“Saturday Night Live” star Melissa Villaseñor will host the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards on April 22, the organization announced on Monday.
She will host the first primetime version of the Spirit Awards, which this year will air on IFC on the Thursday night before the Oscars instead of the traditional Saturday afternoon event near the Santa Monica pier.
“As someone who considers herself a pretty dependent person, I’m truly honored to host the Film Independent Spirit Awards,” said Villaseñor, who in 2016 made history by becoming the first-ever Latina cast member on the long-running NBC show.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Melissa Villaseñor into the club of smart, funny film lovers to host the Spirit Awards,” Film Independent President Josh Welsh added in a statement. “The time to laugh has definitely arrived, and not a moment too soon.”
The organization also announced a Directors Close-Up program offering in-depth panel discussions with filmmakers comprised of 100% Spirit Award nominee panelists.
Past Spirit Awards hosts have included Aubrey Plaza, Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, Kate McKinnon and Kumail Nanjiani, Fred Armisen and Kristen Bell, Patton Oswalt, Andy Samberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Queen Latifah and Sarah Silverman.
Joel Gallen of Tenth Planet Production is executive producing and directing the show for the seventh consecutive year. Shawn Davis also returns as executive producer for his 19th year, while Rick Austin will return as producer for his sixth year and Danielle Federico and Andrew Schaff return as co-producers.
Villaseñor got her start as a semifinalist on “America’s Got Talent” and has since voiced characters in animated shows and films like “Toy Story 4” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” She has also appeared as herself on Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and has starred in projects such as “Hubie Halloween,” “Barry” and “Crashing.” She is currently working on her first book.