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SANTA MONICA, Calif, March 4, (Agencies): Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” won best film and best director on Saturday at the 33rd Independent Film Spirit Awards, a day before the horror sensation will vie for top honors at the Academy Awards.
The wins for Peele’s directorial debut gave the Spirits, a celebration of indie filmmaking, something unusual: a box-office behemoth. Made for just $4.5 million, “Get Out” grossed $255 million worldwide.
“We are in the beginning of a renaissance right now, where stories from the outsider, stories from the people in this room, the same stories that independent filmmakers have been telling for years are being honored and recognized and celebrated,” Peele said.
Peele was presented the award for best director by Spike Lee, whom Peele said paved his way. “Let’s make no mistake,” he said. “I wouldn’t be standing here if wasn’t for this man.”
“Get Out” is only the second horror film to win best picture at the Spirits. The other was 2010’s “Black Swan.”
“This project didn’t start as a statement,” said Peele. “It began as me wanting to make a film in my favorite genre. I sat down and would smoke a little weed and try to write a mind-bending horror film, my favorite genre and at some point I followed the truth and I realized there are people locked up for smoking less weed than I smoked writing the movie.”
Held in a beachside tent on a floor soaked through from rain earlier in the day, the Spirit Awards are the dressed-down, prelude to the Academy Awards.
But as the Oscars have gravitated toward honoring indie films, the two have come closer to mirroring each other. The last four Spirit winners for best film (“Moonlight,” “Spotlight,” “Birdman,” “12 Years a Slave”) have won best picture at the Oscars.
“It’s Saturday,” Peele said backstage of his Oscar expectations. “Tomorrow’s tomorrow. That’s what’s up.”
The Spirits are also a party to mark the (almost) end of a long and sometimes repetitive awards season.
“I continue to be amazed that you let me get to the microphone. What are you crazy?” said Frances McDormand, who again won best actress for her performance in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” “Do you know how hard it’s been not to swear over the last couple of months? Because this awards convention goes on for (expletive) forever.”
Allison Janney likewise continued her sweep of the best supporting actress awards for “I, Tonya.” The supporting actor Oscar favorite Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) added to his string of awards.
Timothee Chalamet, the “Call Me By Your Name” breakthrough star, took best actor, a category that at the Spirits didn’t include the Oscar favorite Gary Oldman. The 22-year-old said he was trying to savor the moment.
“I don’t know if this kind of thing is ever going to happen again,” said Chalamet.
Returning hosts John Mulaney and Nick Kroll opened with a lively monologue that managed to touch on everything from Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein and Brett Ratner to the pronunciation of Saoirse Ronan’s name (“Sour Shoes Ronan,” Mulaney said) and Mulaney’s wife’s infatuation with “Call Me By Your Name’s” Timothee Chalamet.
Mulaney said he once had a meeting with Weinstein where the fallen mogul proclaimed that his legacy, and what would be written on his tombstone, wouldn’t be for the films he’s done, that it’d be for “Project Runway.”
“Your tombstone isn’t going to say ‘Project Runway.’ It’s going to say double XL unmarked grave,” Mulaney said.
Kroll and Mulaney joked about separating the artist from the art for some of the men accused of misconduct.
“Like with Kevin Spacey: Can we still love ‘K-PAX?’” Kroll pondered.
n Best Feature: “Get Out”
n Best First Feature: “Ingrid Goes West”
n Best Director: Jordan Peele “Get Out”
n Best Screenplay: Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
n Best First Screenplay: Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani, “The Big Sick”
n Best Cinematography: “Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, “Call Me By Your Name” (Winner)
n Best Editing: Tatiana S. Riegel, “I, Tonya”
n Best Female Lead: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
n Best Male Lead: Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
n Best Supporting Female: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
n Best Supporting Male: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
n Robert Altman Award: “Mudbound” Director: Dee Rees
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