This year, the Spirit Awards to provide Oscar counterpoint

This year, the Spirit Awards to provide Oscar counterpoint

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — After several years of increasing overlap with the Academy Awards, the Independent Film Spirit Awards will supply a counterpoint to the Oscars at its annual ceremony on Saturday.

The 31st annual Spirit Awards will kick off at 5 p.m. EST Saturday from its customary seaside tent in Santa Monica, California. The Spirits are always an informal, indie antidote to Sunday’s Oscars, but this year, the contrast between the back-to-back awards is starker than usual.

Whereas the Oscars are dealing with a second straight year of all-white acting nominees, the Spirit Awards — which celebrate films made for $20 million or less — have five non-white acting nominees out of 20. That includes the passed-over Idris Elba and his young co-star, Abraham Attah, from Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation.”

Though Spirit and Oscar winners have in recent years largely aligned in acting and best picture categories, this year, only one best-picture Oscar nominee is up for the Spirit Awards’ top honor. Tom McCarthy’s newspaper drama “Spotlight” is expected to be the big winner Saturday, where it will compete without the competition of larger budget Oscar favorites “The Revenant” or “The Big Short,” neither of which qualified for the Spirits.

“Spotlight” has already been chosen by the Spirits for this year’s Robert Altman Award, which honors a film’s ensemble cast.

The only Oscar acting favorite likely to win Saturday, too, is Brie Larson from “The Room.” Other nominees pull from Todd Haynes’ “Carol” (a leading six nods, including Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara for best actress) and Sean Baker’s four-time nominated “Tangerine” (including stars Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor).

For the second straight year, the Spirit Awards will be broadcast live on IFC. Hosting are Kate McKinnon from “Saturday Night Live” and the comedian Kumail Nanjiani.



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