By Max O'Connell | Indiewire February 14, 2014 at 3:29PM
Patton Oswalt is one of the top comedians working today, and he's also a major film buff. For his gig hosting this year's Spirit Awards on March 1st in Santa Monica, he has a new plan to pay tribute to the year's best in independent film. Instead of giving out the Spirit Awards's usual bird-themed trophies, Oswalt said he plans on handing out live birds to the various winners. In a conference call with various media outlets today, Oswalt had a few things to say about 2013 in film and the upcoming event.
The Spirit Awards will air on IFC on March 1st at 10pm PT/ET.
He enjoys being part of an event that recognizes emerging talent and risk-taking. "For me, being the kind of film buff I am, this award show digs pretty deep in trying to find movies that took risks and rolled the dice. It rewards people that are clearly emerging and are going to be doing great stuff with their careers. What I also love is they keep an eye open for veterans like Robert Redford and Bruce Dern who continue to take risks and seek out challenging, different material. It's a continuation of that process of risk and independence that the Spirit Awards really embrace and try to bring attention to."
He has some favorites among the nominees. "'The Spectacular Now' I thought was fantastic. I hope 'Enough Said' wins everything it gets nominated for. The documentary 'The Act of Killing' was crucial -- hard to watch, but crucial. I really hope Bruce Dern wins for 'Nebraska,' because I thought he was amazing. That guy's had awards coming for a long time, in my opinion, so that would be great."
He learned things from hosting the Annie Awards in 2012. "I'm going to be very, very aware if someone reads the wrong card, that's for sure. Like that poor guy did, he read the wrong winner. I'll try, once again, to make a screw-up like that delightful."
He's not surprised by Matthew McConaughey's current hot streak. "Not at all. He kicked his career into turbo level the past few years. 'Killer Joe'... 'Mud'... 'Dallas Buyers Club'...he kills a three-hour movie with one scene, for god's sake, in 'The Wolf of Wall Street.' He's amazing. I didn't see it coming, but now that it's happening, he's become the most vital, best actor we've got working. And he's doing it now on all fronts. The only thing I can think of that he can do next is a play, and I wouldn't put that beyond him at this point."
He doesn't have a song-and-dance number planned. "I would never inflict that on the audience. No singing from me. I value the people in the audience too much."
He thinks the Spirit Awards are more than just an Oscar predictor. "I think it goes beyond that. I think the Spirit Awards are an important predictor of who you're going to be rooting for at the Oscars 10 years down the road. That's what makes it exciting for me. It's like giving an award for Martin Scorsese for 'Who's That Knocking at My Door.' It's at the beginning of the -- I hate to say -- journey, but that's what it is. These are the future masters that we're rewarding while they're going, and it makes it that much more crucial and stressful for me. I really want to do well by these guys. These are the people that are going to be making movies down the road that we'll be fighting over at the Oscars."
He doesn't anticipate blowback from animal welfare groups for the bird stunt. "Each bird is given its own suite at Shutters on the Beach and its own personal limo driver. And we're setting them up with their own personal Instagram and Vine accounts, so they're being treated very, very well. Little known fact: they were personally bred by Robert Redford."
He's prepared to ramp this stunt up. "If they let me host next year, I'm going to work up to mythological flying creatures. Pegasi, anything like that. That's the kind of grandeur the ceremony deserves."
He's actually afraid of birds. "I have a paralyzing fear of birds. I have two weeks to get over this lifelong terror I have. I don't think it'll affect my performance. We'll see!"
He probably won't be taking to social media following the ceremony. "I think after the awards show I'm going to be so drained, I'm gonna be in my sweatpants watching the Oscars."