The 2016 Spirit Awards: Idris Elba, Abraham Attah, ‘Tangerine’ Lead List of Winners

The 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards took place on Saturday – in typical fashion – since it is of course, the day before the Oscars.

Los Angeles was sunny and bright and comfortably warm as the stars of the big screen gathered to celebrate the bold, the talented and the diverse.

Idris Elba and Abraham Attah


The ceremony, held in picturesque Santa Monica, came to fruition with the aid of co-hosts, Katie McKinnon from Saturday Night Live and Silicon Valley star, Kumail Nanjiani.

While the mix of these two funny people could have proven annoyingly distracting – in the world where pretty much anything goes – both McKinnon and Nanjiani were a hit.

Now, back to the awards. It was a perfectly strewn homage to all things diverse – almost as if the industry decided to use a gorgeous Saturday afternoon to wave the white flag (no pun intended) by recognizing the ones the Academy purposely ignored.

The biggest award of the afternoon wasn’t Spotlight for Editing and Best Feature but rather Idris Elba who strutted across the stage to collect the Best Supporting Mae award for his potent performance in Beasts of No Nation. An elated Elba brought his adorable co-star, Abraham Attah with him as he accepted his much-deserved trophy.

Not too far behind was Tangerine actress Mya Taylor who was more than happy to receive The Best Supporting Female award. It is also worth noting that Taylor made history by being the first ever transgender actress to win at the Spirit Awards.

Mya Taylor


In her triumphantly delivered acceptance speech, Taylor inspiringly called attention to transgender talent by tasking filmmakers with the open mind needed to utilize those resources.

“There is transgender talent. There’s very beautiful transgender talent. So, you better get it out there and put it in your next movie”.

Not too long after that, another big win was announced and bequeathed to none other than Beasts of No Nation’s Abraham Attah, who returned to the stage for a second time to appropriately collect his Best Male lead prize.

Abraham Attah


The rest of the winners included Brie Larson winning Best Female Lead for Room, which she will surely repeat at the Oscars and Best Director went to Spotlight’s Tom McCarthy.

The Spirit Awards rarely have much of an impact on the Oscars except in some instances but by and large it’s the opportunity to give to the ones who were left in the dust during the awards circuit.

In this case – diversity won – and with that sweet victory comes the hope that talents of color, including transgender performers, will not have to wait their turn when it comes to warranted recognition.

Click here for a complete list of winners.