2019 Independent Spirit Awards - If Beale Street Could Talk

The 2019 Spirit and Razzie Awards

Wrapping up the awards season hoopla, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Razzies both also handed out trophies this weekend. The Spirits did a decent job of offering concession prizes to movies that Oscar would pass over, while the Razzies remain difficult to care much about.

Spirit Awards

I think the assumption that Roma would win the Best Picture Oscar worked against the film at the Spirits, where it might have mopped up pretty easily under normal circumstances. The movie wasn’t even nominated in the Best Feature category, and had to content itself with Best International Film at this ceremony too. Instead, the Spirit voters redirected most of their praise to Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, which took Best Feature, Best Director, and (matching its Oscar win the following night) Best Supporting Female for Regina King.

As a consolation for being denied the Oscar, screen legend Glenn Close won the Spirit for Best Female Lead in The Wife. Male Lead went to Ethan Hawke, whose highly-praised performance in First Reformed was snubbed altogether at the Oscars.

The Spirits also had a lot of love for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, the Fred Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Lynne Ramsay’s artistic revenge thriller You Were Never Really Here, and Boots Riley’s satirical and surreal Sorry to Bother You. (That’s a lot of Yous, isn’t it?)

  • Best Feature: If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Best Director: Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Best Female Lead: Glenn Close, The Wife
  • Best Male Lead: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
  • Best Supporting Female: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Best Supporting Male: Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • Best Screenplay: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • Best Cinematography: Suspiria
  • Best Editing: You Were Never Really Here
  • Best Documentary: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  • Best International Film: Roma
  • Best First Feature: Sorry to Bother You

Razzie Awards

On the other end of the spectrum, the Razzies had an intense ire for Will Ferrell this year, giving his Sherlock Holmes spoof Holmes & Watson awards for Worst Picture, Worst Director, and Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel. I have no doubt that the movie is probably not very good, but it’s also so forgettable it hardly seems worth all that vitriol. Surely there were better targets from 2018 to lash out at?

Lest Melissa McCarthy bask in too much praise for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, the Razzies reminded us that she was also responsible for the puppet comedy flop The Happytime Murders.

Finally, Razzie founder John Wilson (the man who actually chooses all the nominees) thought he was being clever by naming Donald Trump and his former underling Kellyanne Conway as Worst Actor and Worst Actress (and together as Worst Screen Combo) for their appearances in the documentaries Fahrenheit 11/9 and Death of a Nation. Even by Wilson’s own low standards, this seems like a lame cheap shot.

  • Worst Picture: Holmes & Watson
  • Worst Director: Etan Cohen, Holmes & Watson
  • Worst Actor: Donald Trump, Death of a Nation and Fahrenheit 11/9
  • Worst Actress: Melissa McCarthy, The Happytime Murders and Life of the Party
  • Worst Supporting Actor: John C. Reilly, Holmes & Watson
  • Worst Supporting Actress: Kellyanne Conway, Fahrenheit 11/9
  • Worst Screenplay: Fifty Shades Freed
  • Worst Screen Combo: Donald Trump and His Self-Perpetuating Pettiness, Death of a Nation and Fahrenheit 11/9
  • Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel: Holmes & Watson

For the complete list of winners for each ceremony, see the official Spirit Awards web site and Razzie Awards web site.

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