The Harvey Weinstein Joke That Killed at the Independent Spirit Awards

Hosts John Mulaney and Nick Kroll took no prisoners in their opening monologue: “Last year, everyone famous died. This year, everyone famous wishes they were dead.” independent-spirit-awards-kroll-mulaney

it was a wet and cold affair at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, where a rainstorm caused the show’s constructed floor—as always, the event was held in Santa Monica, under a giant tent a few feet away from the beach. Allison Janney mentioned that the train of her dress was soaked, and Timothée Chalamet slipped while walking to the podium. But the weather did not dampen the fun and celebratory mood at the afternoon ceremony, which annually honors indie movies on the eve of the Academy Awards.

Comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney returned to host the show for a second year in a row, drawing huge gasps and laughs from the audience with their unfiltered jokes. The duo kicked off the ceremony with a no-holds-barred monologue about disgraced Hollywood figures such as Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, Kevin Spacey, and Woody Allen.

“Last year, everyone famous died. This year, everyone famous wishes they were dead,” joked Mulaney. “The rules have changed for men. Some men are like can we hug women anymore? Not the way you’re doing it, pal—all breathy,” added Kroll. Mulaney went on to talk about a meeting he once had with Weinstein, who said that that more people will remember the producer for his TV projects than his films; Weinstein guessed that his tombstone would say Project Runway instead of Pulp Fiction. “You don’t have to worry anymore, Harvey. It’s not going to say Project Runway. It’s going to say ‘XXL Unmarked Grave,’” quipped Mulaney.

The social thriller Get Out was recognized as the best feature film, and Jordan Peele won the best director award for helming the picture. Peel also received a standing ovation and the loudest applause from the crowd of actors and filmmakers during the show.

“Our truths are the most powerful weapons we have against the lies in this world, so keep doing what we are doing,” Peele said in his acceptance speech. “It’s clear to everybody in this room and across the country and across the world that we are in the beginning of a renaissance right now, where stories from the outsider, stories from the people in this room—the same stories that independent filmmakers have been telling for years—are being honored and recognized and celebrated. . . We believed that because this is a movie that no one had seen before, we knew it had to exist.”

Another big winner—and crowd pleaser—was Chalamet, who was honored with the best male lead award for his role in Call Me By Your Name. The 22-year-old breakout star beat Daniel Kaluuya, James Franco, Robert Pattinson, and newcomer Harris Dickinson. Chalamet has been the toast of this year’s awards season for his highly lauded performances in both Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name.

“These past few months have been a really crazy and incredible time,” Chalamet told Vanity Fair after picking up his accolade. “Winning awards is something that I never really thought of. I just love acting, and to have won this award today is really one of the coolest moments in my life. This shows that if you work hard and dream big, anything can happen. So I’m full of gratitude and I’m excited to get to keep going and continue to live out my passion.”

Onstage, Chalamet thanked indie filmmakers for creating innovative movies that address hot topics such as race and equality, especially in today’s troubled times. “I have a lot of faith in this industry, a lot of faith for our country, because of Greta Gerwig and Luca Guadagnino and Jordan Peele and Daniel Kaluuya and filmmakers that aren’t here,” he said. ‘We’ve got a whole new wave. We’re going to be good, we’re going to be fine. We’re going to make change!”

Frances McDormand was named best female lead for her work in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. She accepted her award dressed in pajamas and wearing bedroom-like slippers, and reveled in the fact that she could drop F-bombs in her speech, unlike at other award shows.

“What I know about today, I get to swear,” she said on stage while lifting up both her arms. “Do you know how hard it’s been not to swear over the last couple of months? Because this awards convention goes on for fucking ever!” She went on to thank her son Pedro and her director, Martin McDonagh, for knowing a “well-placed fuck makes a sentence sing like nothing else.”

McDormand’s Billboards costar, Sam Rockwell, took home the best supporting male prize for his role as a racist police officer, while Allison Janney won best supporting female for her performance as figure skater Tonya Harding’s abusive mother in I, Tonya. Janney has nabbed nearly every accolade she’s been eligible for this season and is the frontrunner to win the Oscar. The prolific actress credits her mother for giving her wisdom and guidance that has helped her achieve great career success.

“The best piece of advice that I’ve received is to always stand up for myself. It’s not easy, but you have to have that attitude. If something is wrong, whether it’s in life or at work, say something. It can only make you stronger and that’s helped me in my journey on and off the screen,” Janney told Vanity Fair on the arrivals carpet before the show. “And, my advice to others is to always insist on having a bird on your shoulder. That will definitely help someone’s career. Look what happened to me!”

Other winners included Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, the married pair that won best first screenplay for The Big Sick, and Greta Gerwig, who won the best screenplay award for Lady Bird. Gerwig gave a shout-out to her parents for “watching the plays that I put on in the living room” and also thanked her brother and sister for acting in her home productions.

Meanwhile, Kroll and Mulaney brought down the tent with their sharp jokes about the disgraced men of Hollywood. Kroll shared a story about working with Ratner on a television pilot nine years ago and watching him “constantly scratch his balls” and then immediately touch all of the food on set. “One day, he was really going to town on his sad sacks—and this was below his Banana Republic boxer briefs, which were curling at the waist,” said Kroll. “We watched him walk away and walk over to the crafts services table, where he then touched six different doughnuts. And then he grabbed one and walked away. So if that’s the way the guy treats doughnuts, then. . .”

Speaking about Spacey, the hosts slammed the way the Oscar-winning actor apologized for his alleged abuse by coming out as gay and asked, “Can we still love K-Pax?” As for Woody Allen, “what about his last 20 not-watchable movies? Can we still not watch them? Must I revaluate based on these new allegations that were a matter of public record for 30 years?”

Another unforgettable moment came when Salma Hayek criticized President Trump for allegedly calling Haiti and Africa “shitholes” during an immigration meeting with lawmakers in January.

“This award has never gone to a shithole nation because there are no shithole nations,” Hayek said while presenting the best international film award, which was met by a lively cheer and applause by the audien


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