Oscar History

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Review: Beauty & The Beast (2017)

"I found much of this version charming, diverting and moving. But it's not a patch on the 1991 masterpiece" -Ian O

"I begrudge the decision of executives when it comes to casting a movie like this. They didn't need a 'star' to fill the seats. They needed someone who could elevate the material..." -Jones


Ritesh Batra (Sense of an Ending)
Céline Sciamma (My Life as a Zucchini)
Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman)

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« "Elle" Wins the César | Main | Last Minute Drama: Oscar Nomination Rescinded »

A Clean Sweep for "Moonlight" at the Spirit Awards

Moonlight won in every category it was nominated in yesterday in Spirit Award's big tent. That was five prizes as well as a sixth (non-competitive) with their annual Robert Altman award honoring great ensembles. Smartly the prize goes not just to the cast but the director and the casting director. The A24 hit won't be quite that lucky tonight at the Oscars but hopefully it won't go home empty-handed either.

a moment between Mahershala Ali and The Bening at the Spirit Awards

History is full of wonderful films that had big nights at the Spirits as their last hurrah before Oscar shut-outs or Screenplay- only wins (The Wrestler, Far From Heaven, Sideways come to mind). But if you'd like to maintain hope that Moonlight takes Best Picture tonight at the Oscars there is always this factoid: The Spirit Awards Best Film winner has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture four out of six times this decade: The Artist (2011), 12 Years a Slave (2013), Birdman (2014), and Spotlight (2015)

The winners list as well as videos of some moments under that famous tent after the jump.

Best Feature

Best Director

  • Andrea Arnold (American Honey)
  • ★ Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
  • Pablo Larrain (Jackie)
  • Jeff Nichols (Loving)
  • Kelly Reichardt (Certain Women)

Best First Feature


Best Male Lead

  • ★ Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
  • David Harewood (Free in Deed)
  • Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
  • Jesse Plemons (Other People)
  • Tim Roth (Chronic)

Best Female Lead

  • Annette Bening (20th Century Women)
  • ★  Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
  • Sasha Lane (American Honey)
  • Ruth Negga (Loving)
  • Natalie Portman (Jackie)

I'm still trying to figure out how Huppert was eligible for this as they generally don't allow foreign films nomination outside of foreign film. And this is the one place Annette Bening might have been able to pick up a prize for her career best work. (Sigh). At least history will be on our side when 20th Century Women ages superbly and everyone will be all like "how come people didn't shower it with awards back then?" 


Best Supporting Male

  • Ralph Fiennes (A Bigger Splash)
  • ★ Ben Foster (Hell or High Water)
  • Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)
  • Shia LaBeouf (American Honey)
  • Craig Robinson (Morris from America)

With Mahershala Ali and Jeff Bridges (from his own film) not nominated, Ben Foster finally got a chance to shine!

Best Supporting Female

  • Edwina Findley (Free in Deed)
  • Paulina Garcia (Little Men)
  • Lily Gladstone (Certain Women)
  • Riley Keough (American Honey)
  • ★ Molly Shannon (Other People)

Best Screenplay

  • Hell or High Water
  • Little Men
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • ★ Moonlight
  • 20th Century Women

Best First Screenplay

  • Barry
  • Christine
  • Jean of the Joneses
  • Other People
  • ★ The Witch

It's a big surprising that Other People lost this, given that it comes across as such a writer's movie. But as you know I am a huge fan of The Witch so I'm not complaining. 

Best International Film

So sad that Aquarius lost but it was to be expected. Toni Erdmann was most definitely the highest profile nominee as well as as showered with awards this year (see the EFA triumph and lots of critics prizes)

Best Documentary Feature

I remain so disappointed that not one movie awards groups called ESPN out on their shell game trying to pass off a TV miniseries as a movie. What's to stop all deep pocketed networks from four walling movie theaters for a week now to make all their TV shows and series movie award eligible?

