Stewart, honorary chairperson of the awards program focused on independent films, spoke before giving out the award for best male lead actor, saying Sunday’s Spirit Awards stand for freedom of expression, independence and humanity.
“Today we are compelled to stand with the people of Ukraine. They are risking their lives to fight for those very things,” said Stewart, standing in front of a video screen lit up in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. “We stand for the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing this war , both Ukrainians and those of other nationalities being denied safe harbor.”
Hollywood acts on Ukrainian crisis:‘The Batman,’ ‘Sonic 2’ held back from release in Russia
The award show’s husband-and-wife hosts Nick Offerman and megan mullally had earlier stuck it to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war in Ukraine, condemning him from the stage with an obscene hand gesture.
Offerman asked the crowd for a moment to “send our best wishes to those affected by the war in Ukraine and all unjust conflicts around the world.”
Mullally added, “I think we speak for everyone here when we say we are hoping for a quick and peaceful resolution. Specifically, (expletive) off and go home, Putin.”
Offerman urged the audience to give a “Spirit Awards salute” to Putin, and Mullally then pointed out the many groups raising money for Ukrainian refugees. “Please give what you can to help the victims of this senseless act of aggression,” she added.
It wasn’t all serious for the zany couple co-hosts: At one point, Offerman walked onstage wearing little more than fire-engine red briefs and fishnet stockings for a skit involving a stripper pole, only to find out it had been cut from the program. “I guess I should cancel the naked backup dancers,” he joked
Maggie Gyllenhaal had a standout day with her directorial debut film “The Lost Daughter,” which earned three major awards, including best feature, director and screenplay.
During her best screenplay acceptance speech, Gyllenhaal gave emotional props to husband Peter Sarsgaard. Her “favorite” actor “has read almost every single draft, heard all the music cues, taken our kids to the dentist, put them to bed, fed them breakfast, held my hand in Venice when we saw the movie for the first time, and most importantly, you have taught me the beauty and the thrill of the real thing, as opposed to the fantasy.”
“And that was the north star in this movie,” Gyllenhaal said.
Troy Kotsur continued his best supporting actor winning streak for his role in “CODA,” after making history as the first deaf actor to win a SAG Award last month. The Oscar-nominated actor won best male supporting performance on Sunday.
Onetime adult film actor and MTV VJ Simon Rex won best male lead for “Red Rocket” and shouted out to his director Sean Baker for casting him in the drama about a washed-up porn star moving back to Texas.
“He took a shot at me when I couldn’t get a call back for a GEICO commercial,” said Rex. “My career was in the toilet.”
Rex praised the low-budget project, which he called “a glorified student film.”
“We were hiding from police. We were hiding from neighbors. I was running down the street butt-naked. If this doesn’t embody the spirit of independent film, I don’t know what it does,” Rex said.
“Summer of Soul,” Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s directorial debut about the Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969, beat out tough competition to earn best documentary. The film won over fellow Oscar-nominated documentaries “Flee” and “Ascension.”
“I’m not going to cry right now,” Questlove said. “Look at us, we’re living the dream, restoring history, bringing Black joy to the world.”
Here is the complete list of winners:
Best features: “The Lost Daughter”
best director: Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Lost Daughter”
Best screenplay: Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Lost Daughter”
Best first feature: “7 Days”
Best first screenplay: Michael Sarnoski, story by Vanessa Block and Michael Sarnoski, “Pig”
John Cassavetes Award (for best feature made under $500,000): “Shiva Baby”
Best supporting female: Ruth Negga, “Passing”
Best supporting male: Troy Kotsur, “CODA”
Best female leads: Taylor Paige, “Zola”
Best male lead: Simon Rex, “Red Rocket”
Robert Altman Award: “Mass”
Best cinematography: Edu Grau, “Passing”
Best editing: Joi McMillon, “Zola”
Best international film: “Drive My Car”
Best documentary: “Summer of Soul (… Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”
Best new scripted series: “Reservation Dogs”
Best new non-scripted or documentary series: “Black and Missing”
Best female performance in a new scripted series: Thuso Mbedu, “The Underground Railroad”
Best male performance in a new scripted series: Lee Jung-jae, “Squid Game”
Best ensemble cast in a new scripted series: “Reservation Dogs”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism