2024 Independent Spirit Awards live blog: ‘Past Lives’ wins Best Picture, Celine Song is Best Director, Jeffrey Wright takes Best Lead Performance

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Gold Derby is backstage at the 39th Annual Indie Spirit Awards on the beach in Santa Monica, CA on Sunday, February 25, hosted by comedian, actress and “SNL” alumnus Aidy Bryant. We’ll bring you all of the up-to-date details on the presenters, nominees and winners. (See the complete winners list here.) Read on for the 2024 Spirits live blog.

The kudofest is streaming live on IMDb’s YouTube Channel as well as Film Independent’s YouTube and Twitter accounts starting at 2 p.m. PST/5 p.m. EST.

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On the film side, the nominations were dominated by “American Fiction,” “Past Lives” and “May December,” which picked up five nods apiece. Those three films are up for Best Feature along with “All of Us Strangers,” “Passages” and “We Grown Now.” Since 2012, Film Independent and the Spirits have forecast 7 of 12 Best Picture winners at the Academy Awards, including “The Artist” (2012), “12 Years a Slave” (2014), “Birdman” (2015), “Spotlight” (2016), “Moonlight” (2017), “Nomadland” (2021) and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (2023).

The Spirit Awards pay tribute to independent voices working outside the major studio system in both movies and television, celebrating the most exceptional films, TV/streaming series and artists of 2023. For the second straight year, the sponsoring Film Independent set a budget limit of $30 million for a film to be considered. It’s also the second year that the Indie Spirits are featuring gender-neutral acting categories in both film and TV/streaming. Rather than hand out trophies for Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress, the categories include no reference to gender at all. Instead, they honor Best Lead Performance and Best Supporting Performance.

                                  Keep refreshing this 2024 Indie Spirit Awards live blog for our latest from the ceremony.

2:03 p.m. – OK, here we go! Host Aidy Bryant welcomes everyone with, “Welcome to the Film Independent Spirit Awards, otherwise known as the Bisexual Oscars…Best case scenario tomorrow, nobody mentioned me.” She jokes that she needs to be edgy by calling everyone “a stupid bitch.”

2:09 p.m. – Aidy is straining a bit in her opening monologue to get laughs, somewhat unsuccessfully. But to her credit, she’s trying awfully hard.

2:11 p.m. – Bryant: “If you’re an actress and you’re wearing your own shoes, that’s indie baby.”

2:12 p.m. – The first presenters come out: Quinta Brunson and Stephanie Hsu. They’re presenting for Best Supporting Performance. The nominees are Erika Alexander and Sterling K. Brown for “American Fiction,” Noah Galvin for “Theater Camp,” Anne Hathaway for “Eileen,” Glenn Howerton for “BlackBerry,” Marin Ireland for “Eileen,” Charles Melton for “May December,” Da’Vine Joy Randolph for “The Holdovers,” Catalina Saavedra for “Rotting in the Sun” and Ben Whishaw, “Passages.” And the winner is…Da’Vine Joy Randolph. The woman is on a roll, sweeping through awards season – including the night before at the SAG Awards.

2:15 p.m. – Randolph: “Independent films are the beating heart of this industry.”

2:16 p.m. – Now it’s time for the first TV/streaming category, Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series, presented by Emma Corrin. he nominees are Murray Bartlett for “The Last of Us,” Billie Eilish for “Swarm,” Jack Farthing for “Rain Dogs,” Nick Offerman for “The Last of Us,” Adina Porter for “The Changeling,” Lewis Pullman for “Lessons in Chemistry,” Benny Safdie for “The Curse,” Luke Tennie for “Shrinking,” Olivia Washington for “I’m a Virgo” and Jessica Williams, “Shrinking.” And the winner is…Nick Offerman.

2:20 p.m. – Milo Ventimiglia is here to present the award Best Documentary. The nominees are “Bye Bye Tiberias,” “Four Daughters,” “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project,” “Kokomo City” and “The Mother of All Lies.” And the winner is…”Four Daughters.”

2:25 p.m. – The nominees for the first-time category Best Breakthrough Performance in a New Scripted Series are Clark Backo for “The Changeling,” Aria Mia Loberti for “All the Light We Cannot See,” Adjani Salmon for “Dreaming Whilst Black,” Keivonn Montreal Woodard for “The Last of Us” and Kara Young for “I’m a Virgo.” And the winner is…Keevonn Montreal Woodard.

2:29 p.m. – Next up is Best International Film. The nominees are “Anatomy of a Fall” from France, “Godland” from Denmark/Iceland, “Mama Wata” from Nigeria, “Totem” from Mexico and “The Zone of Interest” from United Kingdom/Poland/United States. The winner is…”Anatomy of a Fall.” No surprise there. It’s also nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

2:33 p.m. – For Best First Screenplay, the nominees are “Chronicles of a Wandering Saint,” “May December,” “The Starling Girl,” “Theater Camp” and “Upon Entry.”

2:36 p.m. – Aidy shows off her Charles Melton t-shirt – and Melton his Aidy Bryant t-shirt.

2:38 p.m. – The Best Screenplay nominees are “American Fiction,” “Birth/Rebirth,” “Bottoms,” “The Holdovers” and “Past Lives.” And the winner is…”American Fiction” and Cord Jefferson in something of an upset. “Past Lives” was the favorite. But it was not to be.

2:41 p.m. – Jim Gaffigan takes to the stage to sing the praises of “Jury Duty” for its win for Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series. It was a category with no suspense. It was the only nominees and won before the day began. Featured in its ensemble cast are Alan Barinholtz, Susan Berger, Cassandra Blair, David Brown, Kirk Fox, Ross Kimball, Pramode Kumar, Trisha LaFache, Mekki Leeper, James Marsden, Edy Modica, Kerry O’Neill, Rashida Olayiwola, Whitney Rice, Maria Russell, Ishmel Sahid, Ben Seaward, Ron Song and Evan Williams.

2:43 p.m. – They play a clip package with James Marsden and Ronald Gladden for “Jury Duty.” And they all take to the stage to celebrate the win both to take a bow and explain the magic of how it all came together.

2:48 p.m. – For Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series, the nominees are “Deadlocked: How America Shaped the Supreme Court,” “Dear Mama,” “Murder in Big Horn,” “Stolen Youth: Inside the Cult at Sarah Lawrence” and “Wrestlers.” And the winner is…”Dear Mama.”

2:55 p.m. – That brings us to Best Lead Performance in a New Scripted Series. The nominees are Emma Corrin for “A Murder at the End of the World,” Dominique Fishback for “Swarm,” Betty Gilpin for “Mrs. Davis,” Jharrel Jerome for “I’m a Virgo,” Zoe Lister-Jones for “Slip,” Bel Powley for “A Small Light,” Bella Ramsey for “The Last of Us,” Ramon Rodriguez for “Will Trent,” and Ali Wong and Steven Yeun for “Beef.” And the winner is…Ali Wong! Fresh off her SAG Award win.

2:58 p.m. – Next up is Best New Scripted Series, where the nominees are “Beef,” “Dreaming Whilst Black,” “I’m a Virgo,” “Jury Duty” and “Slip.” And the winner is…”Beef.” To the surprise of absolutely no one. Its hot streak continues.

3:02 p.m. – The nominees for Best Editing are “How to Blow Up a Pipeline,” “Rotting in the Sun,” “Theater Camp,” “Upon Entry” and “We Grown Now.” And winning the award is…”How to Blow Up a Pipeline.”

3:06 p.m. – “You actually need a film degree to be a cinematographer,” says presenter Jimmy O. Yang before handing out the Best Cinematography Award. The nominees are “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt,” “Chronicles of a Wandering Saint,” “The Holdovers,” “Monica” and “We Grown Now.” And the winner is…”The Holdovers.”

3:09 p.m. Now handing out the John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for under $1,000,000, awarded to the writer, director and producer). The nominees are “The Artifice Girl,” “Cadejo Blanco,” “Fremont,” “Rotting in the Sun” and “The Unknown Country.” And the winner is…”Fremont.”