Best Cinematography

  • American Honey - Robbie Ryan
  • Childhood of a Leader -Lol Crawley
  • Free in Deed - Ava Berkofsky
  • Eyes of My Mother - Zach Kuperstein
  • ★ Moonlight - James Laxton

Best Editing

  • Hell or High Water - Jake Roberts 
  • Jackie - Sebastian Sepulveda
  • Manchester by the Sea - Jennifer Lame
  • ★ Moonlight - Joe McMillion & Nat Sanders
  • Swiss Army Man - Matthew Hannam 

Nat Sanders previously edited the great Short Term 12 so he's gifted with shaping performances by kids and teenagers. Joi McMillon is the first black woman to win for editing here at the Spirits and the first black female editing nominee ever at the Oscars.

John Cassavetes Award

  • Free in Deed
  • Hunter Gatherer
  • Lovesong
  • Nakom
  • ★ Spa Night

This category is for low budget features (anything under $500,000)

Robert Altman Award

  • ★ Moonlight (this ensemble prize goes to the director, cast, and casting director so all the Chirons and all the Kevins are rewarded plus Mahershara Ali and Naomie Harris)

Piaget Producers Award

  • Lisa Kjerulff (she produced The Fits and Americana)
  • ★ Jordana Mollick (she produced Night Owls and Hello My Name is Doris)
  • Melody C. Roscher (she produced Christine)
  • Craig Shilowich (he also produced Christine)

Truer Than Fiction Award

  • Kristi Jacobson (Solitary)
  • Sara Jordeno (Kiki)
  • ★ Nanfu Wang (Hooligan Sparrow)

Someone to Watch Award

  • Andrew Ahn (Spa Night)
  • Claire Carre (Embers)
  • ★ Anna Rose Holmer (The Fits)
  • Ingrid Jungermann (Women Who Kill)


Longtime friends Barry Jenkins (Director) & James Laxton (Cinematographer) with their Spirit Awards for Moonlight

Moonlight's dominance was completely understandable so it's nice that they found a way to honor a breakthrough like The Witch as well as true micro-indies like Spa Night and The Fits, too. But a moment of silence please for Andrea Arnold's sun drenched polarizing beauty American Honey which led the nominations but lost every category.

And that's a wrap for another year of the Spirits. 

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Reader Comments (14)

Hooray for Molly Shannon! Most underlooked performance of the year

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterParanoid Android

In a perfect world that would the Acting Oscar Winner line up tonight. Molly Shannon, that's the way you give a acceptance speech guuurrrrlll! (AND a supporting performance, are you listening Viola? The key world being: "SUPPORTING")

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

I am mystified by how they flew Isabelle Huppert just from France the other day and she still looks amazing! Hoping this win streak continues at the Oscar!! LMAO at the Bening's reaction to her win tho

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

Elated for MOONLIGHT and Isabelle! Hoping they see more gold tonight! <3

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

Really happy for Molly Shannon.

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDave S.

I believe Elle is eligible at the Spirit Awards for most categories except International because Paul Verhoeven is an American citizen.. they base the eligibility on the filmmaker's country of origin ( and also how much of the film was financed by American funds and or how much of the film is shot in America.. i.e. American Honey)

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered Commenteranon

I haven't been following the Spirit Awards,
but I'm shocked that Anya Taylor-Joy didn't get a nom - either in Supporting or Lead - for the VVitch;
she gave a better performance in that movie than
any of the nominated...

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

Great speeches and winners. I'm done.
(Still watching the Oscars just in case, though.)

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Oh, and this from the horse's mouth: "Toni Erdmann isn't a comedy, it's a drama." (Maren Ade's acceptance speech)

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

My beloved Spa Night got some joy. Yes! Also excited for Molly Shannon, Ben Foster, The Witch and Moonlight.

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Rats, James Laxton is straight. He's a really cute Bear.

Congratulations, pretty people!

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Can we please have Molly Shannon give all the award show acceptance speeches?

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay

Lmaooo Annette's reaction #BitterBetty. Girl, get with the program. She probably had a shot, but if there are Oscar nominees in the category, specifically ones with any kind of awards heat, they win.

LOVED Molly Shannon's speech, and glad she won something for it.

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Even if Huppert wasn't nom, I doubt Bening wIll win, next in line wld be Portman. Her perf as Jackie is def more well liked n betta received compared to Bening's in 20CW.

Is Elle considered as an American co-production?? I was v puzzled when it missed out a nom at the International cat. It wld stand a good chance o winning had it been nom.

February 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

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