When it comes to honoring the year in film, you can keep your Oscars with their stuffy ceremony and fussy nominees. Who honestly wants to sit through the former sixth lead of Growing Pains (we remember where you came from, Leo) acting like he’s just won the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting a CGI bear? It’s all so important over there. Meanwhile, at the Spirit Awards, everyone is drunk. Now that’s a party! Here are just a few of the reasons the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards, airing this Saturday, Feb. 27th, live at 5P ET/2P PT, consistently takes the cake for most fun awards show of the season. (Click here to find IFC on your TV in your area. You can also stream the show live on IFC.com through your cable provider.)
10. There’s booze, and lots of it.
The drinks flow at the Spirit Awards, keeping the vibe loose. You can’t be that pretentious when you have trouble standing to accept your award. Just ask screenwriter Derek Connolly, who famously refused to leave the stage while accepting the Best First Screenplay Award in 2013 for Safety Not Guaranteed. Thankfully, a quick thinking Bryan Cranston, still sporting his magnificent bald dome, acted as an impromptu bartender and lured the slurry screenwriter off the stage with the promise of more booze.
9. It has the best hosts.
While Chris Rock should bring some edge to this year’s Oscars ceremony, the Academy has a tendency to pick safe hosts like Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris and Billy Crystal. But the Spirit Awards relish in proving they don’t give a damn. Their M.O. seems to be picking people who are currently killing it in the comedy game. Patton Oswalt, Fred Armisen, and Sarah Silverman have all taken their turn offending the room. Just look at this year’s hosts, Kumail Nanjiani and soon-to-be Ghostbuster Kate McKinnon, to get an idea of how the ISAs picks comedy chops over star power. If you know how to make fun of filmmakers for being cheap and egotistical, you’ve got a home at the Spirit Awards.
8. As a result, it’s, um, actually funny.
While the forced banter at the Oscars can often feel like recycled jokes from previous ceremonies, the Spirit Awards stands out for actually being funny. Whether it’s Joel McHale having an In Memoriam for the celebrities that will probably die next year, or Fred Armisen getting slapped by Miles Teller for not making enough Portlandia, the Spirit Awards view the comedy bits as more than just filler.
7. It’s also very filthy.
It’s no shocker when you have Sarah Silverman or Seth Rogen host your show, the censors are going to have a few conniption fits. The amazing thing about the Spirit Awards is that it feels like there are no rules. F bombs drop. Filth rains supreme. This isn’t a show for your grandparents, unless they swear like sailors and like movies starring Michael Shannon.
6. Sometimes it rocks!
While the Oscars trot out Rob Lowe singing to fairy princesses and explain film editing through The Lord of the Dance, when the Spirit Awards want some music, they set the Mother F*#%in’ place on fire. After a documentary about the heavy metal band Anvil broke big in 2008, they had the group tear the roof, er, tent off of the Spirit Awards. If you want your face to remain unmelted, then maybe this isn’t the show for you.
5. It has whatever this is…
When you have a show with no rules, then anything can happen. So when you give out free booze, and then give an award to Mickey Rourke, well…just watch. (Obviously, NSFW. Seriously)
4. Bill Murray actually wins.
How can the Oscars claim to honor the best in film, and yet Bill Murray has never won a single award? Bill Murray! He improvised the Dalai Lama monologue in Caddyshack! He’s a Ghostbuster! Thankfully, the Spirit Awards made up for this gross miscarriage of justice in 2004 by awarding him the Best Male Lead statue for his role in Lost in Translation. Now that’s probably a day Bill wouldn’t mind living over and over again.
3. It actually honors independent cinema.
We all love big movies, but what makes the Spirit Awards stand out is their focus on independence. The majority of the films nominated were made because the filmmakers believed in them, not because they were hoping to get rich, or even chase an award. These are labors of love, made by artists who spent years fighting to realize them. And because of that, there are a dizzying array of styles, stories and scales. Movie star power and big budgets can win you gold statues, but to take home a Spirit Award you need to do something truly special.
2. The nominees are diverse.
With #OscarsSoWhite the talk of this year’s awards season, it’s refreshing to see a crop of diverse nominees vying for Spirit Awards. From acting nods for everyone from Koudous Seihon and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, to Best Feature nominees like Tangerine and Beasts of No Nation, this year’s Spirit Awards reflect the world we all live in and give the Oscars something to strive towards.
1. Did we mention there’s booze?
Celebrities — They’re just like us when they’re drunk. Very, very funny.