Kerry Washington attends the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards on March 3, 2018, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer (Getty Images)

Tonight, cinephiles everywhere will gather in front of their television screens to watch the biggest stars and biggest films of the year vie for the biggest prizes in cinema at the 90th Academy Awards. (If you haven’t already, join The Glow Up Facebook group to participate in a live red-carpet roundup with us at 6:45 p.m. EST.)

But in a season full of honors and awards shows, we have a special place in our hearts for the one with an independent streak. On Saturday the stars came out to celebrate the 33rd Annual Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. And we didn’t come away disappointed.


As its name suggests, the Independent Spirit Awards honor the best independent films of each year. The ceremony is presented by the organization Film Independent and traditionally takes place the day before the Academy Awards.

Of course, as independent films have gained greater prominence in the mainstream in recent years, there has been increasing crossover between the nominees of the two events. But what keeps the Independent Spirit Awards so relevant and refreshing is seeing some of our faves get the recognition they deserve.

For instance, the big winner yesterday was director and writer Jordan Peele, who won in both the Best Director and Best Picture categories for his brilliant breakout hit, Get Out—and was presented his awards by actor Chadwick Boseman and legendary director Spike Lee, respectively. We can only hope that his winning streak follows him to the Academy Awards Sunday night; but even if it doesn’t, it was gratifying to see our favorite film of 2017 get the respect it deserved.

Actor-writer-director Jordan Peele accepts Best Feature for Get Out during the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards on March 3, 2018.
Photo: Tommaso Boddi (Getty Images)

Another big honor was given to director Dee Rees and the cast and crew of Mudbound, who were awarded the Robert Altman Award for a remarkable ensemble cast, director and casting director. Rees gave an incredible speech that drove home the fact that, in her words, “Mudbound is cinema.”

Film Independent via YouTube

But perhaps our favorite aspect of the Independent Spirit Awards is how fully it lives up to its name. In contrast to the formality of the Academy Awards, the independent spirit is alive and well at this awards ceremony, and the stars revel in it. Even the step-and-repeat has a dynamically different quality as celebs pose for candid portraits, rather than typical paparazzi shots. Here are some of our favorites who were in attendance yesterday—we only wish we were, too!


Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.

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