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Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson is Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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Indie Spirit’s Best Adam Sandler Zings Oscar Snub, Feather-weight Leads, But Rocks Win List

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Yes, this 35th Independent Spirit Awards show had a star speech that will last through the ages - or at least be talked about at the Oscars tonight. It was comedy's mostly respectable curmudgeon Adam Sandler that lit up the gala with his own uncut acceptance for Best Lead Actor for UNCUT GEMS that blew away the boring cloud over this year’s heavily predicted and perhaps predictable Awards Season.


And you have to see it to appreciate the tone and tenor of this five-minute free-form performance piece to absorb the subtext - well, there’s no subtext, just the actual text. To put his playful rant in perspective, Sandler, whose career ranges from GOING OVERBOARD to BILLY MADISON to HAPPY GILMORE to 50 FIRST DATES, has spent 31 years in the industry from 1989 to 2020. He’s had the kind of high’s and low’s that saw him rocket from fanboy adoration in the 90’s to nearly unbankable in the 2010’s.


With UNCUT GEMS, where he plays a diamond merchant gone bad, the SNL alum returns to the heights in this twisted tale of the gemological underworld from the Safdie brothers, Josh and Benny, who also won big at the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Director shared between them. In all, UNCUT GEMS racked up five nominations with big three wins. THE FAREWELL took Best Picture, however.

Renee Zellweger Becomes JUDY

Renee Zellweger Becomes JUDY

And JUDY did well for Renee Zellweger, which might mean no-go for the Oscar bid. See the Indie stats with the Win List in full below. But mostly, bask in the odd-glow of Adam Sandler 2.0 for 2020.

Rocking the Feathered Insults in a Good Way at Oscar’s Beautiful People



Here’s How The Show Opened with Aubrey Plaza



And the Winners for 2020 Are…


BEST FEATURE – The Farewell (PRODUCERS: Anita Gou, Daniele Melia, Andrew Miano, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Lulu Wang, Chris Weitz, Jane Zheng)

BEST DIRECTOR – Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems

BEST FEMALE LEAD –Renée Zellweger, Judy

BEST MALE LEAD – Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE – Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell

BEST SUPPORTING MALE – Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse

BEST SCREENPLAY – Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story

BEST EDITING – Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie, Uncut Gems

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – American Factory (DIRECTORS/PRODUCERS: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert; PRODUCERS: Julie Parker Benello, Jeff Reichert)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse

BEST FIRST FEATURE – Booksmart (DIRECTOR: Olivia Wilde PRODUCERS: Chelsea Barnard, David Distenfeld, Jessica Elbaum, Megan Ellison, Katie Silberman)

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY – Fredrica Bailey, Stefon Bristol, See You Yesterday

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Give Me Liberty (DIRECTOR: Kirill Mikhanovsky WRITER/PRODUCER: Alice Austen PRODUCERS: Val Abel, Wally Hall, Michael Manasseri, George Rush, Sergey Shtern)

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – Marriage Story (DIRECTOR: Noah Baumbach; CASTING DIRECTORS: Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler; ENSEMBLE CAST: Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Julie Hagerty, Scarlett Johansson, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson, Merritt Wever)

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM – Parasite, South Korea (DIRECTOR: Bong-Joon Ho)


SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – Rashaad Ernesto Green, Premature

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – Nadia Shihab, Jaddoland

BONNIE AWARD – Kelly Reichardt

Catch Up with All the Glitter, Gowns & Grins

Film Independent’s YouTube channel streamed the broadcast in its entirety via the Film Independent Spirit Awards show page on Twitter.


About Your Indie Awards

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors American Airlines, IFC and Mazda. Bulleit Frontier Whiskey is the Official Spirit. FIJI Water is the Official Water. JNSQ Wines is the Official Wine. Getty Images is the Official Photographer. Town & Country Event Rentals is the Exclusive Rental Company.


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About Quendrith Johnson

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