'Get Out' wins for best film, director at Spirit Awards


SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Jordan Peele's "Get Out" won best film and best director tonight at the 33rd Independent Film Spirit Awards, a day before the horror sensation will vie for top honors at the Academy Awards.

The wins for Peele's directorial debut gave the Spirits, a celebration of indie filmmaking, something unusual: a box-office behemoth. Made for just $4.5 million, "Get Out" grossed $255 million worldwide.

"We are in the beginning of a renaissance right now, where stories from the outsider, stories from the people in this room, the same stories that independent filmmakers have been telling for years are being honored and recognized and celebrated," Peele said.

Peele was presented the award for best director by Spike Lee, whom Peele said paved his way. "Let's make no mistake," he said. "I wouldn't be standing here if wasn't for this man."

"Get Out" is only the second horror film to win best picture at the Spirits. The other was 2010's "Black Swan."

"This project didn't start as a statement," said Peele. "It began as me wanting to make a film in my favorite genre. I sat down and would smoke a little weed and try to write a mind-bending horror film, my favorite genre and at some point I followed the truth and I realized there are people locked up for smoking less weed than I smoked writing the movie."

Held in a beach side tent on a floor soaked through from rain earlier in the day, the Spirit Awards are the dressed-down, boozy prelude to Sunday's Academy Awards.

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