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Most Memorable Film Independent Spirit Awards Moments: ‘Everything Everywhere”’s Sweep, Hasan Minhaj’s IFC Jab, Quinta Brunson’s Sweet Dedication



The 38th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards brought out smiles, laughter and tears from the presenters, winners, host and audience throughout the night. From comedian Hasan Minhaj joking about the ceremony not being broadcasted to Everything Everywhere All at Once dominating another awards show and Quinta Brunson dedicating her award to the aspiring kids “making a video on TikTok,” here are some of the night’s most memorable moments.

Hasan Minhaj Pokes Fun at IFC for Not Broadcasting Ceremony

Hasan Minhaj took his talents to the beach on Saturday for the first time as the host for the Spirit Awards. “For those of you wondering, I am definitely not making as much as Jerrod Carmichael did when he hosted the Golden Globes,” Minhaj kicked off his opening monologue. “Not even close. I am literally making 1/1000 of what he made. They just handed me a Starbucks gift card, and they were like, ‘Hey man, just use what’s left on it.’” He went on to joke that instead of broadcasting the Spirit Awards ceremony like it does every year, IFC chose to air Semi-Pro, a movie that, Minhaj said, lost money at the box office and has a 22 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Read more here. — Christy Piña

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Sweeps

Everything Everywhere All At Once was the big winner, winning seven awards out of its eight nominations. The genre-bending film won best feature, and Michelle Yeoh won best lead performance, while Stephanie Hsu won best breakthrough performance and Ke Huy Quan won best supporting performance, beating out his co-star Jamie Lee Curtis. The filmmaking duo Daniels also won best screenplay and best director, while Paul Rogers won best editing for the film. Through tears, Yeoh said, “The Daniels, my boys, thank you for writing such an incredible script that gave us the opportunity to be here to be seen to be heard. And I want to dedicate this to all our mothers. Without our mothers, none of us would be here. … Thank you to all of you for believing in us and giving us a seat at the table. And for all the little girls and boys who look like us and think that it is possible, thank you.” Read more here. — Beatrice Verhoeven

Stephanie Hsu Hopes Breakthrough Spirit Award Will “Protect That Freak Flag”

Stephanie Hsu has won the prize for best breakthrough performance honoring the best of the year in indie filmmaking. In her speech, she said, through tears, “I came from the world of downtown experimental theater, and it is one of my biggest [sources of pride] to be from that community, knowing how to make something out of nothing. This is my first-ever individual award, and it feels incredibly appropriate that it is in this room. … I want to thank A24 for keeping independent films hot and alive.” She added, “One of my favorite moments on-set was when we were doing one of the last scenes in the movie, where the family is running up to the bagel and were in a huge atrium and there’s papers flying all over… Every single crewmember and every single castmember would just get on their knees and pick every single piece of paper up to help set up for the next shot so we had time to play.” Read more here. — Hilton Dresden

Quinta Brunson Dedicates Award to Aspiring Kids on TikTok

The award for best performance in a new scripted series went to Quinta Brunson for her role in Abbott Elementary. Brunson went on to recall how she got her start in the industry and dedicated the award to other inspiring creatives and children. “I’m very used to making Instagram videos with nothing with my phone,” she added. “I do want to dedicate this award to whatever kid out there right now is making a video on TikTok and the rest of the kids are telling them that you’re probably never gonna win an award anywhere. If you care about it enough and you respect the craft and the craft is important to you and you believe in it and you study it, that little TikTok video. … I hope that you know that with enough care for your craft, you can make it to win an award. So thank you guys so much.” Read more here. — Christy Piña, Carly Thomas

Women Dominate Acting Winners at First Gender-Neutral Ceremony

The Independent Spirit Awards became the latest awards show to hand out trophies in gender-neutral acting categories. At the celebration of independent film and TV in Santa Monica, three women and one man won in the lead and supporting acting categories, which combined the previous best actor/actress and supporting actor/actress honors. Each category featured 10 nominees. One of this year’s acting winners, Quinta Brunson, who won for best lead performance in a new scripted series for Abbott Elementary, said during her acceptance speech that she was in the gender-neutral category. “It’s kind of tight, in there with your peers,” she said. Read more here. — Christy Piña, Hilary Lewis

‘The Bear’ Team Thanks Restaurants When Accepting Honor

FX’s The Bear has taken home the award for best new scripted series, winning over fellow nominees The Bear, Pachinko, The Porter, Severance and Station Eleven. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On star Jenny Slate and Succession star Nicholas Braun presented the award onstage in Santa Monica. The Bear, which was created by Christopher Storer, follows struggling kitchen staffers in Chicago as they attempt to revamp their menu. Accepting the honor, the Bear team said, “It’s really special to make the show in Chicago. Thank you to the entire restaurant community, we wouldn’t be able to do this without you. [Thank you to the] front of house, back of house, all the chefs, the restaurateurs.” Read more here. — Hilton Dresden

Find a full list of the 2023 Spirit Award winners here.

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