Belfast Telegraph

Moonlight wins big at Independent Spirit Awards

Casey Affleck nabbed the Best Actor award, while Isabelle Huppert won the Best Actress gong for her role in Elle.

Coming-of-age drama Moonlight swept the board at the Independent Spirit Awards, taking home a record-breaking six awards.

The 32nd annual ceremony, held on Saturday (25Feb17) at the Santa Monica Pier in California, was hosted by comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, who kicked off the evening by taking aim at Mel Gibson and President Donald Trump.

“We like to think of these awards as the ones without Mel Gibson,” Kroll told the star-studded crowd. “People wondered, ‘How long would it take Hollywood to forgive someone for anti-Semitic, racist hate speech?’ The answer? Eight years.”

The duo also poked fun at Trump, comparing him to American real estate heir Robert Durst, who has been linked to the murders of three people. "Hey, Trump - you and Robert Durst are both rich sociopaths from New York real estate empires,” said Mulaney. “Yet, somehow Robert Durst is more likeable.”

Moonlight, which was tied with American Honey on six nominations, was the evening’s biggest triumph, with director Barry Jenkins winning the Best Director award. The movie went on to win Best Feature, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, and Best Screenplay for Jenkins and playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, and the Moonlight cast was awarded the Robert Altman Award for Best Acting Ensemble.

Moonlight, which stars Mahershala Ali as a gay African-American man growing up in a deprived Miami neighbourhood, now holds the record for the most awards won by a single film this decade at the Independent Spirit Awards.

McCraney, whose semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue was the inspiration for the project, thanked those who signed onto the film without worrying about the possibility of a gay film damaging their careers. "There are a lot of people who pushed that script away from their desks," he tearfully added.

Casey Affleck, hotly tipped to win Best Actor at the Oscars on Sunday, walked away with the best actor honour for his role in Manchester by the Sea, while Isabelle Huppert won Best Actress for Elle.

Other winners included Other People star Molly Shannon who scooped the award for Best Supporting Actress, with Hell or High Water actor Ben Foster nabbing Best Supporting Actor.

Robert Eggers’ The Witch won Best First Screenplay and Best First Feature, while the critically-acclaimed O.J.: Made In America was awarded Best Documentary.

The Independent Spirit Awards honours movies made for less than $20 million (£16 million) and is one of the award season's more informal events, traditionally held the night before the Oscars.

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