5 highlights worth mentioning from the 2019 Indie Spirit Awards


The 2019 Independent Spirit Awards may be over but let’s look at five moments that made us laugh and put a smile on our face.

Saturday was a surreal blur. If you’re given the opportunity to hang out at an awards show you shouldn’t be surprised that things look a bit blurry after awhile. You’re hanging out among some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.

But that’s how I found myself driving down to the beautiful Santa Monica Pier to cover the 2019 Independent Spirit Awards. Held in a series of tents on the beach, the Indie Spirits keep things light — though not sartorially considering how cold and windy it was.

The amount of big names who dropped in, several of whom might be winning Oscars in a few hours, was mind-boggling: Glenn Close, Alfonso Cuaron, Richard E. Grant, Barry Jenkins, and more.

We spent the day live-tweeting and posting photos from the event, but now that things have finally calmed down let’s look at the amazing moments captured both on (and off) screen at this year’s Indie Spirits!

Talking representation with Kate Siegal

You can immediately tell the Indie Spirits are different by the unrolling of a blue carpet for celebs to walk down. For reporters and fans, it was the opportunity to get their film glimpse at host Aubrey Plaza, as well as guests like Jon Hamm, Marisa Tomei, and Sterling K. Brown. The carpet itself was a subdued affair, with many stars not stopping for all press — though I had a great interaction with John Waters — but one gracious actress who did have a minute to chat was The Haunting of Hill House’s Kate Siegal.

Siegal and I didn’t talk about her fantastic performance in Hill House, but her 2016 horror film Hush wherein she plays a deaf woman terrorized by a killer. We discussed the nature of disabled representation with Siegal, saying she feels bad now because she was unaware of the deaf community’s outrage over her playing the character.

As Siegal says, the role wouldn’t be something she’d do now, but would instead fight for the casting of an actual disabled performer. As someone who writes about disabled representation, hearing a humbling apology from a performer is amazing. If I didn’t already love her, this cemented it.

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 23: (L-R) Aubrey Plaza and Dakota Johnson speak during the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 23, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Aubrey Plaza’s cold open

Aubrey Plaza set the tone for a show that understood it was this year’s anti-Oscars. A pre-recorded opening saw Plaza, along with actresses Rosanna Arquette, Christina Ricci, Sharon Stone, and Marcia Gay Harden, infamously sacrificing a virgin with a knife made from the gold of Gay Harden’s Oscar. Dragged along for the ride was a frightened Brian Tyree Henry — frightened more because “I know I’m gonna get blamed for this.”

The open was not only hilarious but emphasized the history of women’s marginalization when it comes to awards and awards hosting. Couple that with Plaza’s constant deadpan humor and a blistering monologue that took a potshot at everyone from the Academy to Bryan Singer, and the Indie Spirits showed us all what an awards show could be.

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 23: Richard E. Grant attends the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 23, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Richard E. Grant

Richard E. Grant has been winning this awards season even if he isn’t physically winning actual awards. If you look at his Twitter feed, the sheer joy he’s showing off by just being invited to events and getting to celebrate his work has been such a balm to the soul. At the Indie Spirits, he was a shoo-in for Best Supporting Actor, taking home the prize for his rawdy yet empathetic portrayal of Jack Hawk in Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Grant’s speech was nothing short of beautiful, discussing how Jack Hawk and his performance is a tribute to the “generation” of men “wiped out” by the AIDS virus in the ’80s. This need for reverence continued when Grant entered the press room. He told us a touching story about how there’s not even a known photo of Hawk as no family has ever come forward despite the film’s success. Seeing Grant take up the mantle of this abandoned man during his awards season has been so touching and truly left an impression on all of us.

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 23: Glenn Close attends the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 23, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Glenn and Pippin Close

We all know Glenn Close is going to win the Oscar, and we certainly knew she’d be walking away with the Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Actress. But before she even sat down in her seat she was walking the blue carpet with her date for the evening, her adorable dog Pippin. When Close won, the press room wasn’t just shouting for her success, we were all hoping she would take Pippin up with her; he so obviously wanted to go along.

When she gestured to let the dog off the leash, I haven’t heard a group of people cheer louder. I think us press were more excited for the dog than any of the winners. Pip stole the show, rolling on the floor during Close’s speech and that scene-stealing quality continued when the actress came to the press room to answer questions. Pip proceeded to scamper throughout the room, letting journalists pet him. (I got a chance to give him a gentle pat on the head.) He definitely wins the award for Best Boy! Fingers crossed Close takes her good luck charm with her to the Oscars.

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 23: Barry Jenkins accepts the Best Director award for ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ onstage during the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 23, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Running into Regina Hall and Barry Jenkins

Unless you’re inside the room where the ceremony takes place there’s not a lot of opportunities to hobnob with the celebs in the press room. But, if you’re heading to the valet area you might just get lucky. Because of my prime parking placement, I ended up leaving the back way which conveniently is in the same area the stars exit. I turned around to discover Barry Jenkins, winner of Best Director and Feature for If Beale Street Could Talk, was behind me. He graciously shook my hand and was just amazing. The best part was coming around the corner right as Toni Collette, Marielle Heller and Regina Hall were exiting. All three were eager to get to their cars so I refrained from saying hello, but just being in their presence was the mother of surreal moments. Is this my life? The Indie Spirits certainly gave me a lot to look forward to for next year.

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