With five awards, "12 Years a Slave" was the biggest winner at the 29th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards (also known as the Spirit Awards), which were presented on March 1, 2014, in Santa Monica, Calif.
"12 Years a Slave" won the prizes for Best Feature, Best Director (for Steve McQueen), Best Supporting Female (for Lupita Nyong'o), Best Screenplay (for John Ridley) and Best Cinematography (for Sean Bobbitt).
In his acceptance speech for "12 Years a Slave," director/producer Steve McQueen singled out losing actor nominees Michael Fassbender (whom McQueen called "a genius") and Chiwetel Ejiofor, who McQueen says is "the soul and heart of this movie" and who gave "the most nuanced performance you'll ever see. I'd like to honor them tonight with those words." Ejiofor was nominated for Best Male Lead, while Fassbender was nominated for Best Supporting Male.
Brad Pitt, who is one of the producers of "12 Years a Slave" and who has a small role as an actor in the movie, went up on stage with the other producers, but he did not give an acceptance speech.
"Dallas Buyers Club" once again swept the awards in the male acting categories, which "Dallas Buyers Club" has been winning for most of the major movie awards this season. Matthew McConaughey won for Best Male Lead, while Jared Leto won for Best Supporting Male.
McConaughey also won a separate Spirit Award for being part of the cast of "Mud," which was honored with the ceremony's Robert Altman Award, given to an outstanding independent film's director, producer(s) and cast.
Patton Oswalt hosted 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards, which was televised on IFC. The televised Spirit Awards ceremony was not televised live this year, as it has been in the past, but the televised show still included uncensored profanities.
Movies that had multiple nominations but ended up not winning any Spirit Awards included "Inside Llewyn Davis," "All Is Lost" and "Before Midnight."
Eligible films for the 29th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards were independently produced films that were released in the United States in 2013 and were made for less than $20 million per film. Most of the nominated films are currently available on DVD, Blu-ray, digital download and VOD.
McConaughey said in his acceptance speech for "Dallas Buyers Club" that with independent films, "you're forced to be creative because you don't have the time and you don't have the money."
Cate Blanchett, winner of Best Female Lead for "Blue Jasmine," noted in her acceptance speech that this year at the Spirit Awards, there were six nominees for Best Male Lead, but only five nominees for Best Female Lead. Blanchett said indredulously, "Did anyone not see Greta Gerwig in 'Frances Ha'?" Even though Blanchett expressed surprise that Gerwig didn't get a Spirit Award nomination for "Frances Ha," Blanchett said that 2013 was an "incredible year for women in film."
Leto (who plays a transgender woman with AIDS in "Dallas Buyers Club") dedicated his award to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, as well as all the people who have had HIV or AIDS. He also joked that he dedicated his Spirit Award to "all the women I've been with and all the women who think they've been with me," including "my future ex-wife Lupita Nyong'o." There have been rumors that Leto and Nyong'o are dating, but she has denied the rumors.
Nyong'o dedicated her Spirit Award to her mother, who accompanied Nyong'o to the awards show. Nyong'o exclaimed after receiving the award: "Not a bad way to celebrate my birthday!"
Here is the complete list of nominees and winners of the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards:
* = winner
"12 Years a Slave"*
"All Is Lost"
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
Shane Carruth, "Upstream Color"
J.C. Chandor, "All Is Lost"
Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"*
Jeff Nichols, "Mud"
Alexander Payne, "Nebraska"
Best Female Lead
Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"*
Julie Delpy, "Before Midnight"
Gaby Hoffmann, "Crystal Fairy"
Brie Larson, "Short Term 12"
Shailene Woodley, "The Spectacular Now"
Best Male Lead
Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Oscar Isaac, "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Michael B. Jordan, "Fruitvale Station"
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"*
Robert Redford, "All Is Lost"
Woody Allen, "Blue Jasmine"
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater, "Before Midnight"
Nicole Holofcener, "Enough Said"
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, "The Spectacular Now"
John Ridley, "12 Years a Slave"*
Best Supporting Female
Melonie Diaz, "Fruitvale Station"
Sally Hawkins, "Blue Jasmine"
Lupita Nyong’o, "12 Years a Slave"*
Yolonda Ross, "Go for Sisters"
June Squibb, "Nebraska"
Best Supporting Male
Michael Fassbender, "12 Years a Slave"
Will Forte, "Nebraska"
James Gandolfini, "Enough Said"
Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"*
Keith Stanfield, "Short Term 12"
Best First Screenplay
Lake Bell, "In a World ..."
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "Don Jon"
Bob Nelson, "Nebraska"*
Jill Soloway, "Afternoon Delight"
Mike Starrbury, "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete"
Sean Bobbitt, "12 Years a Slave"*
Benoit Debie, "Spring Breakers"
Bruno Delbonnel, "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Frank G. Demarco, "All Is Lost"
Matthias Grunsky, "Computer Chess"
Shane Carruth & David Lowery, "Upstream Color"
Jem Cohen & Marc Vives, "Museum Hours"
Frank G. Demarco, "All Is Lost"
Matthias Grunsky, "Computer Chess"
Nat Sanders, "Short Term 12"*
"20 Feet From Stardom," Director/Producer: Morgan Neville; Producers: Gil Friesen & Caitrin Rogers*
"After Tiller," Directors/Producers: Martha Shane & 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
"The Square," Director: Jehane Noujaim; Producer: Karim Amer
Best International Film
"A Touch of Sin" (China)
"Blue Is the Warmest Color" (France)*
"The Great Beauty" (Italy)
"The Hunt" (Denmark)
Best First Feature
"Blue Caprice," Director/Producer: Alexandre Moors; Producers: Kim Jackson, Brian O’Carroll, Isen Robbins, Will Rowbotham, Ron Simons, Aimee Schoof, Stephen Tedeschi;
"Concussion," Director: Stacie Passon; Producer: Rose Troche
"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 (Best Feature Made for Under $500,000)
"Computer Chess," Writer/Director: Andrew Bujalski; Producers: Houston King & Alex Lipschultz
"Crystal Fairy," Writer/Director: Sebastiàn Silva; Producers: Juan de Dios Larraín & Pablo Larraín
"Museum Hours,: Writer/Director: 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
"This Is Martin Bonner," Writer/Director: Chad Hartigan; Producer: Cherie Saulter*
17th Annual Piaget Producers Award
Toby Halbrooks & James M. Johnston, Jacob Jaffke, Andrea Roa, Frederick Thornton
20th Annual Someone to Watch Award
"My Sister’s Quinceañera," Director: Aaron Douglas Johnston
"Newlyweeds," Director: Shaka King*
"The Foxy Merkins," Director: Madeline Olnek
19th Annual Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award
Kalyanee Mam, "A River Changes Course"
Jason Osder, "Let the Fire Burn"*
Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez, "Manakamana"
Robert Altman Award
"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