"12 Years a Slave" has dominated the Independent Spirit Awards, winning best feature and four other awards including director for Steve McQueen, supporting actress for Lupita Nyong'o, screenplay for John Ridley.
Matthew McConaughey won the best actor trophy as an activist for "Dallas Buyers Club" and Cate Blanchett took the best actress award for her portrayal of the neurotic title character in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" at the event Saturday afternoon in Santa Monica.
"There's not time to be overly considerate...and there's a freedom that comes with that... [Sometimes] we've only got one take, so let it rip," he added.
He freely admitted that the film was "good medicine" but noted it was also entertaining, he said, hands behind his back. "Just keep livin," he said, meaning it.
Blanchett gave a quick nod to Allen, who some speculated could hurt her chances at the Oscars due to his familial scandal and acknowledged an aircraft passing overhead. "That's the drone come to pick me up," she joked, with the best exit of the afternoon.
"12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen won the best director award and dedicated the award to Solomon Northup, whose life and book was the basis for the searing historical drama.
"Michael Fassbender is a genius. Nothing he wouldn't do, nothing he can't do," McQueen said, also giving thanks to Chiwetel Ejiofor, calling him the "soul" of the film.
McQueen, in his usual square spectacles, thanked "Mr. Brad Pitt" and gave a node to indie legend John Cassavetes.
Lupita Nyong'o won the best supporting actress award for her emotional portrayal of the slave Patsy in "12 Years a Slave" while Jared Leto took the best supporting actor award for his memorable portrayal of transgender AIDS patient Rayon in "Dallas Buyers Club."
In her acceptance, a composed Nyong'o said breathlessly that she had not been aware initially of the distinction of independent films but then said she realized, "Independent film is where stuff actually happens."
Nyong'o noted that it was her birthday and concluded her speech by thanking her mother for supporting her choice to become an actress.
An ebullient Leto cracked up the crowd with a massive thank-you list, including home-made burritos and "all the women I've been with and all the women who think they've been with me," makers of vegan butter, people who make size 12 heels, the seven billion people on the planet. He also said he's going to do "an opposite McConaissance and just do romantic comedies."
Leto concluded on a serious note by dedicating the award to the 36 million that have died of AIDS and the 35 million living with AIDS.
John Ridley took the screenplay trophy for "12 Years a Slave." He delivered an emotional acceptance speech, near tears as he said he had not fully realized the impact of the film until he saw it at the Toronto Film Festival.
Ridley gave a shout out to Julie Delpy, a co-nominee for "Before Midnight."
"12 Years" also took the cimematography award for Sean Bobittt.
"Nebraska" screenwriter Bob Nelson won the Spirit Award for first screenplay in the first award given out, who said he wanted to not thank his wife and is so glad to be "the oldest recipient of best first screenplay." In jest, he also thanked former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Will Forte for losing three pounds to play his role.
The 29th edition of Film Independent's Spirit Awards started with Angelina Jolie networking with Brad Weston, head of New Regency, and Leto glad-handing director Alexander Payne. Shailene Woodley and Nyong'o embraced and Willie Garson was hanging out near the gelato before host Patton Oswalt took the stage to for his opening monologue.