Indie Spirits Set for April 2021 After Oscars Date Shift

Next year's celebration of independent film will still, per tradition, take place the day before the Oscars.
Independent Spirit Awards
Film Independent

The Film Independent Spirit Awards, which has traditionally been held the day before the Oscars, has followed the Academy’s lead and are now planning to hold its ceremony on April 24, 2021. The move comes after the Academy earlier this week pushed back the date of its 2021 ceremony by two months, from February 28 to April 25.

In announcing the 2021 ceremony’s date, Film Independent President Josh Welsh also shared information about which movies will be eligible for the annual celebration of indie film.

“Additionally, we will recognize films that were released between January 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021 in acknowledgement of the unique challenges the world of cinema, and the world as a whole, is currently experiencing,” Welsh said in a statement.

That moves the Indie Spirits’ eligibility window toward the one established by the Academy governors. For the Oscars, the idea is that studios will have extra time to finish their movies and postpone release dates without sacrificing their Oscar eligibility.

Last year saw the 35th edition of the Indie Spirits, which have long been held under a tent at Santa Monica Beach. The awards offer a chance for acclaimed films overlooked by the Academy to have a chance in the spotlight.

With 18 nominations, A24 led all studios at the 2020 awards, taking home awards for the Oscar-snubbed “The Farewell” and “Uncut Gems,” along with “The Lighthouse.”

Lulu Wang’s Chinese-American family drama “The Farewell” took home the prize for Best Film, while the Safdie brothers’ frenetic crime thriller “Uncut Gems” won three prizes: Best Actor for Adam Sandler, Best Director, and Best Editing.

“The Lighthouse,” which earned a cinematography Oscar nod, had the distinction of tying for the greatest number of Indie Spirit nominations with “Uncut Gems,” with five each. “The Lighthouse” earned an Indie Spirit for Best Supporting Actor for Willem Dafoe and Best Cinematography.

Aubrey Plaza, who was back last year to host for the second consecutive year, led a boisterous ceremony that poked fun at the higher profile event the next day.

“It’s so much better than the Oscars. It’s the daytime, we’re on the beach, we recognize female directors, all two of them!,” she said during her opening monologue.

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