Spirit Awards 2013: 12 Years a Slave Sweeps

Spirit Awards 2014:

Director Steve McQueen won the best director award for 12 Years a Slave at the Independent Spirit Awards.

He dedicated the award to Solomon Northup, whose life and book was the basis for the searing historical drama.

Jared Leto took the best supporting actor award for his memorable portrayal of transgender AIDS patient Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o won the Best Supporting Actress Award for “12 Years a Slave.”

In her acceptance, a composed Nyong’o said breathlessly that she had not been aware initially of the distinction of independent films initially but then said she realized, “Independent film is where stuff actually happens.”

Nyong’onoting that it was her birthday and concluded her speech by thanking her mother for supporting her choice to become an actress.

An ebullient Leto cracked up the crowd with a massive thank-you list, including home-made burritos and “all the women I’ve been with and all the women who think they’ve been with me,” makers of vegan butter, people who make size 12 heels, the seven billion people on the planet. He’s also going to do “an opposite McCconaussiance and just do romantic comedies.”

Leto concluded on a serious note by dedicating the award to the 36 million that have died of AIDS and the 35 million living with AIDS.

John Ridley took the screenplay trophy for “12 Years a Slave.” He delivered an emotional acceptance speech, near tears as he said he had not fully realized the impact of the film until he saw it at the Toronto Film Festival.

Ridley gave a shout out to Julie Delpy, a co-nominee for “Before Midnight.” “I had absolutely no idea of what I was involved with until I saw the film in Toronto,” he said.

“12 Years” also took the cimematography award for Sean Bobittt.

“Nebraska” screenwriter Bob Nelson won the best Spirit Award for first screenplay in the first award given out, who said he wanted to not thank his wife and is so glad to be “the oldest recipient of best first screenplay.” In jest, he also thanked Former SNL actor Will Forte for losing three pounds to play his role.

The 29th version of the Spirit Awards started Saturday with Angie networking with Brad Weston, head of New Regency, and Jared Leto glad handing director Alexander Payne. Shailene Woodley and Lupita embraced and Willie Garson was hanging out near the gelato before Patton Oswalt took the stage.

“We are living in a golden age of lesbian award show hosts and the role who look like them,” he said, referring to himself and Ellen DeGeneres, the Academy Awards show host.

“We lost the rain but that does not mean that God doesn’t love you,” Oswalt quipped. “Alec Baldwin is moving here.”

“Some of these movies premiered just on my iPhone,” Oswalt said, referring to the alternative methods of filmmaking. He did however, give props to John Waters, who was sporting a red tie and a thin mustache. “You should always go too far,” he said referring to waters’ first film.

Oswalt evoked a mixed receptiopn, evoking the first big applause by bowing to indie icon Waters, noting that his first movie, “Hag in a Black Leather Jacket,” debuted 50 years ago.

He got his first groans by saying Mia Farrow would present the Someone to Watch award and that Bruce Dern was in attendance “to see the ocean one last time.”

The awards were held under a big white tent on the beach in Santa Monica.

Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” led the field with seven nominations, followed by Alexander Payne’s six nods for “Nebraska.” In order to be nominated, each film has to have less than a $20 million production budget. To vote, one need only buy a $95 per year membership in Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival.