According to Variety.com, 12 Years a Slave dominated the Independent Spirit Awards today, winning Best Feature, Best Director for Steve McQueen, Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong’o and Best Adapted Screenplay for John Ridley. 12 Years also took the cinematography award for Sean Bobbitt. McQueen dedicated his Best Director award to Solomon Northup, whose life and book was the basis for the searing historical drama, and also gave thanks to Chiwetel Ejiofor — the “soul” of the film.
In her acceptance speech, a composed Nyong’o said breathlessly that she had not been aware initially of the distinction of independent films, but said she then realized, “Independent film is where stuff actually happens.” Nyong’o noted that it was her birthday and concluded her speech by thanking her mother for supporting her choice to become an actress.
Fruitvale Station finally gained some much-deserved recognition this awards season, winning Best First Feature for writer/director Ryan Coogler and its cast. Coogler gave a moving acceptance speech honoring Oscar Grant that received a standing ovation.
Matthew McConaughey won the best actor trophy as an activist for Dallas Buyers Club and Cate Blanchett took the best actress award for her portrayal of the neurotic title character in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. A full list of winners appears below.
In order to be nominated, each film has to have less than a $20 million production budget. To vote, one need only buy a $95 per year membership in Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival.