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32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards: Moonlight takes six awards

Moonlight

Story by Jack Foley

BARRY Jenkins’ gay coming-of-age drama Moonlight has emerged as the big winner at the 32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards, claiming a total of six trophies.

In addition to taking the top prize of best film, the drama also won in every category for which it was nominated.

Jenkins was named best director and, along with playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, also picked up the best screenplay award. The film also claimed best cinematography (for James Laxton), who told Jenkins: “Thank you for existing on this planet.”

And the best editing trophy was given to Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon.

Moonlight was also presented with the previously announced Robert Altman Award, given to a film’s director, cast and its casting director, Yesi Ramirez.

Speaking on behalf of his fellow cast members, actor Andre Holland praised Jenkins and McCraney for believing that “poetry and beauty and elevation of thought and complexity of feeling are worthwhile things to explore”.

Of the ceremony’s other notable prizes, Casey Affleck claimed best actor for his role in Manchester By The Sea.

Upon accepting his prize, he took the opportunity to take a pot-shot at US President Donald Trump and the policies of his administration, saying: “The policies of this administration are abhorrent, and they will not last. They are really un-American. I know this feels preachy and boring, and I’m preaching to the choir, but I’m just adding my voice to the chorus.”

Best actress winner Isabelle Huppert, who was recognised for her portrayal of a rape victim who refuses to be victimized in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, said: “It’s independence that makes art win.”

Ben Foster was named best supporting actor for his ex-con bank robber in Hell or High Water, while Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon was named best supporting actress for playing a mother dying of cancer in Other People.

She said in her speech: “Cancer has become a part of so many people’s lives. I think these stories can be the most necessary kinds of stories to tell.”

Ezra Edelman’s epic documentary OJ: Made in America continued its awards season winning streak as it was named best documentary, while Maren Ade earned the prize for best international film for her father-daughter comedy Toni Erdmann, which is shortly to be the focus of a Hollywood remake starring Jack Nicholson.

Robert Eggers’ The Witch, a period horror movie focusing on a haunted Puritan family in 17th Century New England, was hailed as both best first feature and best first screenplay.

Three filmmaker grants, which were announced last month, were also awarded: Jordana Mollick won the Piaget Producers Award; Anna Rose Holmer, director of The Fits, won the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award; and Nanfu Wang, director of Hooligan Sparrow, won the Truer Than Fiction Award.

The Independent Spirit Awards were held on Saturday afternoon (February 25, 2017) in a beachside tent in Santa Monica.

The winners (and nominees) in full (winners appear in bold)

Best Feature
Moonlight
American Honey
Chronic
Jackie
Manchester By The Sea

Best Director
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Andrea Arnold, American Honey
Pablo Larrain, Jackie
Jeff Nichols, Loving
Kelly Reichardt, Certain Women

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 Female Lead
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Sasha Lane, American Honey
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie

Best Supporting Male
Ben Foster, Hell or High Water
Ralph Fiennes, A Bigger Splash
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Shia LaBeouf, American Honey
Craig Robinson, Morris from America

Best Supporting Female
Molly Shannon, Other People
Edwina Findley, Free in Deed
Paulina Garcia, Little Men
Lily Gladstone, Certain Women
Riley Keough, American Honey

Best Screenplay
Barry Jenkins, story by Tarell Alvin McCraney, 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 Feature
The Witch
The Childhood of a Leader
The Fits
Other People
Swiss Army Man

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

Best Editing
Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders, Moonlight
Matthew Hannam, Swiss Army Man
Jennifer Lame, Manchester by the Sea
Jake Roberts, Hell or High Water
Sebastian Sepulveda, Jackie

Best Documentary
OJ: Made in America
13th
Cameraperson
I Am Not Your Negro
Sonita

Best International Film
Toni Erdmann
Aquarius
Chevalier
My Golden Days
Under the Shadow

Robert Altman Award
Moonlight

John Cassavetes Award
(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive producers are not awarded)
Spa Night