Indie Spirits Awards 2016: ‘Spotlight’ sweeps on way to Oscars; ‘Beasts of No Nation’ & ‘Room’ take 2 each

2016 Indie Spirits Awards show preview

 As we predicted, “Spotlight” was the big winner at the Indie Spirit Awards on Saturday afternoon. It won all four of its bids — Best Picture, Best Director (Tom McCarthy), Best Screenplay and Best Editing — and the cast was feted with the Robert Altman award for Best Ensemble as well. The film is also a major contender at Sunday’s Oscars, but the academy is only expected to award it Best Original Screenplay. (See the complete list of winners here.)

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Following with two wins apiece at the 31st annual edition of these kudos were “Beasts of No Nation” and “Room.” “Beasts” had five nominations, including Best Picture and the groundbreaking Netflix drama took home both Best Actor (Abraham Attah) and Best Supporting Actor (Idris Elba). “Room” won two of its three bids:  Best Actress (Brie Larson) and Best First Screenplay. Larson is far ahead to repeat in this race at the Oscars. 

Four films took one award each. “Carol,” the most nominated film with six Spirit bids, claimed Best Cinematography. In an upset, Mya Taylor (“Tangerine”) won Best Supporting Actress over Jennifer Jason Leigh who was contending her voicework in “Anomalisa.” “Son of Saul,” the Oscar frontrunner for Foreign-Language Film, won Best International Feature. And “Diary of a Teenage Girl” was named Best First Feature.

Last year,  “Birdman” prevailed in three of its six races: Best Picture, Best Actor (Michael Keaton) and Best Cinematography. It repeated for film and lensing at the Oscars. Its main Oscar rival, “Boyhood,” won only Best Director (Richard Linklater) and Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette). While Arquette repeated at the Oscars, Linklater lost to “Birdman” helmer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Best Actress at both awards went to  Julianne Moore (“Still Alice“)  while  J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash“) picked up both Supporting Actor prizes. 

In 2013, “12 Years a Slave” won Best Picture here first as did all four Oscar acting champs — leads Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club“) and Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine“) and supporting players Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Lupita Nyongo (“12 Years a Slave”).

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Spotlight” (Open Road)

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