The Independent Film Spirit Awards gave "Spotlight," the newsroom drama about uncovering a history of abuse in the Catholic Church, the top honor — best picture – as well as best director for Tom McCarthy, best screenplay and the Robert Altman award for ensemble.
The group also delivered a well-deserved slap to the Oscars by giving awards to Idris Elba and Abraham Attah, the co-stars of "Beasts of No Nation." It also honored Mya Taylor, the first transgender actress to win at the Spirit Awards.
The Spirit Awards honor movies that were made for $20 million or less.
As the Associated Press pointed out, "Spotlight" was the only best picture nominee up for the Spirits’ top award; the bigger budget Oscar favorites it’s vying with, "The Revenant" and "The Big Short," didn’t qualify. And while the Oscars have been beset by criticism for a second straight year of all-white acting nominees, the Spirits boasted five nonwhite nominees out of 20 — and three of them won.
"I’m so much prouder of being a producer than my performance," Elba said backstage about the Netflix release. "As a producer you face a lot of doors being closed in your face and in this case we did have a hard time making it but we got there in the end."
Brie Larson, meanwhile, won acting honors for "Room,:" while Emma Donoghue won for best adapted screenplay.