LOS ANGELES • Chinese-American film The Farewell (above) delivered a rebuke to its Oscar snub at the Film Independent Spirit Awards last Saturday as South Korea's Parasite added a final burst of momentum to its much-hyped Academy Award challenge.
The awards, held on a beach outside Los Angeles a day before the Oscars, honour films with smaller budgets and are often held up as an antidote to the Academy's more mainstream - and less diverse - tastes.
The Farewell, about a family which reunites to visit a grandmother in China who does not know she is dying, won Best Picture, having missed out on any Oscar nominations.
Lulu Wang, the film's director, was one of several acclaimed female directors who failed to win Oscar recognition, but said she was not surprised by her omission.
"When you win an award, it is given to you by a group of your peers. When I look at the Academy and the make-up of the voting body of the Academy, they are not my peers," she said.
Academy membership is 84 per cent white and 68 per cent male.
In the Spirit Awards' biggest shock, Jennifer Lopez missed out on Best Supporting Actress for her turn as a wily stripper in Hustlers to Zhao Shuzhen, who plays the grandmother in The Farewell.
Zhao was unable to travel from China due to the novel coronavirus outbreak gripping the country.
Meanwhile, Parasite, a rare crossover foreign-language success that could become the first non-English film to win Best Picture at the Oscars, won Best International Film.
Brothers Josh and Benny Safdie won Best Director for their frenetic, anxiety-ridden thriller Uncut Gems.
The film's star and audience favourite Adam Sandler won Best Actor, poking fun at his "quote unquote snub" at the Oscars, saying: "Let all those feather-haired douchebag... (actors) get their Oscars tomorrow night."
Renee Zellweger further cemented her Oscar frontrunner status by winning Best Actress for Judy.