The 34th Film Independent Spirit Awards, which airs live on the IFC cable channel at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT this Saturday with Aubrey Plaza as host, is likely to be more indie than it has been recently. Consider that in the past decade, the Spirit Award for Best Feature has agreed with the Academy Award’s Best Picture winner five times: “The Artist” (2011), “12 Years a Slave” (2013), “Birdman” (2014), “Spotlight” (2015) and “Moonlight” (2016).
But there is no way that is happening this year. Why? None of the Spirit nominees –“Eighth Grade,”“First Reformed,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Leave No Trace” and “You Were Never Really Here” — are up for an Oscar. That is quite a shift, given that every Spirit winner for the past nine years has at least been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. (“Roma,” which is considered the likeliest title to claim Oscar’s biggest prize, is considered a shoo-in for a Best International Film Spirit honor.)
The two Spirit categories that are most likely to coincide with Oscar’s choice is Glenn Close winning Best Female Lead for “The Wife” and Regina King grabbing the gold as Best Supporting Female for “If Beale Street Could Talk.” King’s film and its director, Barry Jenkins – both snubbed by the academy — are favorites in the combined Gold Derby Spirit odds of Experts, Editors and Users.
An independent spirit also describes the informal mood of the ceremony that is held the day before the Oscars in a beachfront tent next to Santa Monica Pier. Follow along with us as the Indie Spirits are handed out (all times are ET).
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5 p.m. Host Aubrey Plaza does a cold opening and attempts to conjure the spirit the Independent Film Spirit Awards spirits with a coven of indie queens including Rosanna Arquette, Marissa Tomei and Marsha Gay Harden as they reject the Hollywood mainstream and sacrifice a virgin. Yes, there was blood.
5:05 p.m. Plaza, minus the blood, welcomes everyone to a celebration of “films that are too important to see. She adds, “The network’s first choice to host was no one but they are already booked for tomorrow, so you got me.”
5:08 p.m. Says Plaza: “Glenn Close is here with ‘The Wife.’ She’s not the only one with the wife. My dad is here.”
5:11 p.m. Plaza then notes that it is the 50th anniversary of John Waters‘ first feature film, ‘Mondo Trasho.’ He is actually directing the show. Woods says TV is like “Bohemian Rhapsody” — it has no director, either.
5:14 p.m. Glenn Close is the first presenter and she says it is her Spirit Awards ceremony. She is rocking a suit that looks like it is made out of pink aluminum. She gives the Best Supporting Male award to Richard E. Grant for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” The Gold Derby-ites overwhelmingly backed him to win. We will have to see if this means he has any chance to beat Mahershala Ali in “Green Book” at the Oscars.
5:17 p.m. The “Someone to Watch” pre-show award is handed out by Bryan Tyree Henry and it goes to Alex Moratto for “Socrates.”
5:20 p.m. LaKeith Stanfield of “Sorry to Bother You” and Finn Wolfhard of “Stranger Things” present the Best First Screenplay award to Bo Burham for “Eighth Grade.” “He says his leading lady Elsie Fisher is the reason he is receiving his honor.
5:34 p.m. Jon Hamm, bland in a light gray sport coat, and Toni Collette, pretty in pink, present the John Cassavetes Award given to the creative team of a film with a budget under $500,000 dollars. It goes to “En El Septimo Dia.”
5:45 p.m. Kiki Layne introduces Best Feature Film nominee”If Beale Street Could Talk,” and the camera briefly focuses on a rather intense Barry Jenkins, the film’s nominated director.
5:48 p.m. Molly Shannon introduces “a female icon, Bonnie Tapurzo Caputo, the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline.” The Bonnie Award, that is given to a female director in her prime, goes to Debra Granik of “Leave No Trace.” Cited is her eye for talent including Vera Farmiga in “Down to the Bone,” Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone” and Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie in “Leave No Trace.” Shannon adds, “She cares about the characters live in the shadows and outside of society.”
5:50 p.m. Granik gets the first standing O of the afternoon. “This is just a huge love bomb. I am encouraged to be in a tent with people who like to fly with women.”
6: p.m. Gemma Chan of “Captain Marvel” and Tessa Thompson of “Thor: Ragnorak” present Best International Film, a category that pits Oscar faves “Roma” and “The Favourite” against one another. And “Roma,” gets it. Alfonso Cuaron previously won the honor for 2001’s “Y Tu Mama Tambien.”
