That’s Brie Larson during her moving acceptance speech for Best Actress for “Room” at yesterday’s Film Independent Spirit Awards. I was sitting close enough to snap the pic. After years of couch-potato-watching the show, which takes place the day before the Oscars in a huge tent on the beach in Santa Monica, I was invited by my super cool pals at Bank of America, one of the event’s biggest sponsors, to attend, and our table was front and center.
Michael and I arrived at the pier where hundreds of film industry folks were gathered, and we were mobbed by people wanting our autograph (just kidding). A guy did ask me if I was a singer; he said I looked like a rock star. I’m guessing he was drunk.
Nobody on the red carpet shouted, “Jane, who are you wearing?” But if they had, I would have said, “My friend Laurie Burrows Grad let me borrow stuff from her closet.” She lent me the sequined black jacket, white buttoned down shirt and black tie. The black jeans were mine, courtesy of The Gap.
Shortly after arriving, I made my way into the Effen Vodka tent (another sponsor) and emerged with one of these pink drinks.
It had pink grapefruit juice and ginger in it and I forget what else. Suffice it to say, it was tasty. Michael, my designated driver, abstained.
Eventually, we made our way into the main tent and found our table. We were seated with our BOA/Merrill Lynch buddies, Kim Merritt and Brandon Burriss, along with some of their other clients, an actor, a producer, etc. All very congenial and fun to be with. Lunch wasn’t the event’s strong suit – chicken that had been sitting there in the heat for who knows how long is just not appealing – but the entertainment and awards made up for it. The show’s hosts were “SNL’s” Kate McKinnon and Kumail Nanjiani from HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” Their parodies of nominated films, like this one of “Carol,” set the tone.
But it was the presentation of the awards that were my favorite part. I loved that both Idris Elba and “the kid” (I never get his name right) from “Beasts of No Nation” were winners.
“Spotlight” swept the big categories (picture, director, original script, ensemble cast) and I was thrilled about that. I also loved that the producers brought the Boston Globe journalists on whom the characters were based, along with the child abuse victim who blew the whistle on the priests. As for “Room,” not only did Brie Larson snag her award, but Irish writer Emma Donaghue won a Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay and it was so well deserved. I’m amazed how she was able to adapt her bestselling book as a “newbie” (her term).
By the way, “Carol’s” two leading ladies may have gone home without a statuette, but I adored Cate Blanchett’s dress, which was sort of a flowing body tattoo. Rooney Mara’s “style” confounds me.
When all the awards had been given out, it was time to get up and drive back to Santa Barbara. After sitting for hours, Michael and I were not looking forward to sitting for even more hours in traffic, but we pretended to be happy about it.
Tonight’s the Oscars, and I’ll be back to watching in my baggy yoga pants and a T-shirt, eating takeout pizza with friends and making snide remarks at the TV. I hope I stay awake.