The Oscars may not have given out any awards to black people this weekend, but at least the Spirit Awards weren’t afraid to. In other news, the Razzies continue to be a pointless waste of time.
I’ve given the Spirit Awards plenty of grief in recent years. What should allegedly be a celebration of indie films that Oscar failed to recognize has, year after year, increasingly found itself rewarding the same group of movies that Oscar does, in many cases stretching (or outright breaking) the definition of “independent film” to do so. The fact that this year’s top prize went to ‘Spotlight’ at both ceremonies certainly speaks to that. Brie Larson also won Best Actress for ‘Room’ at both. However, at least those pictures were genuinely independently produced (though Spotlight is distributed by Universal), which is more than can be said for some past Spirit nominees.
More to the point, the Spirits found room this year to nominate a decidedly more diverse selection of films, including giving major trophies to the stars of ‘Tangerine’ and ‘Beasts of No Nation’ who were flagrantly snubbed by the Oscars. Transgendered performer Mya Taylor was even correctly named in the Supporting Actress category. These are the types of films the Spirits were originally designed for.
- Best Feature: ‘Spotlight’
- Best Director: Tom McCarthy, ‘Spotlight’
- Best Male Lead: Abraham Attah, ‘Beasts of No Nation’
- Best Female Lead: Brie Larson, ‘Room’
- Best Supporting Male: Idris Elba, ‘Beasts of No Nation’
- Best Supporting Female: Mya Taylor, ‘Tangerine’
- Best Screenplay: ‘Spotlight’
- Best Cinematography: ‘Carol’
- Best Editing: ‘Spotlight’
- Best Documentary: ‘The Look of Silence’
- Best International Film: ‘Son of Saul’
I can’t talk about the Razzie Awards without pointing to this great article that our blogger Shannon wrote about his time as a Razzie voter, and what a sad joke the nomination and voting process is.
Once again this year, the Razzies have merely piled-on to the lazy criticism of widely derided movies like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, ‘Fantastic Four’ and ‘Jupiter Ascending’. I don’t think you’ll get much disagreement that these are bad movies, but they’re easy targets.
I’ve actually seen some of ‘Fifty Shades’. (I couldn’t sit through the whole thing.) Make no mistake, it stinks. But that’s neither Dakota Johnson nor Jamie Dornan’s fault. The actors acquitted themselves about as well as anyone possibly could with the source material. Naming them Worst Actor and Worst Actress demonstrates a failure to understand what actually makes a movie like that bad.
Last year, in the interest of adding a smidge of positivity to the event, the Razzies created a new category called the “Redeemer Award” to celebrate former Razzie punching-bags who’d turned their careers around and done something good. (The first winner was Ben Affleck.) I’m sure that Sylvester Stallone will be happy to console himself with that in light of his Oscar loss.
- Worst Picture: ‘Fantastic Four’, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (tie)
- Worst Director: Josh Trank, ‘Fantastic Four’
- Worst Actor: Jamie Dornan, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’
- Worst Actress: Dakota Johnson, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’
- Worst Supporting Actor: Eddie Redmayne, ‘Jupiter Ascending’
- Worst Supporting Actress: Kaley Cuoco, ‘The Wedding Ringer’ and ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip’
- Worst Screenplay: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’
- Worst Screen Combo: Jamie Dornan & Dakota Johnson, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’
- Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel: ‘Fantastic Four’
- Razzie Redeemer Award: Sylvester Stallone, ‘Creed’