Spirit Awards: ‘Everything Everywhere’ wins record 7, including Best Picture

The Film Independent Spirit Awards took place on Saturday afternoon, March 4, during a ceremony that streamed live at 2:00 pm PT/5:00 pm ET on IMDb’s YouTube channel and Film Independent’s YouTube channel and Twitter page. Comedian Hasan Minhaj took on hosting duties. But who were the big winners? And were there many surprises? Scroll down for our live blog with all the winners and developments.

For these awards honoring the best in low-budget filmmaking, nominees are decided by committees made up of critics, programmers, producers, directors, writers, cinematographers, editors, and actors, along with Film Independent’s board of directors. But the winners are determined by the entire membership of Film Independent. Membership is open to the public, so anyone who pays the organization’s yearly dues can make their voice heard.

Everything Everywhere All at Once” came in as the top nominee with eight bids including Best Feature and Best Director (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert). Up for seven awards including those same two categories was the character study “TÁR.” Rounding out the list of Best Feature nominees were “Women Talking,” “Bones and All,” and “Our Father, The Devil.”

So do these awards usually reflect the Oscars? For a while they didn’t. In the first 26 years of the Spirit Awards, they only agreed with the Oscars on the best film once: “Platoon” (1986). But since 2011, as the motion picture academy has become more and more open to independent films, there has been much more overlap. “The Artist” (2011), “12 Years a Slave” (2013), “Birdman” (2014), “Spotlight” (2015), “Moonlight” (2016), and “Nomadland” (2020) prevailed at both events. And this year, if our consensus predictions hold true, the two groups will agree again on “Everything Everywhere.”

Follow along below to find out how everything shook out. (Times listed are Eastern.)

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5:03pm — “We’re doing this super independent. We don’t have a distributor,” jokes Hasan Minhaj at the start of the YouTube streaming ceremony. It’s not on IFC anymore. Instead, Minhaj tells us, IFC is airing “Semi-Pro.” The crowd sounds ambivalent.

5:07pm — Roasting “Bones and All” with a joke about Timothee Chalamet falling in love with cannibals, and “TÁR” with a common complaint about the film using South Asia as a fall from grace. Can’t tell how well this is going over in the room. Then a segment about Deadline being a terrible media outlets. Can’t decide if this is edgy or mean.

5:17pmAubrey Plaza announces Best Supporting Performance, and she’s getting the audience to chant, “Drink glass!” as she ribs the ceremony for not having a TV outlet. I think she has the audience more than Minhaj did. She presents the award, as expected, to Ke Huy Quan for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Gold Derby’s odds predicted that the film would sweep all of its seven categories today, so it’s off to a good start. Quan continues to steamroll over the competition this season. He won Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and SAG Awards, among many others. His only major loss this season was at the BAFTAs, where Barry Keoghan (“Banshees of Inisherin”) upset. But it looks like he’s still the overwhelming favorite for the Oscar.

5:22pmW. Kamau Bell presents Best Documentary to “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.” This was also an outcome we were predicting, though it might have a tougher challenge at the Oscars where it faces Directors Guild winner “Fire of Love” and Producers Guild and BAFTA winner “Navalny,” neither of which was nominated here. This is director Laura Poitras‘s second Spirit Award, following her victory for “Citizenfour.”

5:28pmStephanie Hsu and Jodie Turner Smith present Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series, starting us off on the TV prizes, which are a relatively recent addition to the Spirit Awards, which were previously just cinematic. The award goes to Ayo Edebiri for “The Bear.” She was also nominated for her performance at the Gotham Awards and Critics Choice Awards, and she looks to be a major Emmy contender this summer and fall.

5:33pm — An international duo, Melanie Lynskey and Paul Mescal, present Best International Film to “Joyland” in the day’s first major upset. The film ranked fourth in our predictions under front-runner “Saint Omer,” “Return to Seoul,” and “Corsage.” But this award will have no bearing or influence on the Oscars as there are no films in common between the Spirit Awards’ International film category and the Oscars’.

5:37pmSharon Horgan presents Best First Screenplay to John Patton Ford for “Emily the Criminal,” a film that’s also up for Best First Feature, Best Lead Performance (Aubrey Plaza), and Best Supporting Performance (Theo Rossi).

5:41pmJamie Lee Curtis presents Best Screenplay to a couple of familiar faces, her writers-directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” That’s the second win for the film in its second category, so it still has its sights on a record-breaking clean sweep. It defeated a couple of Oscar-nominated scripts, “TÁR” and “Women Talking,” as well as “After Yang” and “Catherine Called Birdy.”

5:54pm — Following Hasan Minhaj chasing Cate Blanchett and Todd Field under a table in pursuit of a bit, Jenny Slate and Nicholas Braun present Best New Scripted Series to “The Bear,” giving it a second victory today. It overtook a few critically acclaimed dramas, “Pachinko,” “Severance,” “Station Eleven,” and “The Porter.”

6:00pm — The Truer Than Fiction Award goes to Reid Davenport for “I Didn’t See You There.” The award honors a nonfiction film by emerging talent. In the film, Davenport explored his own life as navigated from his wheelchair.

6:06pmSheryl Lee Ralph presents Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series to “The Rehearsal,” Nathan Fielder‘s series in which he helps people rehearse for their own lives. It stood out against the darker docs it was up against, “Children of the Underground,” “Mind Over Murder,” and “We Need to Talk About Cosby.”

6:13pmHaley Lu Richardson and Adam Brody present Best Editing to Paul Rogers for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” That’s the third victory for the film today. He overtook his Oscars rival Monika Willi for “TÁR.” We were predicting his victory here, and he’s also the front-runner to win the Oscar for Best Film Editing on March 12. There he faces “Top Gun: Maverick,” which isn’t nominated here because it’s decidedly not an independent film.

6:17pm — Michaela Jae Rodriguez and Joel Kim Booster present Best Cinematography to Florian Hoffmeister for “TÁR.” This is the first win that film at these awards. Hoffmeister is also nominated for his lensing at the Oscars, where he faces much-bigger-budget films including “Elvis” and “All Quiet on the Western Front.”

6:21pm — The Someone to Watch Award goes to Nikyatu Jusu for “The Nanny,” defeating Adamma Ebo (“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.”) and Araceli Lemos (“Holy Emy”). The award goes to an emerging filmmaker, and it has previously gone to filmmakers like Marc Forster, Lynn Shelton, Ramin Bahrani, and Shaka King.

6:24pmDanielle Deadwyler and Jeremy Pope present Best Breakthrough Performance to Stephanie Hsu for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” This was another expected win for the film, which faced tough competition from Frankie Corio (“Aftersun”) and Gotham winner Gracija Filipovic (“Murina”). Hsu was the only nominee in this category nominated for an Oscar for her performance, so she was the big fish in this pond.

6:38pm — The Producer Award, which comes with a $25,000 grant, goes to an emerging independent film producer, and this year honors Tory Lenosky, whose work has included “Keep the Lights On,” “The Happy Sad,” and “Resurrection,” the last of which received a Critics Choice Super Award nomination for lead actress Rebecca Hall.

6:53pmKevin Bacon presents Best First Feature to “Aftersun” by writer-director Charlotte Wells. This was another anticipated win as the film has crossed over from indie film darling to Oscar nominee for Paul Mescal’s lead performance. It overtook “Emily the Criminal,” “The Inspection,” “Murina,” and “Palm Trees and Power Lines,” all of which are multiple nominees at today’s show.

6:58pmTaylour Paige and Troy Kotsur present the John Cassavetes Award for ultra-low-budget filmmaking (produced for under $1 million) to “The Cathedral,” which has additional nominations today for Best Editing and Brian d’Arcy James‘s supporting performance. Made for $200,000, the film also earned a Gotham Award nomination for Best Feature last fall.

7:03pm — Oscar champs Chloe Zhao and Sian Heder present Best Director to, you guessed it, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Schinert for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” It’s the fifth win for the film, which has two more nominations today for Best Lead Performance and Best Feature. Kwan and Scheinert recently won the DGA Award for their work on the film, and they’re the front-runners to win the Oscar.

7:09pmMolly Shannon presents Best Lead Performance in a New Scripted Series to Quinta Brunson for “Abbott Elementary.” The series was also up for Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series. Brunson also recently won a Golden Globe for her performance. She won an Emmy for her writing on the show. And she won a SAG Award as a member of her “Abbott” ensemble cast. Now in its second season, the show keeps building its buzz, and stands a good chance of winning Best Comedy Series at the next Emmys.

7:14pmMaggie Gyllenhaal presents Best Lead Performance to Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), which makes it six out of six wins for the film with one to go. This was another matchup against Cate Blanchett (“TAR”), and the two have split the awards fairly evenly. Both won Golden Globes in separate Best Actress categories. Then Blanchett won Critics Choice and BAFTA Awards. Now Yeoh has won SAG and Spirit Awards. The momentum going towards the Oscars seems to be Yeoh’s, but it still looks like a pretty even battle heading into the home stretch. But Oscar voting takes place right now, so getting Yeoh up on another stage accepting a trophy definitely doesn’t hurt.

7:19pmJulia Louis-Dreyfus presents Best Feature, as if there were any doubt, to “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which completes a historic clean sweep of all seven of its categories. This is the most Spirit Awards any film has ever won. It beat its Oscar rivals “TÁR” and “Women Talking,” though it didn’t have to face big-budget Oscar contenders “Top Gun: Maverick” or “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Still, the Oscars and the Spirits have been on the same wavelength many times before, agreeing six times in the last 11 years.

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