‘Spotlight’ Triumphs at Independent Spirit Awards

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Source: Anonymous Content/First Look Media

Source: Anonymous Content/First Look Media

Spotlight, the gripping drama that recounts The Boston Globe‘s efforts to uncover sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, has triumphed at the Independent Spirit Awards, winning five trophies.

The movie, which stars Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton and Liev Schreiber, nabbed the honor of Best Feature at the beachside ceremony in Santa Monica, California, on Saturday.

The awards show, organized by Film Independent, also addressed the diversity issue in Hollywood by rewarding first-time performers, including black transgender actress Mya Taylor, with top awards.

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The show’s hosts, Saturday Night Live‘s Kate McKinnon and Silicon Valley‘s Kumail Nanjiani, poked fun at the Oscar’s diversity controversy, and McKinnon joked, “We’re going to do everything you can’t do at the Oscars. We’re going to nominate some nominees that aren’t white.”

Spotlight was the evening’s biggest winner, walking away with Best Feature, Best Director for Tom McCarthy, Best Screenplay, Best Editing and the Robert Altman Award for Best Ensemble.

Producer Michael Sugar said as he accepted the Best Feature award, “It’s very rare to make a movie that impacts the world as significantly as this one has.”

The reporters and editors from The Boston Globe were also present at the awards ceremony, and the movie’s director McCarthy told them to stand up and take a bow. He also paid tribute to his cast, and said as he accepted the Robert Altman award, “I needed this cast, and these guys signed on so quickly.”

The awards show made history on Saturday, by honoring the first transgender actress with a major acting gong. Mya Taylor, recognized for her role in indie-movie Tangerine, told the audience as she collected her Best Supporting Female award, “There is transgender talent. There’s very beautiful transgender talent. So you better get out there and put it in your next movie.”

Youngster Abraham Attah from Ghana nabbed the top acting award, winning Best Male Lead for playing child soldier Agu in Beasts of No Nation, while Brit Idris Elba won Best Supporting Male for his role as warlord Commandant in the film that was bought and released by Netflix. Elba brought Abraham up on stage as he collected his acting gong, and said, “I’m not here on my own. I supported Abraham.”

Oscar frontrunner Brie Larson was the evening’s predictable winner, honored with Best Female Lead for her powerful display of a protective mother in the drama Room. She paid tribute to independent film, and gushed, “It’s what helped me grow up. I’m so excited to be in a room with such brave filmmakers.”

Other winners included Ed Lachman, who won Best Cinematography for Carol, and Emma Donoghue landed the Best First Screenplay award for Room.

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