Kotsur, ‘Summer of Soul’ take early Indie Spirit Awards

“CODA’s” Troy Kotsur and the documentary “Summer of Soul” were among the early winners at the 37th Film Independent Spirit Awards Sunday. The ceremony hosted by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally was held in a tent by the beach in Santa Monica, broadcast on AMC and IFC.

“If you don’t win, you can just walk straight into the ocean,” Offerman said.

Mullally and Offerman got the show off to a lively start, both in three piece suits and vests with no shirt underneath. Sarah Silverman made an appearance in a pre-taped segment offering her services as a backup host because Mullally and Offerman joined Twitter “before 2015.”

The married co-hosts said they’d hoped to be the biggest Hollywood couple in the room and were dismayed that Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard were there to upstage them.

“A-listers and indie stars? Pick a lane you greedy bastards,” Offerman said.

They acknowledged Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Offerman said he hopes “Putin (expletive) off and goes home” and implored the audience to send him off with a “Spirit Awards salute.” Many raised their hands with a middle finger.

Historically, the Spirit Awards are held on the Saturday afternoon before the Oscars, but this year was moved up a few weeks.

“Summer of Soul” won best documentary. The film brings back to life the largely forgotten Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969.

“I’m not going to cry right now, I’m not, I’m not,” “Summer of Soul” director Questlove said.

Troy Kotsur got another boost before the Oscars, winning best supporting actor for “CODA.” He also won the Screen Actors Guild prize.

“I can feel the spirit of the arts and we can celebrate together,” Kotsur said.

Marlee Matlin, who presented the first screenplay award to Michael Sarnoski for “Pig,” implored the screenwriters to think of deaf actors when crafting scripts.

The show can sometimes serve as a preview of what will happen on Oscar night. Last year, Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” picked up best feature and director at the Indie Spirits before going on to win the top prizes at the Oscars. “Moonlight,” “Spotlight,” “Birdman” and “12 Years a Slave” also all won at the Spirits before taking best picture at the Oscars.

Because of their production budgets, many top awards contenders this year were not eligible, including “Belfast,” “King Richard” and “The Power of the Dog.” To be considered, films must have cost less than $22.5 million to make.

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