Spirit Awards 2008: Comedian Steve Coogan is Host

Dec 12, 2008–Actor/comedian Steve Coogan will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the 2009 Spirit Awards, to take place in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica on Saturday, February 21, 2009.  The 2009 Film Independent’s Spirit Awards ceremony will air uncut, uncensored, and commercial free on IFC (Independent Film Channel) LIVE at 5 pm EST/2 pm PST. An edited re-broadcast of the ceremony will air later that evening on AMC. Nominations for the 2009 Film Independent Spirit Awards were announced on Tuesday, December 2, 2008. Diana Zahn-Storey returns to produce the event for the fifteenth consecutive year.

Premier Sponsors IFC, Netflix, ELLE, AMC, Piaget and Lacoste sponsor the 2009 Film Independent’s Spirit Awards ceremony. Principal Sponsors are Acura, Heineken, Garnier, and Tourism Australia. Hotel Shangri-La, Casa Del Mar, and Shutters on the Beach are the Official Host Hotels. WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent. American Airlines is the Official Airline Partner of Film Independent. ON 3 Productions is the Official Presenter Gift Lounge producer.

The Honorary Chairs and Presenters will be announced shortly.  “We are so excited to have Steve Coogan as this years host.  He’s a brilliant actor and comedian whose style and accent will bring an international flair to the event,” said Diana Zahn-Storey, Sprit Awards executive producer.  “Film Independent and the Spirit Awards exist to support original and diverse voices in film, and that mission extends to our Spirit Awards host.  We can't wait to see what Steve brings to the show,” said Dawn Hudson, executive director, Film Independent.  “IFC is proud to again broadcast the only uncut, uncensored awards show on television, and thrilled to have Steve Coogan host,” added Jennifer Caserta, IFC’s Executive Vice President and General Manager. “Steve truly represents independent culture and has a brilliant comic mind – he is the perfect irreverent voice for the Spirits and our audiences.”

This year Steve Coogan experienced being on top of the U.S. box office for the Paramount release of Tropic Thunder. Directed and written by Ben Stiller, who also starred in the film, Coogan played a British film director, directing a film about the Vietnam War. He was joined by the star studded cast of Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Brandon T. Jackson, Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey. The film was #1 for two straight weeks and has earned over $100 million domestically.  Coogan was also seen this year starring in 2008 Sundance Film Festival break-out hit comedy Hamlet 2, directed by Andrew Fleming and starring opposite of Catherine Keener, Amy Poehler and David Arquette.

Born and raised in Manchester where he trained as an actor at the Manchester Polytechnic School of Theatre, Coogan saw stand-up as a way of obtaining an equity card.   He was spotted by a television scout and offered a spot on First Exposure and this led to many television appearances including The Prince’s Gala Trust for the Prince and Princess of Wales, Stand-Up, Up-Front, Paramount City, London Underground and Word in Your Ear.  He was also a regular voice on Spitting Image for several years.

In 1992 he won the Perrier Award for his show Steve Coogan in Character with John Thompson, where he launched his character ‘Paul Calf’. ‘Paul’ became a regular on Saturday Zoo, and it was on this show that he introduced a new character, Paul’s sister, ‘Pauline Calf.’  He went on to write and perform in The Paul Calf Video Diaries earning a BAFTA Award Nomination for his performance in Pauline Calf’s video diary “Three Fights, Two Weddings and a Funeral.”

While working in radio, he created his character ‘Alan Partridge’ in On the Hour which became the television show The Day Today, and from which became the radio show Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge which also eventually made the transition to television and received huge critical acclaims along with numerous awards. At the 1994 British Comedy Awards, Coogan won Top Male Comedy Performer, Top Comedy Personality and Knowing Me, Knowing You won Best New Television Comedy.

Not one to rest, Coogan then completed a sell out tour in the UK with his live show The Man Who Think’s He’s It, which won a South Bank Show Award and broke all box office records for a comedy show in London’s West End.

Wanting to spend more time on his writing talents, Coogan took a couple of years off from being on screen to write the film, The Parole Officer, with his business partner Henry Normal.  The Parole Officer, which was produced by Duncan Kenworthy and Andrew Macdonald and directed by John Duigan, became one of the top grossing British films of the year. Coogan and Normal continued their partnership and created their own production company, Baby Cow Production, in 1999. Since then have produced a number of award-winning programs such as, Marion and Geoff, Human Remains, The Mighty Boosh, Gavin and Stacey, Sensitive Skin, Dr Terrible’s House of Horrible, A Small Summer Party, Up in Town, and Cruise of the Gods, a TV film made for BBC 2.

In 2002, he released a new series of I’m Alan Partridge, which again received rave reviews and earned him two BAFTA Awards for Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Performance.

Other film credits for Coogan include Resurrected, Indian in the Cupboard, Revengers Comedies, The Fix Wind in the Willows, Coffee & Cigarettes, 24 Hour Party People, Around the World in Eighty Days, A Cock And Bull Story, Happy Endings, Marie Antoinette, Night at the Museum, The Private Life of Samuel Pepys, Finding Amanda and the BBC 2 comedy shows Saxondale, and Coogan’s Run,. He also wrote and starred in a Christmas Special for BBC 2 titled Tony Ferrino’s Phenomenon for which he received the Silver Rose of Montreux Award.

Coogan’s most recent television appearance was in the 2007 season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm by playing Larry David’s psychologist who ends up in jail. Currently, Coogan is on his second tour entitled Steve Coogan is Alan Partridge and Other Less Successful Characters. The comedy tour is comprised of 40 dates, many of which have already been sold out, and the show includes many of his other comedy creations, such as Paul Calf and his 'sister' Pauline.

Next year, Coogan will be reunited with co-stars Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson for the much anticipated sequel Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian and will appear opposite of Hilary Duff and Molly Shannon in Safety Glass.


 Film Independent’s Spirit Awards is a celebration honoring films made by filmmakers who embody independence and who dare to challenge the status quo. Televised in millions of homes and covered internationally by the press, Film Independent’s Spirit Awards has become the vanguard event in independent film, recognizing the achievements of independent filmmakers and promoting independent film to a wider audience.

Awards are given in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best First Screenplay, Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Film, Best Documentary, and the Robert Altman Award (given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast).

Last year’s major category winners were Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Juno, which won Best Feature, Best Female Lead (Ellen Page), and Best First Screenplay (Diablo Cody), The Savages, which won Best Male Lead (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and Best Screenplay (Tamara Jenkins), and Once which won Best Foreign Film; and Miramax Films’ The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which won Best Director (Julian Schnabel), and Best Cinematography (Janusz Kaminski), and The Lookout, which won Best First Feature. August Evening received the John Cassavetes Award for the Best Feature made for under $500,000.


Film Independent is a non-profit membership organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds the audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, film industry leader, or a film lover.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent also offers free Filmmaker Labs for selected writers, directors, and producers; provides cut-rate services for filmmakers; and presents year-round networking opportunities. Film Independent’s mentorship and job placement program, Project:Involve, pairs emerging culturally-diverse filmmakers with film industry professionals.

Film Independent produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, celebrating the best of American and international cinema, and the Spirit Awards, a celebration honoring films and filmmakers that embody independence and dare to challenge the status quo.

For more information or to become a member, visit FilmIndependent.org