Spirit Awards Return to Saturday at the Beach

After relocating for a year to downtown L.A., the show goes back to its traditional tent in Santa Monica, on Feb. 26

It’s back to the beach for the Spirit Awards.

A year after moving to downtown Los Angeles and staging its 25th anniversary Film Independent Spirit Awards as a Friday night show on the roof of a parking garage at the L.A. LIVE complex, Film Independent has announced that it will take its annual salute to independent film back to what had become its traditional site and time: the Saturday afternoon before the Oscars, in a tent on the Santa Monica beach.

Spirit AwardsThe show will take place on Feb. 26, 2011, with red-carpet arrivals beginning at 11:30 a.m. and the show itself scheduled for 2 p.m. The ceremony will air that night at 10 p.m. ET/PT on IFC.

When the Spirit Awards were moved last year, FIND executive director Dawn Hudson said that no decisions had been made about future shows, and that the awards might well return to the beach. The downtown location was not particularly well-received by Spirit Awards vets.

By contrast, FIND’s Los Angeles Film Festival also moved to the L.A. LIVE complex in 2010; that move was widely praised, and next year’s LAFF will again take place downtown.

“We are delighted to return to the Santa Monica beach for our 26th Spirit Awards, and look forward to celebrating the afternoon with the nominees and our filmmaking community,” said Hudson in a press release announcing the move. “We have assembled a magnificent team with our longtime broadcast partner IFC, dick clark productions, and new executive producer Audrey Morrissey to deliver a fun show that recognizes the bold work of these independent filmmakers.”

Another aspect of the last Spirit Awards not likely to get an encore: emcee Eddie Izzard, whose rants about religion fell flat at the last ceremony.