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The 2022 Independent Spirit Awards nod towards possible Oscar winners


"The Lost Daughter" was the big winner of this year's Film Independent Spirit Awards. NPR's Mandalit del Barco attended the event yesterday, honoring some productions that were snubbed by the Oscars and some that just might win.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: On a California winter's day, under a big tent on the Santa Monica beach, Maggie Gyllenhaal swept the Spirit Awards.


MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL: Women in film (laughter). Thank you. Thank you.


DEL BARCO: She won the award for directing "The Lost Daughter," named this year's best feature. She also won for writing the adapted screenplay about a woman who isn't exactly mother of the year.


GYLLENHAAL: My film is in an unusual language. It's the language of the minds of women. I've been sort of afraid to say that because my film is not just for women. It's for everyone.

DEL BARCO: "The Lost Daughter" is expected to do well at the Oscars in three weeks. So is actor Troy Kotsur, who made history as the first actor who is deaf to win a Spirit Award. Through an interpreter, he picked up the best supporting male prize for his role as the fisherman father in "CODA."


TROY KOTSUR: (Through interpreter) My character, Frank Rossi, is really - the difference between Gloucester, Mass., and here in Santa Monica is that a deaf fisherman can't afford a beer in Santa Monica.


KOTSUR: (Through interpreter) It's expensive, you know?

DEL BARCO: Another Spirit Award winner and shoo-in for an Oscar was the documentary "Summer Of Soul."


GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS: (Singing) I bet you're wondering how I knew, baby, baby, baby...

DEL BARCO: First-time director Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson accepted the award for the film made from found footage of the star-studded 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival.


QUESTLOVE: It took a village of people to free this film from its 50-year sentence sitting inside of a basement. It starts with the dream of two gentlemen in Harlem - Tony Lawrence and Hal Tulchin. It starts with 300,000 beautiful residents of Harlem.

DEL BARCO: The Spirit Awards also honored indie productions and performances that are not Oscars nominees, among them Taylour Paige, who won the best female lead award for her role as an exotic dancer in the film "Zola."


TAYLOUR PAIGE: I really, really love the words independent, film and spirit.

DEL BARCO: Simon Rex picked up the best male lead award. In the film "Red Rocket," he plays a washed-up porn star.


SIMON REX: This movie was made for a million dollars with a 10-person crew with no permits. We were hiding from police. We were hiding from neighbors. I was running down the street butt naked.


REX: Like, if this doesn't embody, like, the Spirit Award of an independent film, I don't know what does. This is basically a glorified student film.

DEL BARCO: For the second year, television shows and performances were also celebrated. Top winners were Thuso Mbedu from "The Underground Railroad" and "Squid Game's" Lee Jung-jae. "Reservation Dogs" was crowned best new scripted series. Actress Devery Jacobs dedicated the show's ensemble cast award to Native actors before them.


DEVERY JACOBS: Working in Hollywood, playing antagonists in Western movies and mythic, stoic and savage Indians to Native creators who've had to endure and break down tropes in this industry, we are here accepting this award because of you. We are walking on the very path that you fought for us and carved out for us.

DEL BARCO: Some of the winners, like actress Ruth Negga from the film "Passing," accepted their awards by video. Others were awarded during commercial breaks, so TV viewers didn't get to see the cinematographer of "Passing" win. They didn't see the Japanese film "Drive My Car" win for best international film. Clips of their remarks played briefly, a hint of what's to come during the Oscars.

More pressing, though, was the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a topic brought up by this year's honorary chair, Kristen Stewart.


KRISTEN STEWART: We stand with the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing this war, both Ukrainians and those of other ethnicities and nationalities who are being denied safe harbor.

DEL BARCO: The ceremony's hosts Megan Mullally and her husband, Nick Offerman, were more blunt. On stage, they sent an expletive message to Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and they gave him the finger.



DEL BARCO: Mandalit del Barco, NPR News, Los Angeles.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLYING LOTUS SONG, "9 CARROTS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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