6:05 p.m. The pre-show Truer Than Fiction award goes to Bing Liu for his doc “Minding the Gap,” which mined 12 years of footage showing him and his two skateboarding friends as they struggle with becoming men.
6:12 p.m. Regina Hall and Riley Keough give out the award for “the unsung heroes of the film world” — film editors. The Film Editing award goes to Jo Bini for “You Were Never Really Here.”
6:15 p.m. A very blond Carey Mulligan of “Wildlife” delivers Best First Feature. A surprise — “Sorry to Bother You” upstages “Hereditary,” the Gold Derby choice. Writer-director Boots Riley based his film on his experience as a telemarketer.
6:18 p.m. Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie introduces “Leave No Trace,” about a war vet father suffering with PTSD and daughter who live off the grid.
6:22 p.m. Armie Hammer gives the Robert Altman Award to Luca Guadagnino, his “Call Me By Your Name” director for his remake of Dario Argento‘s ’70s ballet-themed horror film, “Suspiria.” A parade of beautiful women, including star Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton.
6:30 p.m. The black drag queen version of Aubrey Plaza with a chorus line of shirtless guys belts a story that incorporates song titles. Because, why not?
6: 35 p.m. Mark Duplass joins Ray Romano onstage, who are chagrined by being upstaged by the Amazonian version of the host. They are promoting an intentionally bad job of ad-libbing while promoting their ad-libbed project “Paddleton.” The fact is they are handing out Best Documentary. The Spirit goes to “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” the Mr. Rogers doc that Oscar shunned. Director Morgan Neville previously won a Spirit for 2013’s “20 Feet From Stardom.” He calls for more radical kindness in the world, the kind that the children’s TV show host believed in.
6:40 p.m. Elsie Fisher adorably introduces her breakout hit “Eighth Grade,” which is represented by her character taking her dad to task for being “weird and quiet.”
6: 45 p.m. Speaking of adorable, Sterling K. Brown of “Black Panther” and Bryan Tyree Henry of “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Brown teases him for calling out “white people doing crazy shit” in the opening bit. They get the honor to reward the Best Supporting Female. And, yes, as expected the award goes to his co-star, Regina King, for her fierce mother in “Beale Street.” “To receive this for those two men right there. …”
6:55 p.m. Ekaterina Samsonov, the young girl in “You Were Never Really Here,” who introduces a clip from the Best Feature nominee, admits she didn’t know who Joaquin Phoenix was before they acted together.
7:00 p.m. Viggo Mortensen of “Green Book” walks out to healthy applause. He is tasked with handing out the Spirit for Best Screenplay. Again, Derby odds favored “First Reformed,” but “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” takes it instead. Winners Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty call up their director Marielle Heller to share their prize for the biopic of Lee Israel, a desperate writer who traffics in forgery.
7:10 p.m. Laura Dern is in the house, and she gets double duty. First, Best Cinematography. It goes to Sayombhu Mukdeeprom for “Suspiria,” who isn’t in the house. He won last year for “Call Me By Your Name.” As for Best Director, it goes as expected to Barry Jenkins. He humbly says, “With everything going on in the world, it just feels strange to be up here.” He also makes the case that considering 60% of his category were women, there should be an effort to hire more females behind the camera.
7:15 p.m. The pre-show Producers Award goes to Shrihari Sathe.
7:20 p.m. Taraji P. Henson says she wants to “gush” about some very special men up for Best Male Lead, but she lets the clips of their performances speak for themselves. The trophy goes to Ethan Hawke, the Gold Derby fave by far, for his minister in “First Reformed.” Seyfrieg accepts on her co-star’s behalf.
7:25 p.m. Javier Bardem and “Roma’s” Yalitza Aparicio get to give present the Best Female Lead as Bardem sings her praises as a first-time actress. She says she is honored to present with him in Spanish and the feeling is mutual. And it is Yalitza who gets to say those wonderful words, “Glenn Close,” for ‘”he Wife.”She brings her cute white dog, Pippi, on the the stage, explaining, “He’s my date.” Thus, Close is one step closer to getting the big one.
7:28 p.m. “Pippi the dog just scored a three-picture deal at Amazon,” quips Plaza. Michael Keaton, who has been Batman and Birdman is now “final presenter man.” He gives props to Rami Malek’s teeth in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which have not been properly acknowledged during the awards season. Eventually, he gets to his task at hand. The five Best Picture nominees. And the Spirit goes to …. “If Beale Street Could Talk,” again a much-anticipated win.