Full list: Winners, nominees Independent Spirit Awards 2014
LOS ANGELES, USA – 12 Years a Slave won big at the Independent Spirit Awards Saturday, March 1, taking home 5 trophies including best feature and building up momentum on the eve of the Oscars.
The searing historical drama also earned prizes for British director Steve McQueen, supporting actress Lupita Nyong'o, best cinematography and best screenplay.
The film, inspired by the true story of Solomon Northup, recounts the harrowing tale of a black violinist from New York state who was kidnapped and sold into slavery before the US Civil War. McQueen dedicated his trophy to Northup, whom he said "inspired me to look and try to find the truth."
Brad Pitt – who starred in and co-produced the film – said he had been touched from the outset by the story of a "man trapped in completely inhumane circumstances and trying to maintain his dignity."
"This is a film I personally love. To be part of that doesn't come along that often," Pitt, who braved the rain to attend the laid-back ceremony in Santa Monica with his partner Angelina Jolie, told reporters.
Nyong'o, who turned 31 on Saturday, hailed the importance of independent film, saying it is "where stuff really happens, stuff that matters."
12 Years a Slave was not the only big winner of the night.
The two stars of AIDS drama Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, took home acting prizes, further cementing their Oscars frontrunner status ahead of Sunday's Academy Awards.
McConaughey won best male lead for his turn as HIV-positive AIDS activist Ron Woodroof and Leto took home the prize for best supporting actor for playing Woodroof's transgender business partner.
"There is not a safety net and there is freedom coming with that," McConaughey said of making the low-budget film.
Leto spoke out in support of anti-government protesters in Venezuela, where clashes have so far left 18 people dead.
"I'm sending good thoughts to the people in Venezuela that are fighting for what they believe. Venezuela is in my heart," he said.
Cate Blanchett took the prize for best female lead for her role as a disgraced socialite in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. She too is a favorite to win an Oscar. The Australian actress thanked the producers and distributors of Blue Jasmine for making a film "led by women."
"And in fact it can also make money!" she said.
The Spirit award for best international film went to France's lesbian love drama Blue is the Warmest Color, in an upset over Italian favorite The Great Beauty.
Among the other winners were Nebraska for best first screenplay, 20 Feet from Stardom for best documentary and Fruitvale Station for best first feature.
The 86th Academy Awards take place Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Here are the nominees and winners of the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards:
- WINNER: 12 Years A Slave - Producers: Dede Gardner, Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Brad Pitt, Bill Pohlad
- All Is Lost - Producers: Neal Dodson, Anna Gerb
- Frances Ha - Producers: Noah Baumbach, Scott Rudin, Rodrigo Teixeira, Lila Yacoub
- Inside Llewyn Davis - Producers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin
- Nebraska - Producers: Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa
Best First Feature
- Blue Caprice - Director/producer: Alexandre Moors, Producers: Isen Robbins, Aimee Schoof, Ron Simons, Stephen Tedeschi, Brian O’carroll, Kim Jackson, Will Rowbotham
- Concussion - Director: Stacie Passon, Producer: Rose Troche
- WINNER: Fruitvale Station - Director: Ryan Coogler, Producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker
- Una Noche - Director/producer: Lucy Mulloy, Producers: Sandy Pérez Aguila, Maite Artieda, Daniel Mulloy, Yunior Santiago
- Wadjda - Director: Haifaa Al Mansour, Producers: Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul
John Cassavetes Award (award given to the best feature made for under $500,000)
- Computer Chess - Writer/director: Andrew Bujalski, Producers: Houston King, Alex Lipschultz
- Crystal Fairy - Writer/director: Sebastián Silva, Producers: Juan De Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín
- Museum Hours - Writer/director/producer: Jem Cohen, Producers: Paolo Calamita, Gabriele Kranzelbinder
- Pit Stop - Writer/director: Yen Tan, Writer: David Lowery, Producers: Jonathan Duffy, James M. Johnston, Eric Steele, Kelly Williams
- WINNER: This Is Martin Bonner - Writer/director: Chad Hartigan, Producer: Cherie Saulter
- Shane Carruth – Upstream Color
- J.c. Chandor – All Is Lost
- WINNER: Steve McQueen – 12 Years A Slave
- Jeff Nichols – Mud
- Alexander Payne – Nebraska
- Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
- Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Richard Linklater – Before Midnight
- Nicole Holofcener – Enough Said
- Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber – The Spectacular Now
- WINNER: John Ridley – 12 Years A Slave
Best First Screenplay
- Lake Bell – In A World...
- Joseph Gordon-levitt – Don Jon
- WINNER: Bob Nelson – Nebraska
- Jill Soloway – Afternoon Delight
- Michael Starrbury – The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete
- WINNER: Sean Bobbitt – 12 Years A Slave
- Benoit Debie – Spring Breakers
- Bruno Delbonnel – Inside Llewyn Davis
- Frank G. Demarco, Peter Zuccarini – All Is Lost
- Matthias Grunsky – Computer Chess
- Shane Carruth, David Lowery – Upstream Color
- Jem Cohen, Marc Vives – Museum Hours
- Jennifer Lame – Frances Ha
- Cindy Lee – Una Noche
- WINNER: Nat Sanders – Short Term 12
Best Male Lead
- Bruce Dern - Nebraska
- Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years A Slave
- Oscar Isaac – Inside Llewyn Davis
- Michael B. Jordan – Fruitvale Station
- WINNER: Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
- Robert Redford – All Is Lost
Best Female Lead
- WINNER: Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
- Julie Delpy – Before Midnight
- Gaby Hoffmann – Crystal Fairy
- Brie Larson – Short Term 12
- Shailene Woodley – The Spectacular Now
Best Supporting Male
- Michael Fassbender – 12 Years A Slave
- Will Forte – Nebraska
- James Gandolfini – Enough Said
- WINNER: Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
- Keith Stanfield – Short Term 12
Best Supporting Female
- Melonie Diaz – Fruitvale Station
- Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
- WINNER: Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years A Slave
- Yolonda Ross – Go For Sisters
- June Squibb - Nebraska
Best International Film
- A Touch Of Sin (China) - Director: Jia Zhang-ke
- WINNER: Blue Is The Warmest Color (France) - Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
- Gloria (Chile) - Director: Sebastián Lelio
- The Great Beauty (Italy) - Director: Paulo Sorrentino
- The Hunt (Denmark) - Director: Thomas Vinterberg
- WINNER: 20 Feet From Stardom - Director/producer: Morgan Neville, Producers: Gil Friesen, Caitrin Rogers
- After Tiller - Directors/producers: Martha Shane And Lana Wilson
- Gideon’s Army - Director/producer: Dawn Porter, Producer: Julie Goldman
- The Act Of Killing - Director/producer: Joshua Oppenheimer, Producers: Joram Ten Brink, Christine Cynn, Anne Köhncke, Signe Byrge Sørensen, Michael Uwemedimo, Anonymous
- The Square - Director: Jehane Noujaim, Producer: Karim Amer
Robert Altman Award (Award given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)
- WINNER: Mud - Director: Jeff Nichols, Casting Director: Francine Maisler, Ensemble Cast: Joe Don Baker, Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Ray Mckinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Tye Sheridan, Paul Sparks, Bonnie Sturdivant, Reese Witherspoon