Film Independent Reveals Date of Next Spirit Awards

The 39th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards will be held on Feb. 25, 2024. The Spirit Awards, which will again be in-person and hosted in Los Angeles, will celebrate the year for independent voices and storytellers while celebrating diversity, originality and uniqueness of vision.

Hasan Minhaj hosted last year’s ceremony. This year’s ceremony marked a switch to gender-neutral acting categories as well as an introduction of a Best Breakthrough Performance Award and Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series Award. Honorary co-chairs were Sian Heder and Chloe Zhao, alumni of Film Independent’s Artist Development programs which are celebrating their 30th anniversary.

While intended to celebrate indie film and comparatively low-budget cinema, the Spirit Awards have found their nominations and winners often aligned with the Academy Awards as the Oscars have themselves skewed comparatively more indie while Hollywood has seen less success with the kind of old-school studio programmer that used to earn both fortune and glory.

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At least since the 1997 Academy Awards, during which “Jerry Maguire” stood out alongside less commercial share like “Shine,” “The English Patient” and “Fargo,” the Oscars have found themselves torn between nominating films considered worthy of Academy recognition and noting well-received populist fare that audiences have actually seen. It was once almost expected that acclaimed and successful mainstream entertainments like “Fatal Attraction,” “Ghost,” “The Fugitive,” “Babe” and “The Sixth Sense” would also find themselves in the Best Picture race.

However, especially over the last decade, Hollywood has drifted toward youth-skewing, franchise-friendly entertainments over stand-alone, adult-skewing, star-driven movies. Concurrently, even as pundits cry foul when a populist blockbuster like “The Force Awakens” or “Spider-Man: No Way Home” misses the cut, a case has been made that awards or award-related validation has become one of the only commercial reasons to justify making the kind of films that used to be Hollywood’s bread and butter. To paraphrase Grantland’s Mark Harris in 2015, “Birdman” is a movie about someone who hopes to create and find success in creating something as good as “Boyhood.”

Since 2011, the Best Feature winner at the Spirit Awards has matched up with the Best Picture winner at the Oscars no less than seven times, including “Nomadland” in 2021 and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” this past year.

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