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Casey Affleck Wins the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead

The "Manchester By The Sea" star got political for the first time in accepting an award, calling the Trump Administration's policies "abhorrent."

Casey Affleck 32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards, Show, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, USA - 25 Feb 2017

Casey Affleck
32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards, Show, Sant


Casey Affleck has won the Best Male Lead at the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards for his starring role in Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester By the Sea.” In accepting the award Affleck decided to get political for the first time in one of his many speeches this award season.

READ MORE: IndieWire’s Final Oscar 2017 Predictions: ‘La La Land’ Will Win Nine of Its 14 Nominations

“The policies of this administration are abhorrent and they will not last,” said Affleck, who applauded the many people in the room for having used their voices to speak up.  

Affleck was admittedly not comfortable getting political on stage, saying beforehand that he knows this is something better whispered to himself in the bathroom.  He also quoted Marian Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund and mother of Ezra Edelman the director of “OJ: Made in America.”

“It’s a time to struggle for the soul of our nation,” said Affleck, quoting a piece recently written by Edelman.

Affleck’s competition today was different than it will be tomorrow night at the Oscars, where he’s projected to be in an extremely close race with “Fences” star Denzel Washington.  Also nominated for the Spirit Award for Best Male Lead were David Harewood (“Free In Deed”), Viggo Mortensen (“Captain Fantastic”), Jesse Plemons (“Other People”), and Tim Roth (“Chronic”).

Affleck was the heavy favorite to win today.  Earlier this week when IndieWire polled 119 critics the the “Manchester” star was seen as both the actor that would and should win the Spirit Award.  It’s Affleck’s amazing 28th Best Acting prize this awards season.

READ MORE: 2017 Independent Spirit Awards: Who Will Win and Who Should Win — Critics Survey

The Spirit Awards are different than the dozens of other awards leading up to the Academy Awards as they are specifically designed to celebrate the best of independent film. “Independent” is defined by the rules committee as meaning uniqueness of vision, original/provocative subject matter, and made for less that $20 million (which is why “La La Land” was ineligible this year). Film Independent and IFP Members vote on the winners.

As has become a tradition, the 32nd Annual Spirit Awards were held in a beachfront tent next to the Santa Monica Pier the Saturday afternoon before the Academy Awards. Comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney hosted the show.

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