3:15 p.m. – The Someone to Watch Award is next. It “recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.” The nominees are Joanna Arnow, director of “The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed”; Laura Moss, director of “Birth/Rebirth”; and Monica Sorelle, director of “Mountains.” And the winner is…Monica Sorelle.

3:18 p.m. – Competing for Best Breakthrough Performance are Marshawn Lynch for “Bottoms,” Atibon Nazaire for “Mountains,” Tia Nomore for “Earth Mama,” Dominic Sessa for “The Holdovers” and Anaita Wali Zada for “Fremont.” And the winner is…Dominic Sessa. No shock. He deserved it, and then some. The class of this field.

3:20 – Sessa: “This movie changed my life. Alexander Payne, you changed my life…CAA, I promise it’s not all downhill from here.”

3:27 p.m. – Sponsoring LavAzza Coffee java is distributed to the audience, just when eyelids were beginning to droop.

3:28 p.m. – That brings us to the Producers Award, which “honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films.” The nominees are Rachael Fung, Graham Swon and Monique Walton. And the winner is…Monique Walton.

3:31 p.m. – Next up: The Robert Altman Award, given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. Making the presentation: SAG Award winner Lily Gladstone. The winner is “Showing Up,” directed by Kelly Reichardt, from casting director Gayle Keller. The ensemble cast featured André Benjamin, Hong Chau, Judd Hirsch, Heather Lawless, James Le Gros, John Magaro, Matt Malloy, Amanda Plummer, Maryann Plunkett, Denzel Rodriguez and Michelle Williams.

3:39 p.m. – Nominated for Best First Feature are “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt,” “Chronicles of a Wandering Saint,” “Earth Mama,” “A Thousand and One” and “Upon Entry.” And the winner is…”A Thousand and One.”

3:43 p.m. – Aria Mia Loberti, the breakout star of “All the Light We Cannot See” is here to present the Truer Than Fiction Award – “presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition.” The nominees are Set Hernandez, director of “unseen”; Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli, director of “Lakota Nation vs. United States”; and Sierra Urich, director of “Joonam.” And the winner is…Set Hernandez for “unseen.”

3:45 p.m. – Jessica Williams and Sterling K. Brown come out to present the award for Best Director, where the nominees are Andrew Haigh for “All of Us Strangers,” Todd Haynes for “May December,” William Oldroyd for “Eileen,” Ira Sachs for “Passages” and Celine Song for “Past Lives.” And the winner is…Celine Song! No surprise, but a very popular winner in the room, to be sure. A loud roar.

3:49 p.m. – Colman Domingo comes out to present Best Lead Performance in a film. The nominees include Jessica Chastain for “Memory,” Greta Lee for “Past Lives,” Trace Lysette for “Monica,” Natalie Portman for “May December,” Judy Reyes for “Birth/Rebirth,” Franz Rogowski for “Passages,” Andrew Scott for “All of Us Strangers,” Teyana Taylor for “A Thousand and One,” Jeffrey Wright for “American Fiction” and Teo Yoo for “Past Lives.” And the winner is…Jeffrey Wright for “American Fiction.” Also an Oscar nominee. Lots of cheers. His acceptance is gracious and heartfelt.

3:56 p.m. – Jude Law emerges to award the biggest award of the day: Best Picture. The nominees are “All of Us Strangers,” “American Fiction,” “May December,” “Passages,” “Past Lives” and “We Grown Now.” And the winner is…Oscar Best Picture nominee “Past Lives.” No surprise, but a popular winner nonetheless. Its second triumph of the day for the exquisite Celine Song.

3:59 p.m. – That’s a wrap on the 2024 Indie Spirits. The final tally found “The Holdovers” topping the pack with three Spirits, with “Past Lives,” “American Fiction,” “Beef” and “The Last of Us” winning two apiece.

Predict the 2024 Oscar winners through March 10

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