This weekend, there's one awards show you absolutely have to see. It's filled with A-list celebrities, will provide plenty of quotable moments, and is set to honor some of the best movies of the year — and no, we're not talking about the Oscars. While Sunday night's ceremony is definitely worth tuning in to see, it's the event airing the night before that's the real show to get excited about: the 2014 Indie Spirit Awards.
As its name implies, the Spirits honors the top independent films of the year, handing out awards like "Best First Screenplay" and "Best Feature Made for Under $500,000." Despite its low-key nature, though, the ceremony routinely attracts big names, such as last year's Lead Actress winner, Jennifer Lawrence, or the host for the 2011 show, Joel McHale. Even without the celebrities in attendance, though, the Spirit Awards are already a good time; with a casual, beach-set location and surprisingly few night-before-the-Oscars jitters, the awards show is always fun to watch.
And this year's Spirit Awards, to be hosted by the hilarious Patton Oswalt, is sure to be one of the best shows the Spirits have seen so far. Five reasons you should tune in:
1. Patton Oswalt.
Did we mention that Patton Oswalt is hosting? The comedian, who has gained fame in recent years with acting roles in Ratatouille and Young Adult, is taking over the reigns of this year's Spirit Awards. As anyone who's seen Oswalt's stand-up shows or is one of his 1.61 million Twitter followers knows, he's no stranger to great one-liners or Hollywood takedowns. The Spirits have had some great hosts in the past, from Andy Samberg to Sarah Silverman, but judging from Oswalt's past hosting gigs, there's a pretty good chance he just might top them all.
2. It's Full of Quotable Moments
At last year's ceremony, Helen Hunt praised feminism, Matthew McConaughey sang about dropping his pants (to be fair, he was accepting for Magic Mike), and Jennifer Lawrence walked the wrong way off-stage. Expect plenty more moments like those at this year's ceremony, which includes quote-prone nominees like Bruce Dern, Cate Blanchett, and, yes, McConaughey, again. The stars might be saving their big speeches for Sunday, but at the casual, pressure-free Spirits, they're more likely to (hilariously) say how they really feel.
3. It Might Predict the Oscar Winners
As mentioned earlier, the Spirits frequently draw big name stars to the ceremony, and while that's sure to be true for this year's show, as well, there's an added bonus to seeing celebrities in attendance: four of them might be accepting their Oscars just one night later. Typically, the Spirits honor just a handful of Oscar nominees because of the small-budget criteria, but this year, the four actors predicted to take home Academy Awards on Sunday night are all up for Indie Spirits. If, as expected, Matthew McConaughey, Lupita Nyong'o, Cate Blanchett and Jared Leto take home Spirit Awards on Saturday, the Oscars might just give you a serious case of deja-vu.
4. It's Super Casual
The biggest difference between the Spirits and the Oscars? No one dresses up. Sure, there might be a few nice outfits among the nominees, but expect more pants and flip-flops than gowns and tuxedos, and, if the weather calls for it, even a handful of stars showing up in shorts. There's also the location (a tented parking lot on the beach), the catering (Jameson and mini-sandwiches — not exactly Wolfgang Puck's specialities), and the length (a bit under two hours), that makes the Spirits so wonderfully unique from most award shows.
5. It Honors Great Movies
The best part about the Indie Spirits, though, is the movies it honors. While a film doesn't have to be low-budget to be good, of course (see: Gravity), it certainly doesn't hurt. This year, Oscar contenders 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska and more all all nominated, along with deserving but overlooked films like Frances Ha, All is Lost, and The Spectacular Now. Any awards show that nominates Brie Larson for Short Term 12 or James Gandolfini for Enough Said deserves our respect. With the Spirits, no matter who takes home the prize, it's a win for film in general.