The inaugural IndieWire Honors was certainly a night to remember: The glamorous shindig celebrated six of IndieWire’s most lauded stars of the year, hand-picked by IndieWire’s editorial team: Mary J. Blige, Kumail Nanjiani, Sterling K. Brown, James Franco, Diane Kruger, and Issa Rae. The evening was hosted by comedian Nick Thune.
The honorees kept their acceptance speeches short and sweet. Sterling K. Brown was particularly happy for the chance to properly thank his wife, having been cut off early during his Emmys acceptance speech. Receiving the Creative Independence award, Kumail Nanjiani thanked his writing partner and wife Emily V. Gordon, joking: “I think at least 20 percent of this is yours. I know you have two master’s degrees, but I think this makes us even.”
In addition to the announced honorees, “Broad City” creator and star Abbi Jacobson received a welcome surprise when she won the Harold Ramis Film School Comedic Storytelling prize. “I haven’t gotten an award ever,” she said.
Watch all of the acceptance speeches from the first IndieWire Honors below:
Mary J. Blige — Breakthrough Performance (Film):
“I didn’t see this coming. Thank you so much, Dee Rees, for trusting me with the work… When we shot the movie, I was in hell, so I gave Florence all my hell, all my heaven, all my everything.”
James Franco — Vanguard Award (Film):
“I want to thank my friend and former editor Eric Kohn — full disclosure, I used to write movie reviews for IndieWire, only the most obscure movies… I like to think that I had early training for playing twins on ‘The Deuce’ by writing as James and Semaj, so thank you, IndieWire for that.”
Sterling K. Brown — Lead Performance (Television):
“It’s been a joy to make you guys laugh week in and week out on ‘This Is Us.’ I know we’re known for the yuks, I promise to keep ’em coming.”
Diane Kruger — Lead Performance (Film):
“I am truly humbled by this recognition, I share this with my amazing director, Fatih Akin… You’re shining a light on all the victims and survivors of terrorist attacks, so thank you.”
Kumail Nanjiani — Creative Independence Award (Film):
“I want to say I’m very excited to get the Creative Independence Award, but I did not make my movie alone… Emily V. Gordon, without you, I would not be here. I want to say at least 20 percent of this is yours…I know you have two master’s degrees, but I think now we’re even.”
Issa Rae — Vanguard Award (Television):
“I created a web series because I wanted to continue to talk shit about how I wasn’t seeing people of color… To be able to…create a show that’s wholly black and to be able to feel connected is such a huge honor.”
Abbi Jacobson — Harold Ramis Film School Comedic Storytelling Prize:
IndieWire Honors is presented by Vizio and DTS with premier support from Harold Ramis Film School at The Second City.