Sterling K. Brown and Issa Rae
Sterling K. Brown and Issa Rae

Film Independent has announced that this year’s Spirit Awards honorees annual Nominee Brunch in West Hollywood, where the past 12 months in independent film will be celebrated, will be hosted by Sterling K. Brown and Issa Rae, who will also present a trio of filmmaker grants: the Piaget Producers Award, the Truer Than Fiction Award and the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award.

In addition, the Spirit Awards have announced that actor David Oyelowo will serve as the honorary chair of the 2017 awards, as announced by Film Independent President Josh Welsh.

“Sterling K. Brown and Issa Rae are two of the most captivating and talented actors working today… we’re so happy to have them host our Spirit Awards brunch,” said Welsh.

The January Spirit Awards brunch will feature the awarding of three separate filmmaker grants, presented by Brown and Rae during an awards ceremony.

The actual Spirit Awards event will follow in February. Honors are given out in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, Best Screenplay, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Cinematography, Best International Film, Best Documentary and Best Editing.

Of note, with respect to this blog’s interest are: “Moonlight” is nominated for Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, and Ensemble Cast; “Loving” is nominated for Best Director and Best Female Lead; “The Fits” is nominated for Best First Feature and the Someone to Watch Award; “Barry” and “Jean of the Joneses” are nominated for Best First Screenplay; “Free In Deed” is nominated for Best Male Lead, Best Supporting Female, Cinematography, and Best Feature Under $500K; “Hunter Gatherer” is also nominated for Best Feature Under $500K; “Morris From America” is nominated for Best Supporting Male; Finally, “13th”, “I Am Not Your Negro” and “OJ: Made in America” are all nominated for Best Documentary.

The 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards happen on February 25 in Santa Monica and will be broadcast live on IFC at 5pm EST.