‘Past Lives,’ ‘American Fiction’ win at 2024 Film Independent Spirit Awards

“Beef,” “American Fiction” and “The Holdovers” won big at this year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards, a star-packed beachside event honoring indie movies and television shows.

The awards, presented Sunday in a massive tent near Santa Monica Beach and Pier, honored the best independent films and television series of 2023. Celine Song’s meditative cross-continental drama “Past Lives” took home the award for best feature, while the road-rage dramedy “Beef,” a miniseries on Netflix, won best new scripted series on television.

Most of the show was disrupted by a group of protesters chanting “Free Palestine,” “Long live Palestine” and “Cease-fire now” near the event. The protesters gathered on the public beach outside the actual show tent, but the chants were audible during the live broadcast, which was streamed on YouTube via IMDb. Security personnel did not appear to interfere with the protesters, according to video footage posted to social media.

The show’s host, Aidy Bryant, drew cheers on social media for her monologue on Sunday night. She showed no trouble roasting celebrities, including a notable moment when she called Natalie Portman a “stupid b—h.” The audience (and Portman) laughed at the quip, which Bryant used again to roast Sterling K. Brown, Charles Melton and Greta Lee. Bryant also touched on issues such as the dual Hollywood strikes that shut down much of the film industry for a stretch of 2023.

“Speaking of the strike, is everyone getting coffee with the people you ran into on the picket line?” she said. “Because you have to.”

Jeffrey Wright took home best lead performance for his role as a frustrated Black author who pens a stereotype-laden pseudonymous novel in “American Fiction.” Wright gave a heartfelt acceptance speech, reminiscing about how he met Muhammed Ali when he attended the Independent Spirit Awards in 1997.

Nick Offerman won the award for best supporting performance in a new scripted series for his appearance on an episode of “The Last of Us.” The episode, titled “Long, Long Time,” centered on Offerman’s character Bill and his partner Frank (Murray Bartlett) adjusting to a post-apocalyptic world.

“Thanks to HBO for having the guts to participate in this storytelling tradition that is truly independent,” Offerman said, using his speech to address critics of the episode’s focus on a gay relationship. “Stories with guts, that’s when homophobic hate comes my way and says, ‘Why did you have to make it a gay story?’ We say, ‘Because you ask questions like that.’ It’s not a gay story. It’s a love story, you a——.”

The 2024 awards show also featured a new category in best breakthrough performance. Dominic Sessa won for his role in “The Holdovers” on the film side and Keivonn Montreal Woodard won for his appearance in “The Last of Us” on the television side.

The Spirit Awards also featured several of this year’s Oscar contenders among its nominees and presenters, including Brown, Lee, Colman Domingo and the Spirit Awards honorary chair Lily Gladstone. Each year, the awards are voted on by Film Independent’s filmmakers, industry leaders and cinema fans.

Here’s the complete list of Spirit Award winners:

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Best Feature

“Past Lives”

Best First Feature

“A Thousand and One”

John Cassavetes Award

“Fremont”

Best Director

Celine Song, “Past Lives”

Best Screenplay

Cord Jefferson, “American Fiction”

Best First Screenplay

Samy Burch, Alex Mechanik, “May December”

Best Lead Performance

Jeffrey Wright, “American Fiction”

Best Supporting Performance

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers”

Best Breakthrough Performance

Dominic Sessa, “The Holdovers”

Best Documentary

“Four Daughters”

Best International Film

“Anatomy of a Fall”

Best Editing

Daniel Garber, “How to Blow Up a Pipeline”

Best Cinematography

Eigil Bryld, “The Holdovers”

Robert Altman Award

“Showing Up”

Television

Best New Scripted Series

“Beef”

Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series

“Dear Mama”

Best Lead Performance

Ali Wong, “Beef”

Best Supporting Performance

Nick Offerman, “The Last of Us”

Best Breakthrough Performance

Keivonn Montreal Woodard, “The Last of Us”

Best Ensemble Cast

“Jury Duty”

Emerging Filmmaker Awards

Producers Award

Monique Walton

Someone to Watch Award

Monica Sorelle, “Mountains”

Truer than Fiction Award

Set Hernandez, “Unseen”

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