RED CARPET MONITOR: 2015 Spirit Awards – winners and thoughts

redcarpetmonitor300x60The 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards are now history, and Birdman took the top prize; I thought this was an upset, as Boyhood seemed destined to win here.

Before I get to the winner’s list, a few thoughts, if I may…

This was the first time in several years that I actually sat down and watched the live awards ceremony; the last time I watched, Steve Coogan was host, so I think that was 2012.  And you know something? I am likely NEVER in my wildest dreams going to sit through that two and a half hour torture session again; OMG I’d rather be bound, gagged, and forced to watch the Coleman Francis trilogy over and over again than sit through what was quite possibly the WORST written awards show in history.

Remember these five names:  Erik Weiner, Wayne Federman, Frank Sebastian, Benji Afalo, and Marika Sawyer. They were the “writers” who “wrote ” the “funny” material that the stars “read” when they walked out on the “stage”. Seriously, from the opening pre-taped sketch to the final bow, thank GOD for the acceptance speeches, the only thing in this show that were remotely funny. The “I’m a little bit Indie, I’m a little bit Studio” song at the beginning  – I was sitting here almost praying for Donny and Marie to come out with guns ablazin’ and mow everyone down (ok ok, not really…but pies in the face would have had the same effect, putting it out of our misery..)…and who the HELL in the current audience of indie film fans even had a CLUE what that song was even about? Sure, us old farts get it, but today’s Millennials? No chance in HELL, “writers” And I use that term VERY LOOSELY. And the song bits were HORRIBLE – they made absolutely no sense. When Billy Crystal does his “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar” song, at least people can figure it out…

Other observations (Oh MAN do I miss the bile of our beloved (?) Nikki Finke on occasions like this…):

Did Julianne Moore turn her Christmas tree skirt into a dress?  Yeesshhhhh…she looked like a walking pile of tinsel coming to the stage to pick up her Spirit for Still Alice. A Carson Kressley note, Julianne, dear…please Please PLEASE do NOT wear that dress to the Oscars tomorrow night…

Aubrey Plaza…apparently she has the same kind of fashion sense that’s only awarded once in a lifetime…and she stole THAT from actor Colin Baker’s mid-80s version of The Doctor…

Miles Teller…He looked so dapper in that tuxedo standing there introducing Whiplash with his co-star JK Simmons…but freeze frame the shot…and take a look at him…he just landed in the top spot to do one of two biopics…he can either play Rock Hudson (the resemblance was truly striking)….or he can play Rock Hudson playing Liberace…seriously, though Teller saved the show’s opening bit…if he hadn’t been there sort of in “Whiplash” mode, people would have been tuning out even before they finished that bit…and his reversal play on the films’ face slapping,  berating co-host Fred Armisen for the short seasons of IFC’s hit Portlandia, was actually sorta funny…

Loved the hilarious “fuck you” to American Airlines…apparently someone forgot to tell Inherent Vice director Paul Thomas Anderson that they were a SPONSOR of this year’s show…then later, Foxcatcher director Bennett Miller reading a “mea culpa” supposedly from Anderson, who apologized for insulting American…then blamed United for losing his luggage…to quote the legendary Slappy Squirrel (well, I think she’s legendary), “Now THAT’S Comedy!”…take note, “writers”…

I don’t mean this to be mean, so please don’t take it that way…Eller Coltrane needs to get out of the business. NOW. Not because he’s not any good, because he is…but the poor kid was so nervous and ill at ease, both on stage when introducing Boyhood and later, just sitting in the audience with the camera on him, it might be better if he waits a few years until the media spotlight dies down…I’ll bet if he smokes, he went through about three packs of Marlboros in just as many hours…he needs to spend more time with onscreen dad Ethan Hawke, who did a great job both presenting and also collecting director Richard Linklater’s Best Director’s statue, because the latter couldn’t be there…

The Inner Camera conversation piece was overlong but at least was funny when the stars started camping it up and playing around with it…JK Simmons and his wife were HILARIOUS, as were Michael Keaton and Andy Samberg…even if the bits were horrible and improvised badly.

I wonder how many FBI, CIA, and NSA agents have been assigned to detail in Los Angeles this weekend…you just KNOW they’re all waiting with drool for a down moment to reach in and try to grab and clamp down on Citizenfour producer/director Laura Poitras and film collaborator and principal journalist Glenn Greenwald before they try to leave the U.S. again (they’re both confirmed to be on travel “watch lists”)..and cheers to both of them for finding it in themselves to come back for the awards, because I don’t think, knowing I was being watched, that I would have the guts they have…and congrats on a much deserved win too…if you haven’t seen the film yet, DO SO NOW. RIGHT NOW. THISVERYDAMNMINUTE….

All in all, crazy bad show, crazy fun winners, and a pretty good crop too – the one big surprise to me was Ida winning best foreign film here (I think it’s a lock for Oscar) – I was sure this was a lock for Xavier Dolan’s Mommy – but I loved it even more when director Pawel Pawlikowski brought up most of his competitors in the category (he forgot the Philippines film Norte The End Of History) and then thanked them all for losing this year…ROTFL moment of the show…

Enough of my ramblings – we’ll have complete coverage on Subject:CINEMA’s 8th annual Oscar Weekend Special on Monday evening…and here’s the winners of the 30th Annual Spirit Awards:


Michael Keaton, Birdman

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler


Ida (Poland), Director: Pawel Pawlikowski

Nightcrawler, Director: Dan Gilroy;

Justin Simien, Dear White People

Tom Cross, Whiplash

Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman

Land Ho!

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD (Ensemble, Director and Casting Director)
Inherent Vice


The Kill Team, Director: Dan Krauss

Chris Chison

H., Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia