Spirit Awards 2014: Birdman Wins Best Picture, Keaton Best Actor

alejandro_inarritu_independent_spirit_birdman“Birdman” has won the Spirit Award for Best Feature and Michael Keaton for best actor for his portrayal of a desperate actor in the offbeat comedy-drama.




“This film would not be this film without Michael Keaton,” producer-director-co-writer Alejandro G. Inarritu said.

“This is bold cinema — this is a game-changer,” Keaton said in his acceptance, giving extensive thanks to Inarritu.

Julianne Moore won for best actress for her portrayal of an Alzheimers victim in “Still Alice.”

alejandro_inarritu_independent_spirit_birdman“We made this movie in 23 days for $4 million — I brought my own bras and my own food,” Moore said in her acceptance. “It was such a privelege to work on this film.”

Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” won for Best Director for his groundbreaking comedy-drama, shot over 12 years.

“The impossible can always happen,” said star Ethan Hawke, accepting the trophy for Linklater, who was not in attendance.

Inarritu won the Directors Guild award two weeks ago over Linklater — underlining that difficulty of predicting the Oscar race for that honor.








Boyhood also won in the supporting actress category for Patricia Arquette, who took the award for her role as the complex, vulnerable mother in the film. She was the first major winner at the awards on Saturday afternoon at the 30th Spirit Awards — held at its traditional location in a white tent on the beach in Santa Monica.

Along with thanking Linklater and castmates Hawke, Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater, she singled out IFC for distributing, adding, “Without a distributor, you have nothing.”

j.k._simmons_whiplash_independent_spiritOscar frontrunner J.K. Simmons won the supporting actor award for “Whiplash.”

“I have been especially blessed,” Simmons said in a low-key acceptance for the award for his portrayal of an abusive band leader in “Whiplash.”

Laura Poitras won for best documentary for “Citizenfour,” her film about whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Poitras’ collaborator Glen Greenwald said whistleblowers like Snowden “deserve not decades in prison but our collective gratitude.”

nightcrawler_dan_gilroy_independent_spiritDan Gilroy’s bleak script for “Nightcrawler” won the Spirit Award for best screenplay. The crime thriller also won best first feature.

“What I do, I do because I love,” he said in his acceptance, noting that he had a low point in his career a decade ago.

“It felt like writing in that sand as the ocean wiped it away,” he added.

The first feature trophy went to Gilroy and producers Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak and Jake Gyllenhaal — who starred and produced.

julianne_moore_independent_spirit_still_alice“Independent film and everyone here are holdouts against a tsunami of superhero movies,” Gilroy said.

Polish drama “Ida” and director Pawel Pawlikowski won for top international film.

“This is such a strong field so thank you for losing,” Pawlikowski said of the competitors, which included “Leviathan,” “Force Majeure,” “Norte the End of History” and “Under the Skin.” “Ida” and “Leviathan” are up for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film.


Justin Simien was awarded the best first screenplay trophy for “Dear White People.” ‘I started writing this 10 years ago because I didn’t see myself in the culture,” he said in his acceptance.

Emmanuel Lubezki took the trophy for cinematography on “Birdman,” while Tom Cross won the editing category for “Whiplash.”

“Land Ho!” took the John Cassavetes award for top film made for less than $500,000.

The awards were telecast live on IFC. Kristen Bell and Fred Armisen co-hosted.

List of Winners:

(Award given to the producer. Executive producers are not awarded.)
“Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole

Producers: Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland
“Love Is Strange”
Producers: Lucas Joaquin, Lars Knudsen, Ira Sachs, Jayne Baron Sherman, Jay Van Hoy
Producers: Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey
Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michael Litvak

Damien Chazelle
Ava DuVernay
Alejandro G. Iñárritu
“Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Richard Linklater
“Boyhood” WINNER
David Zellner
“Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter”

Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
“Big Eyes”
J.C. Chandor
“A Most Violent Year”
Dan Gilroy
“Nightcrawler” WINNER
Jim Jarmusch
“Only Lovers Left Alive”
Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias
“Love Is Strange”

