Film Independent has announced that writer, producer, actress Issa Rae (Insecure, Awkward Black Girl) will co-host the Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant & Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 7 in West Hollywood alongside Emmy Award winning actor Sterling K. Brown (This is Us, The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) where they will announce the Spirit Awards Grant Winners for 2017.
“Sterling K. Brown and Issa Rae are two of the most captivating and talented actors working today, and we’re so happy to have them host our Spirit Awards Brunch in January.” – Josh Welsh, Film Independent President
The Spirit Awards also announced that David Oyelowo (Queen of Katwe, A United Kingdom) will be the 2017 Spirit Awards Honorary Chair. Oyelowo was nominated for Best Male Lead for his work in Selma (2015) and Best Supporting Male for Middle of Nowhere (2013). Past Honorary Chairs include Jessica Chastain, Kerry Washington, Benicio Del Toro, Angela Bassett, Salma Hayek, Jodie Foster, Danny Glover, Ang Lee and Martin Scorsese.
“From Middle of Nowhere to Nightingale, and from Selma to Queen of Katwe, David Oyelowo has consistently shown himself to be a fearless actor of remarkable range,” said Welsh. “As a two-time Spirit Award nominee, he is a fantastic choice to be our Spirit Awards Honorary Chair.”
The Spirit Awards is designed to recognize the best in indie filmmaking and honors films made for $20 million or less. This year Stella Meghie’s Jean of the Joneses received a nomination in the Best First Screenplay category, and Ava DuVernay’s political documentary 13th has been nominated in the documentary category. Ruth Negga also received a nomination for Best Female Lead for her role in the critically acclaimed Civil Rights drama Loving. The actual awards ceremony will take place on February 25 in Santa Monica and will broadcast live on IFC at 5pm EST.