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The rowdiest awards show of all.

The rowdiest awards show of all. (photo)

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We’re deep in awards season, bunkered down for the next three months in a landslide of commendations and speeches soon to be lost to history. So let’s take a second to salute the British Independent Film Awards, which took place Sunday night, and which celebrate movies costing less than £10 million — the UK equivalent, that is, of the Gotham and Spirit Awards. And, like them, kind of boozy.

Recipients included Andrea Arnold, who was named Best Director for “Fish Tank,” “Moon” (which I like to refer to as “Michael Clayton In Space”) which got Best Picture, and Carey Milligan, who took another lay-up Best Actress award for “An Education.” But who cares who won? What sets the BIFAs is a pleasing air of disheveled eccentricity that makes the allegedly carefree Golden Globes look like a trial at The Hague.

It’s not just that, for example, Arnold decided early on from table placement she hadn’t won and proceeded to get ragingly drunk, then giving a speech where she said “That’s a really big thing. Well, it’s a little glass thing, but it’s a big thing.”

12082009_bifa.jpgNo, it’s built into the awards themselves, which have all kinds of lovely names. There are two honorary awards I particularly like. The award “for outstanding contribution to British film” (presented to Michael Caine this year), named for the late Richard Harris, known as an actor but better known (perhaps even primarily so) as one of the 20th century’s outstanding drinkers, and who founded Alcoholics Unanimous: “If you don’t feel like a drink, you ring another member and he comes over to persuade you.”

The award for Best Debut Director is named for Douglas Hickox — it was his annual bequest that helped kick-start the ceremony in the first place. As a director, he’s best known for making do with the shoddy scripts he was given — the campy but fun Vincent Price vehicle “Theater of Blood,” the John Wayne-vs.-England spectacle “Brannigan,” three episodes of “Dirty Dozen: The Series.” A career derailed by circumstances beyond his control, surely, but it’s nice to see that, in this way, he lives on.

[Photo: “Fish Tank,” IFC Films, 2009; the 2008 BIFAs, courtesy of bifa.org.uk]

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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Nick Kroll and John Mulaney To Host Spirit Awards

The Spirit Awards Air February 25 LIVE on IFC.

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The 2017 Spirit Awards have finally found their frontmen: Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. And it’s no wonder. Just marvel in their splendid chemistry back when they appeared on Comedy Bang! Bang!:

The pair are prolific within the performing arts community: television (Kroll in The League and The Kroll Show, Mulaney as a writer of IFC’s own Documentary Now!), theater (including Broadway’s current Oh Hello Show), and stand-up comedy. In fact, it’s entirely possible that emceeing an awards show is one of the few remaining line items on their professional bucket lists.

It’s important to caveat this announcement, however. Unlike the bigger and more ubiquitously known awards shows, the Spirit Awards are not, well…boring. (We’re talking to you, Oscar.)

They’re funny. They’re honest. They have quality to match the red-carpet fanfare. And that’s alarmingly special. Last year’s show included some legitimately historic moments, like when transgender actress Mya Taylor won best supporting female, or Kate McKinnon’s hilarious and timely parody of Carol. See more highlights here to get the flavor of the Spirit Awards and read all about Film Independent to dig deeper.

The 2017 Spirit Awards air live February 25 at 5P ET exclusively on IFC.

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