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Comedian Hasan Minhaj delivered a scathing indictment of the state of awards, professional journalism, Armie Hammer, the indie film ecosystem and more at the 2023 Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday.
Streamed on YouTube — the center of mockery of Minhaj’s monologue — the annual Santa Monica gathering got off to a sour start. First in line was IFC, the cable channel that previously aired the award franchise but did not renew its licensing agreement.
“We did this super inde tonight,” Minhaj said. “We literally don’t have a distributor. The Independent Film Channel didn’t want the Independent Film Awards.” He then pointed out what the network decided to air instead: “Semi-Pro,” a 2008 film starring Will Ferrell and Woody Harrelson.
Discussing the night’s big nominees, Minhaj turned his attention to Luca Guadagnino’s “Bones and All.” Minhaj wondered how many movies Hollywood can make about “Timothee Chalamet falling in love with a cannibal.” Chalamet and Taylor Russell played young lovers who wanted to eat people, but audiences groaned at Minhaj’s intended dig — Armie Hammer, the disgraced actor who starred with Chalamet in the acclaimed “Call Me By Your Name.”
In 2021, Hammer faced numerous accusations of sexual assault stemming from extramarital affairs that were often fetishistic. The messages between the actor and several women contained language referring to cannibalism.
Minhaj didn’t let himself off the hook and explained to the audience that he took the hosting gig because of the exposure. He certainly didn’t do it for the pay.
“I’m definitely not making as much as Jerrod Carmichael hosting the Globes,” he said. “They handed me a Starbucks gift card and said use what’s left.”
Minhaj criticized for a long time Variety’sister site Deadline Hollywood. The audience shots were especially difficult during the opening. Cate Blanchett squinted in confusion as the cartoon highlighted gender-neutral acting categories and said any man who lined up against her would lose. “Abbott Elementary” star Quinta Brunson chimed in half-heartedly as Minhaj said everyone in the room who loves her show — from a Philadelphia public school — sends their kids to elite private schools. Awards season host Paul Mescal smiled nervously through Minhaj’s bit about how the two were going to play dead on “The Crown,” referring to British colonialism that affected both Mescal’s Irish ancestry and Minhaj’s Indian ancestry.
Despite oozing disdain for the industry, Minhaj has a packed slate of Hollywood projects, including the third season of The Morning Show, a role in Pamela Adlon’s feature directorial debut and Disney’s Haunted Mansion.