'Moonlight' pushes 'La La Land' from spotlight at Spirit Awards 2017 images

One night before the Oscars, “La La Land” had to take a backseat to “Moonlight” at the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The film took six awards even pushing the other Academy Award favorite “Manchester by the Sea” back. It won every award it was nominated for at the 32nd Annual indie award show.

“Moonlight” focuses on a young black boy living in an impoverished Miami neighborhood as he deals with his sexuality won for best feature, best director and best screenplay for Barry Jenkins, who wrote and directed it. Film also won for cinematography and edition along with ensemble cast.

”This movie exists as a beacon of inclusivity,” Jenkins said.

Now, the film goes into competition for eight Oscars Sunday night, including Best Picture.

barry jenkins received spirit award for moonlight

The Spirit Awards has seen the last three winners for Best Feature (Spotlight, Birdman, 12 Years A Slave) go on to win the Best Picture Oscar, so odds are up for “Moonlight.”

As with every award show, politics does come into the picture. Casey Affleck, who won best actor for “Manchester by the Sea,” wore a shirt with the word “love” in Arabic.

“The policies of this administration are abhorrent and will not last,” said Affleck, accepting his award. Backstage, he spoke about “the torrent of terrifying news that comes out of Washington every day”

Host Nick Kroll and John Mulaney maintained a rigorously irreverent tone through a ceremony often punctuated by belly laughs. In their opening monologue, Kroll mockingly defended the common charge of “liberal elitism” often thrown at Hollywood events like the Spirits.

“We’re not in a bubble. We’re in a tent,” said Kroll, referring to the Spirits’ Santa Monica, Calif., home. “We’re fringe artists on a California beach. If we leaned any further to the left, we’d topple into the ocean.”

Instead of a lengthy in memoriam reel, they opted instead for a highlight of those who didn’t die, singling out Milos Foreman and Tim Allen while Andy Samberg, doing his best Eddie Vedder, sang Pearl Jam’s “Alive.”

Best actress went to Isabelle Huppert, the French actress of “Elle,” who bested Natalie Portman and Annette Bening. Just as Affleck wasn’t up against Oscar favorite Denzel Washington in best actor, the best actress category was missing Emma Stone of “La La Land.”

Molly Shannon, the former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, supplied one of the afternoon’s highpoints. She was visibly overjoyed by winning best-supporting actress for her performance in “Other People.” She concluded her speech by exclaiming, “I really truly feel like a … SUPERSTAR!” – aping her old “SNL” character.

Other awards also went to films far outside the Oscar candidates. Robert Eggers’ well-researched “The Witch,” set in 17th century Massachusetts, won for both best first feature and best first screenplay. He thanked the Puritans for “writing down so much stuff.”

Ezra Edelman’s “O.J.: Made in America” took best documentary. Best foreign language film went to Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann.”

The Cassavetes Award, which honors the best feature made for less than $500,000 went to Andrew Ahn’s Korean gay-immigrant drama “Spa Night.” Taking the stage, Ahn first remarked, “I’m going to barf,” but quickly collected himself, speaking tenderly about his parents’ acceptance of their gay son and the need for acceptance of immigrants, gays and other communities.

“We are part of this great country,” said Ahn. “And we are undeniable.”

Full list of 2017 Spirit Awards Winner (winners are bolded):

BEST FEATURE
Moonlight
Jackie
Manchester by the Sea
American Honey
Chronic

BEST DIRECTOR
Andrea Arnold – American Honey
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Pablo Larrain – Jackie
Jeff Nichols – Loving
Kelly Reichardt – Certain Women

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Annette Bening – 20th Century Women
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Sasha Lane – American Honey
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie

BEST MALE LEAD
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
David Harewood – Free In Deed
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Jesse Plemons – Other People
Tim Roth – Chronic

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Edwina Findley – Free In Deed
Paulina Garcia – Little Men
Lily Gladstone – Certain Women
Riley Keough – American Honey
Molly Shannon – Other People

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Ralph Fiennes – A Bigger Splash
Ben Foster – Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
Shia LaBeouf – American Honey
Craig Robinson – Morris from America

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Swiss Army Man
The Childhood of a Leader
The Fits
Other People
The Witch

BEST SCREENPLAY
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Mike Mills – 20th Century Women
Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias – Little Men
Taylor Sheridan – Hell or High Water

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Robert Eggers – The Witch
Chris Kelly – Other People
Adam Mansbach – Barry
Stella Meghie – Jean of the Joneses
Craig Shilowich – Christine

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Ava Berkofsky – Free In Deed
Lol Crawley – The Childhood of a Leader
Zach Kuperstein – The Eyes of My Mother
James Laxton – Moonlight
Robbie Ryan – American Honey

BEST EDITING
Matthew Hannam – Swiss Army Man
Jennifer Lame – Manchester by the Sea
Joi McMillon & Nat Sanders – Moonlight
Jake Roberts – Hell or High Water
Sebastián Sepúlveda – Jackie

BEST DOCUMENTARY
The 13th
Cameraperson
I Am Not Your Negro
O.J.: Made in America
Sonita
Under the Sun

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
Aquarius (Brazil)
Chevalier (Greece)
My Golden Days (France)
Toni Erdmann (Germany and Romania)
Under the Shadow (Iran and U.K.)

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD (Best Ensemble)
Moonlight

JOHN CASSAVETTES AWARD (Best Feature Made For Under $5,000)
Free In Deed
Hunter Gatherer
Lovesong
Nakom
Spa Night

KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Andrew Ahn – Spa Night
Claire Carré – Embers
Anna Rose Holmer – The Fits
Ingrid Jungermann – Women Who Kill

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