TheWrap had elite access at Saturday afternoon’s Independent Spirit Awards.
The Party Report was seated front and center with Stella Artois, who presented the Spirits’ “The Truer than Fiction” award. The awards base camp was so close to the stage it had up-close views of Hollywood’s A-list, including Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The location even had one seat-neighbor too nervous to look at her phone in fear that host Patton Oswalt would be permanently pissed if he caught her in head-down mode during his opening monologue.
Here’s the best stolen scenes and missed moments from inside the room. There will be no warning shots. On the fluke chance you’re reading about the Spirit Awards but don’t want to know who wins, consider this your spoiler alert.
Stealth = Secret
Both Brad Pitt and Jeremy Renner flexed a secret skill honed by their veteran star status – walk alone.
Renner cut through the carpet hugging the wall alone and undisturbed, while Pitt snuck a mid-show pit stop to the golf trailers, speed walking to avoided all interactions. Renner used the “found time” to his advantage, spending the entire pre-show with the most popular guy in the tent – John Waters (above).
“Gravity” vs. “12 Years”
Warner Bros. President Sue Kroll (above left, heading the studio behind Oscar frontrunner “Gravity”) and Fox Searchlight co-president Stephen Gilula (above right, behind Oscar frontrunner “12 Years a Slave”, which won the top prize Saturday) spent the after-show frenzy hanging out in the “12 Years” section.
Post-Carpet Shoe Switch
Moments after walking the long carpet, nominee Yolonda Ross quickly pulled a costume change. She snagged some New Balances from the gifting suite and was wearing them fearlessly, while someone in her crew carried her heels.
June Squibb: ‘Get Me Back to Work”
“I do want to work. I had some things offered, but I didn’t do them because of all of this. I really wanted to be a part of this (awards season) for the whole thing. I’m ready now. I’m very eager now to get back to work.” – Best Supporting Actress nominee June Squibb telling TheWrap about her journey over the past few months, on the day before Awards Season ends.
Squibb’s Oscar night date is her son. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.)
Early Call Time
The first award of the day went out at 11:30 a.m., almost two hours before the show started.
Patrick Creadon received $25,000 in cash with his trophy, as part of the “Bright Future” award. “Now I can drink, I’ve already done my speeches,” Creadon told TheWrap around noon. “I’m looking for a spicy bloody mary around here. Have you guys seen one?”
Still Partners in Crime
When Matthew McConaughey won for Best Actor, Jared Leto was the first person to start the standing ovation. After giving his awards season sign off of “Just Keep Livin’,” McConaughey walked off the stage back to his table, before someone came and collared him to hit the press room.
Hits the Spot
As Michael Fassbender entered the compound from the frenzy outside, the sometimes stoic actor grabbed a Stella Artois right away. “I needed this.”
Brad Blowing Kisses
The “12 Years a Slave” section in the front of the house was huge, spanning several tables. When Pitt was on his way to the stage to accept with fellow producer Dede Gardner and director Steve McQueen, he was blowing kisses to that section. He kept it up while on stage.
The two producers sat next to each other, while earlier in the day the seat next to Pitt only said “Talent Guest,” not “Angelina Jolie.”
The Longer the Better
There was no cut-it-off music or “Wrap Up Please” on the teleprompters for winners.
Producers let winners go on as long as they wanted and two of the best both approached the length of an act of episodic television.
Jared Leto’s joke was spending four minutes thanking non-traditional influences (e.g. Mozart, Steve Jobs, “all the women who think they’ve been with me”), while Ryan Coogler went almost seven minutes, holding the room with a monologue about unarmed victims of gun violence. “They always look like me, or Michael (B. Jordan), or Ephraim (Walker, a consultant on the film), or (“Short Term 12’s”) Keith Stanfield.
The room tone shifted when Coogler said that a recent victim would be alive if he “looked like Matthew McConaughey.”
One of the loudest “Woots” of the afternoon came when Coogler won for “Best First Feature.” Octvia Spencer, who played Michael B. Jordan’s mother in the film and whom Coogler credited with getting on the phone to fundraise mid-shoot, was actually the presenter for the award. Spencer got to enjoy the celebration on stage.
Diego and Dawson
Presenters Diego Luna and Rosario Dawson were laughing and chatting in the dark throughout the nominees package for “Best International Film” (which went to the Oscar-ineligible “Blue is the Warmest Color”). Nobody from “Blue” accepted and so it’s unlikely this will make air.
Elvis Has Left the Building
Elvis Mitchell (enjoying a cigar) and Phillip Bloch taking a breather outside the tent mid-show.
With minutes to go in the ceremony, the rain was tip-tapping on the tent. Immediately, the temperature in the tent dropped by about 15 degrees, as if entering a walk-in refrigerator.
The Film Independent Spirit Awards premiere on IFC on Saturday night, March 1 at 10 p.m. EST/PST, before repeats.
June Squibb photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images. All others by Mikey Glazer.