SANTA MONICA, Calif. /March 3, 2018 (AP)(STL.News) — The last four years, the film to win best feature Saturday at the Film Independent Spirit Awards has gone on to win best picture Sunday at the Oscars. Three of this year’s nominees — “Get Out,” ”Lady Bird” and “Call Me by Your Name” — have a shot at continuing the streak.
They are, along with “The Florida Project” and “The Rider,” nominated for the Spirit Awards’ top honor. In what’s considered an unusually close Academy Awards race, the Spirits could help clarify which film has the strongest support from the indie film community. “12 Years a Slave,” ”Birdman,” ”Spotlight” and “Moonlight” all preceded their Oscar triumphs with a Spirit Awards win.
Held inside a beachside tent in Santa Monica, Calif., the Spirit Awards are more relaxed and dressed-down than Sunday’s Oscars. The 33rd edition of the ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. PST and be broadcast live on IFC. Returning as hosts are Nick Kroll and John Mulaney.
Luca Guadagnino’s coming-of-age romance “Call Me By Your Name” comes in with a leading six nominations. The Robert Pattinson-led thriller “Good Time” and Jordan Peele’s horror sensation “Get Out” follow with five each.
The Spirit Awards cap nominees at a budget of $20 million or less, which eliminates some bigger-budget awards contenders like “Dunkirk.” But the film many consider the Oscar front-runner — Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” up for a leading 13 nominations Sunday — was completely overlooked by the Spirits. Though its lavish production design and technical craft suggest a higher budget, it was made for $19.5 million.
Oscar favorite “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” failed to crack the Spirits’ top category, but Martin McDonagh (screenplay), Frances McDormand (actress) and Sam Rockwell (supporting actor) are all nominated.
Dee Rees’ “Mudbound” will receive the Robert Altman Award, an ensemble honor given to one film’s director, casting director and cast.
Much of the ceremony is often spent celebrating the passionate and thrifty art of independent film. But “Get Out” is more blockbuster than art house. Made for just $4.5 million, it has grossed $255 million worldwide.
Winners are chosen by Film Independent, which includes critics, filmmakers, actors, festival programmers, past winners and nominees, and members of its board.