Beach, gowns, and cocktails—what's not to love about the Film Independent Spirit Awards? Indeed, annually held on the eve of the Oscars (last night), a few of this year’s nominees, including Cate Blanchett and Brie Larson seemed to let loose while celebrating indie filmmaking in Santa Monica, Calif.
Blanchett, who was nominated for Best Female Lead for Carol, sauntered down the blue carpet in an embellished sheer Gucci dress. As Blanchett made her way inside the white constructed tent where the ceremony was held, she threw on a pair of colorful shades with panache, and smiled and waved to fans.
Cynthia Nixon, who was up for Best Supporting Female for James White, was beaming in a flowy Rachel Comey dress as we talked to her before the show. “It’s nice to be at the beach coming from New York in February,” she told us with a laugh. “This is incredible, and I’m excited to get in the tent and see old friends and meet people whose work I’ve admired this year. I think it should be a fun time.”
And don't forget about the dapper men like Idris Elba who was as handsome as ever despite his preparation for Beasts of No Nation. His preparation for the film was what we'd like to do every winter (minus the hair): "I ate a lot!" he said. "I got really fat and there was no real physical preparation if I’m honest; it was all a cerebral exercise. I did have a weird hair cut and that was hard to wear every day."
Then there was Larson, who dazzled in a beaded Chanel dress and had made the awards show a date night with her boyfriend Alex Greenwald (a musician). She ended up taking home the award for Room over Blanchett and a tough crowd of other nominees. The actress dished in the press room after her big win about the whirlwind of awards season. “It’s really hard to fully understand and accept these things in the moment,” she said. “It all just feels like a bizarre and incredible, loving dream that I keep thinking I’m going to wake from, and nothing that I do is waking me up.”
Meanwhile, Tangerine star Mya Taylor, who won for Best Supporting Actress in an ivory Adrianna Papell beaded gown, also chatted with reporters following her history-making win, saying how “accomplished” she felt winning the award and what it meant for her to have the trophy in hand. “When I look at acting, I don’t look at the money or the fame or anything like that,” the transgender actress said. “I went through a very, very hard struggle and, for me, I just feel like when I do stuff like this, I have to let other people know. You can do whatever you put your mind to.”
Overcoming the odds and creating change within the film industry appeared to be the big theme of the night. Criminal Minds star Aisha Tyler, who doubles as an independent filmmaker, talked to us about just that, saying, “Independent films, that’s where you see diversity. That’s where you see a breadth of stories and perspectives. This is where we need to be as an industry. So, it’s great to be here to celebrate this because great independent film eventually makes great non-independent film.”
Here’s hoping the rest of Hollywood is taking note.