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Ethan Hawke Wins Best Actor at the Spirit Awards, and the Oscar Should’ve Been Next

Cinephiles can take comfort knowing Ethan Hawke won at least one Best Actor trophy during Oscar weekend.

"First Reformed"

“First Reformed”

Ethan Hawke has won the Indie Spirit Award for Best Male Lead thanks to his performance in Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed.” The victory is the latest in a long line of award wins Hawke received this season, including Best Actor accolades from major critic groups such as the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Despite numerous award wins, Hawke was snubbed by the Academy and did not receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

The Indie Spirit Award nominees for Best Male Lead this year included Hawke, Joaquin Phoenix (“You Were Never Really Here”), John Cho (“Searching”), Daveed Diggs (“Blindspotting”), and Christian Malheiros (“Socrates”). None of the nominees managed to break into the Oscar race for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. The Academy instead nominated Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”), Christian Bale (“Vice”), Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”), Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”), and Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”).

While Hawke’s Oscar snub was one of the most painful this year, it’s at least confronting to know he was able to take home at least one Best Actor trophy on Oscar weekend. Hawke has earned acclaim from critics ever since “First Reformed” premiered at the 2017 Venice Film Festival. A24 waited to release the film until summer 2018. Schrader told the Los Angeles Times last month about what he told Hawke following his Oscar snub.

“If [First Reformed] wasn’t recognized, it would also be gratifying,” Schrader said. “I just got off the phone with Ethan Hawke, and I said, ‘Ethan, you’ve won. You may not have gotten nominated, but you won. Your performance has made an impact, and never forget that.’”

“First Reformed” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime, VOD, and Kanopy. The movie was also nominated for the Indie Spirit Awards for Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. Schrader is up for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay as well.

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