‘Farewell’ wins best picture at Spirit Awards, Wang shrugs Oscars - GulfToday

‘Farewell’ wins best picture at Spirit Awards, Wang shrugs Oscars


Director Lulu Wang delivers acceptance speech at the 35th Film Independent Spirit Awards.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards outshines its less-diverse, bland counterpart in several ways. For one, it does more for overlooked cinematic gems than the Academy Awards.

On Saturday the 35th Spirit Awards bestowed its highest accolade upon director Lulu Wang’s Chinese-American movie “The Farewell.”

The audience roared its support in unison as the film snagged Best Feature despite receiving the cold shoulder from Oscars with zero nominations.

The dramedy is a bitingly raw yet humorous depiction of familial values and human connection.

Tensions boil close to the tipping point when a family visits their terminally ill grandmother in China, and everyone but Billi (Awkwafina) has decided to keep the elderly in the dark about her own looming death.


Lulu Wang's directorial feature 'The Farewell' (2019).

"So many people said nobody is going to want to see the film (because) it's not Chinese enough, it's not American enough," Lulu Wang told AFP. "For people to just see it as a family story, as a universal story, that's really meaningful."

The critically acclaimed female director was not perturbed by Oscars’ silence though.

Wang took a jab at the homogeneous panel at the Academy: “When you win an award it is given to you by a group of your peers. When I look at the Academy, and the makeup of the voting body of the Academy, they are not my peers.”

Academy membership is 84 percent white and 68 percent male.

"That is the biggest problem. If my peers were represented in the Academy voting body then they would be voting for films that represent their lives and their stories.

"That's always how it is. So I'm not surprised by any of it."

While “The Farewell” enjoyed the Spirit limelight Saturday night, South Korean social thriller “Parasite” took home Best International Film, heightening expectations for its best picture win at the Oscars on Sunday. With that said, Bong Joon-Ho’s movie could make the historical leap as the first foreign language best feature.

The Spirit Awards are held every year before the Academy to bolster independent filmmakers in the industry and their most outstanding features produced on a smaller budget.

Agence France-Presse

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