, Rodrigo Teixeira
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Moonlight

James Laxton
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
The Witch

Robert Eggers
BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Ben Foster

Hell or High Water
BEST EDITING
Moonlight

Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders
PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD

(Honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.)
Jordana Mollick
TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD

(Presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.)
Nanfu Wang

Director of Hooligan Sparrow
KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD

(Recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.)
Anna Rose Holmer

Director of The Fits

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