By John H. Foote
On the eve of the Academy Awards, each year on a beach under a tent, the Independent Spirit Awards are handed out for excellence in independent cinema. The film must have been made for less than $25 million, and these awards have helped further the art of “indie” cinema, drawing attention to the smaller films that might not otherwise find an audience.
Lulu Wang’s fine film The Farewell, snubbed by the Academy, was named Best Picture, also winning Best Supporting Actress for Zhao Shuzhen who could not attend, grounded in China with the virus.
In the evening’s most popular award, Adam Sandler won Best Actor for his electrifying performance in Uncut Gems, which should have earned the comic an Oscar nomination. His speech was one of the high points of the night, earning great laughs and wild applause.
Renee Zellweger continued her march to the Oscars with another win for Judy, the Judy Garland film, truly a performance for the ages.
Laura Dern won Best Supporting Actress for Marriage Story, while Noah Baumbach won for his screenplay of the same film.
Willem Dafoe was a surprise winner for Best Supporting Actor in The Lighthouse, a performance many felt also should have earned attention from the Academy. The film, a surrealistic horror picture, also won the prize for Best Cinematography.
Parasite, the popular film from South Korea, took Best International Film honours, and Booksmart, the directorial debut of actress Olivia Wilde, won Best First Feature.
Tonight, awards season comes to an end with the Oscars. Anyone else going to be relieved?
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.