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Producers: Justin Begnaud, Sina Sayyah
“Dear White People”
Director-producer: Justin Simien
Producers: Effie T. Brown, Ann Le, Julia Lebedev, Angel Lopez, Lena Waithe
Director: Dan Gilroy
Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel LitvakWINNER
“Obvious Child”
Director: Gillian Robespierre
Producer: Elisabeth Holm
“She’s Lost Control”
Director-producer: Anja Marquardt
Producers: Mollye Asher, Kiara C. Jones

Desiree Akhavan
“Appropriate Behavior”
Sara Colangelo
“Little Accidents”
Justin Lader
“The One I Love”
Anja Marquardt
“She’s Lost Control”
Justin Simien
“Dear White People” WINNER

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive producers are not awarded.
“Blue Ruin”
Writer-director: Jeremy Saulnier
Producers: Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani
“It Felt Like Love”
Writer-director-producer: Eliza Hittman
Producers: Shrihari Sathe, Laura Wagner
“Land Ho!”
Writers-directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens
Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy WINNER
“Man From Reno”
Writer-director: Dave Boyle
Writers: Joel Clark, Michael Lerman
Producer: Ko Mori
Writer-director-producer: Chris Mason Johnson
Producer: Chris Martin

Marion Cotillard
“The Immigrant”
Rinko Kikuchi
“Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter”
Julianne Moore
“Still Alice” WINNER
Jenny Slate
“Obvious Child”
Tilda Swinton
“Only Lovers Left Alive”

André Benjamin
“Jimi: All Is by My Side”
Jake Gyllenhaal
Michael Keaton
“Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”  WINNER
John Lithgow
“Love Is Strange”
David Oyelowo

Patricia Arquette
“Boyhood” WINNER
CIO, CTO & Developer Resources
Jessica Chastain
“A Most Violent Year”
Carmen Ejogo
Andrea Suarez Paz
“Stand Clear of the Closing Doors”
Emma Stone
“Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Riz Ahmed
Ethan Hawke
Alfred Molina
“Love Is Strange”
Edward Norton
“Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
J.K. Simmons
Whiplash WINNER

Darius Khondji
“The Immigrant”
Emmanuel Lubezki
“Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” WINNER
Sean Porter
“It Felt Like Love”
Lyle Vincent
“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”
Bradford Young

Sandra Adair
Tom Cross
“Whiplash”  WINNER
John Gilroy
Ron Patane
“A Most Violent Year”
Adam Wingard
“The Guest”

DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)
“20,000 Days on Earth”
Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
Producers: Dan Bowen, James Wilson
Director-producer: Laura Poitras
Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky WINNER
“Stray Dog”
Director: Debra Granik
Producer: Anne Rosellini
“The Salt of the Earth”
Directors: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders
Producer: David Rosier
Director-producer: Orlando von Einsiedel
Producer: Joanna Natasegara

INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
“Force Majeure”
Director: Ruben Östlund
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski WINNER
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Director: Xavier Dolan
Norte, the End of History
Director: Lav Diaz
Under the Skin
(United Kingdom)
Director: Jonathan Glazer

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – (Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)
Inherent Vice
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Casting Director: Cassandra Kulukundis
Ensemble Cast: Josh Brolin, Martin Donovan, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Joaquin Phoenix, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio Del Toro, Katherine Waterston, Michael Kenneth Williams, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon

Director/Producer: Bennett Miller
Producers: Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik
Writers: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Actors: Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum

18th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 18th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.
Chad Burris
Elisabeth Holm
Chris Ohlson

21st ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 21st annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia
The Retrieval
Director: Chris Eska

20th ANNUAL LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 20th annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters.
Approaching the Elephant
Director: Amanda Rose Wilder
Evolution of a Criminal
Director: Darius Clark Monroe
The Kill Team
Director: Dan Krauss
The Last Season
Director: Sara Dosa