“I wish the sun was out today,” Naomie Harris said, as she walked the baby blue carpet at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on the beach in Santa Monica, Calif. Despite the unseasonably chilly afternoon, the actress channeled warmth in her tweed Chanel dress. “Chanel makes me feel fun and vibrant and sunny,” she said.
The Best Female Lead nominee walked into the affair already a winner. She and her and her “Moonlight” castmates were given the Robert Altman Ensemble Award in addition to the film’s Best Feature nomination. “I’m over the moon,” she said, no pun intended. “This is something I always dreamed of as a little kid. As you start to work in this industry, you realize how tough it is. It’s such a lottery. There are great performances that happen every year that don’t get recognized.”
“Free in Deed” actress Edwina Findley echoed the sentiment. “As a young girl, I had dreams of Hollywood,” said the Best Supporting Actress nominee. “I remember looking up to the women I would see on TV doing interviews and saying, ‘Wow, I want to be like her.’ I’m honored that young women can look up to me.”
Findley’s co-star David Harewood, nominated for Best Male Lead, complimented the actress’s blue dress in a matching Brooks Brothers suit. “Light blue must be the color this year,” he laughed, adding that the award show “seems relaxed, which is only going to improve when we get in there and start drinking.”
Nominee Molly Shannon joined her “Other People” writer/director Chris Kelly inside. “We’re having a mini reunion here,” Kelly said. “The movie is so personal and means a lot to me. I’m surprised that we even got to make it, let alone be at something like this.” Kelly, who is also head writer for “Saturday Night Live,” said it would be a quick trip. “We’re off this week which is why I could be here. But I go back on Monday for another show. As you know, it’s been an interesting year. Everyone’s flying by the seat of their pants.”
Meanwhile, with the Oscars just a day away, award season fatigue finally hit most nominees and attendees. “Hey guys! I gotta go in!” Jon Hamm called out, as he rushed by. Taraji P. Henson blew a kiss. “Love you!” she cooed. Kerry Washington, Ruth Negga, Janelle Monae, Kate Beckinsale, Viggo Mortensen, and Riley Keough were among those who followed their lead.
“Hell or High Water” actor Ben Foster won the first award of the night for Best Supporting Male. “This is a very intimate conversation,” he joked, as he greeted a room full of journalists. “He left some marks,” he said of playing an ex-con. “I’m a happier person these days.” Speaking of, Foster was relieved that remembered to thank his expectant fiancé Laura Prepon onstage. As for how he’s been supporting her, he quipped, “Golly day. Foot rubs go a long way when you’re pregnant.”
Shannon won Best Supporting Female for her dramatic role as a cancer patient. Even so, she couldn’t resist paying homage to her comedic roots by channeling her former “SNL” character, striking Mary Katherine Gallagher’s signature “superstar” pose as she accepted her award. She said backstage, “That was in the moment.”