The independent-film celebration is airing live on IFC from a tent on the beach in Santa Monica.
Timothee Chalamet won the Independent Spirit Award for best male lead for his performance in Call Me by Your Name.
The young actor, also nominated for this year’s best actor Oscar, beat out fellow nominees Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Harris Dickinson (Beach Rats), James Franco (The Disaster Artist) and Robert Pattinson (Good Time).
Franco, who has been accused of sexually inappropriate or exploitative behavior by at least five women, was a no-show at the Santa Monica ceremony, which took place in a tent on the beach. The actor won a Golden Globe for his starring role in The Disaster Artist, which he also directed. But shortly after his victory, a number of people took to Twitter to accuse Franco of inappropriate behavior.
He addressed the allegations in appearances on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and Late Night With Seth Meyers but was a no-show at the Critics’ Choice Awards, which took place the same day the Los Angeles Times published a story in which five women made claims of sexual misconduct against him. Franco won a Critics’ Choice award but lost the Screen Actors Guild award for which he was nominated, attending the latter awards show. While a number of pundits thought Franco might still get an Oscar nomination, since voting ended the day after the Times story was published, he did not and has thus been keeping a relatively low profile since the Oscar nominations were revealed in late January. The Spirit Award nominees were announced back in November.
In his speech, Chalamet began by riffing on gasoline after co-host Nick Kroll joked of the actor’s shirt, saying that he was taking a break from working at a gas station.
“I’m trying to really savor this moment. I don’t know if this thing’s ever really going to happen again,” he said. “I hope it doesn’t sound cheesy when I say it, but I have a lot of faith. I have a lot of faith in this industry. I have a lot of faith in our country. I have faith because of Greta Gerwig and Luca Guadagnino and Josh Safdie and Jordan Peele and Daniel Kaluuya and filmmakers that aren’t here. … We’ve got a whole new wave. We’re going to be good. … Thank God we have the Dee Reeses and everybody.”
He also thanked distributor Sony Pictures Classics and its boss, Michael Barker, for “the career.”
“This is crazy. Two years ago I could do a movie without worrying about if I was going to have sex with a peach or not because nobody knew who I was,” he said, making at least the second reference of the evening to the film’s erotic fruit scene. “Now I’ve got to worry a little bit more.”
He then vowed to stay faithful to independent film, urging his Lady Bird colleague Saoirse Ronan to do the same.
The award was presented by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Danai Gurira, currently starring in the box-office smash Black Panther.