Chinese-American film Farewell triumphs at Spirit Awards

February 10, 2020

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Santa Monica (California, US): Director Lulu Wang accepts the award for The Farewell on Saturday.—Reuters
Santa Monica (California, US): Director Lulu Wang accepts the award for The Farewell on Saturday.—Reuters

CHINESE-American director Lulu Wang’s movie The Farewell won the top prize at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, while Adam Sandler was named best actor and made fun of his exclusion from Sunday’s Oscars.

Sandler was named best actor for playing a jeweller addicted to gambling in Uncut Gems, and brothers Josh and Benny Safdie were chosen best directors for the film. “A few weeks back when I was quote, unquote, snubbed by the academy, it reminded me when I briefly attended high school and was overlooked for the coveted yearbook superlative category best looking,” Sandler said.

The Spirit Awards honour independent films made for under $20 million. Many of the nominees were women and actors or directors of colour, while just one of the actors nominated for an Oscar is non-white. The Farewell, featuring an all-Asian cast and filmed in both Mandarin and English, was named best feature film.

Wang, whose film was also overlooked at the Oscars, referred to the all-male Oscar director race and the debate over the difficulties women face in getting recognised in show business. “You don’t have to encourage women. There are lots of women making films and who want to make films,” Wang said. “What women need is the jobs. Just give them the freakin’ jobs. Give them the money.” Chinese star Zhao Shuzhen, 85, won the best supporting actress trophy for her role in The Farewell as a grandmother whose family chooses to conceal from her that she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Renee Zellweger, who has dominated Hollywood’s awards season for her portrayal of singer Judy Garland, was named best actress for Judy. She is seen as the favourite to take home the Oscar on Sunday. South Korean social satire Parasite, which is expected to do well at the Academy Awards on Sunday, was voted best international film.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2020