For nearly three decades (all through the ’90s, aughts and most of the teens) the Spirit Awards were the Indie Oscars, and were held the day before the actual Oscars in that big, white, champagne-fizzy tent on the beach. And it was cool and fun…humor, warmth, good vibes. And we all basked in that (including yours truly).

And then two or three years ago the woke virus began to seep into the industry bloodstream and the Spirits began to get a little obsessive, sinking deeper and deeper into the theology of “diminish if not eliminate the toxic straight white guy power structure” and “it’s our turn”.

And then Covid hit and the Spirit gang decided to schedule the show much earlier than the usual Oscar weekend and….wait, what?

I’m covering the Santa Barbara Film Festival and had honestly forgotten the Spirits were even happening today. Was anyone paying attention? Did anyone watch? Impressions of any kind?

Congrats to HE’s own Simon Rex for winning the Best Actor trophy, and to Maggie Gyllenhaal (Best Director, Best Screenplay) and The Lost Daughter (Best Feature) and Zola lead Taylor Paige (Best Actress), etc. HE approved of Zola from the get-go. I also respected The Lost Daughter apart from the doll thing.

Spirit Award voters to the rest of the world: “We loved The Lost Daughter‘s stolen doll thing! It worked for us! And eff your negativity if it didn’t rub you the right way!”

A friend called a couple of hours ago to complain about how choked with wokeness the show seemed to be…”the woke-iest awards show that has ever happened…it was totally immersed in the party line…mostly Planet Uranus.”

“But what about Simon Rex winning?,” I argued. “He’s not a wokester.”

Friend: “He won because he played a toxic, bottom-of-the-barrel white guy asshole…they voted for him as a way of saying ‘we’ll vote for a white actor if he plays a piece of shit, which at least offers welcome instruction.'”

Best Feature — The Lost Daughter
Best Male Lead — Simon Rex, Red Rocket
Best Female Lead — Taylour Paige, Zola
Best Supporting Female – Ruth Negga, Passing
Best Supporting Male — Troy Kotsur, CODA
Best Director – Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter
Best International Film — Drive My Red Saab While Chain-Smoking Cigarettes
Best Screenplay — Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter
Best Cinematography — Passing
Best Editing — Zola
Best First Screenplay – Pig