This year the Film Independent Spirit Awards will be hosted by a man who has spent nearly the last two decades running around the country making sold out crowds laugh both in theaters and on screen.
That’s right, on March 1 Patton Oswalt will be handing out live birds to the ISA winners. The event, now in its 29th year, honors artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers who embody independence and originality.
Recently, TVRage, along with other reporters, chatted with Oswalt during a conference call, where he joked about chasing pigeons around a park in order to get over his fear of the birds.
About the fear itself he was confident that he’ll be able to deal with it, “I have two weeks to get over this lifelong terror that I have. I don’t think it’ll affect my performance.”
He was so confident that when asked about how to step it up next year he answered, “I think, if they let me host next year, I’m going to try to work up to mythological flying creatures: Pegasi, Gryphons, and Rocs. ... That’s the kind of grandeur this awards ceremony deserves.”
In case you were wondering, the birds aren’t just symbols. They’ll actually become the property of the winners. As he told TVRage, “Trust me, I know actors. I know directors. There are all kinds of things they can do with birds. Some I’d rather not go into.”
The award ceremony itself is bigger than the unconventional trophies. He praised the ISA for really digging and “… trying to find movies that took risks and rolled the dice. … It rewards people that are clearly emerging and are going to be doing great stuff with their careers. You get to see them early.”
Patton seemed really excited about the future of film. To him the ISA shows “… the future masters that you’re watching when they’re young. … These are the people that are going to be making the movies down the road that we’re going to be fighting over at The Oscars.”
Even while looking to the future he praised multiple veterans who are involved. Robert Redford and Bruce Dern are both on his radar and they’ve both got more than 50 years in the business. His greatest praises went to a younger vet, Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey is only in his early 40s and Patton, on top of everything else, had this to say “He just kicked his career into this turbo level in the past couple of years, if you watch ‘Killer Joe’ and ‘Mud,’ and then this year, especially with ‘Dallas Buyers Club.’ He steals a three-hour movie with one scene for God’s sake! … He’s like the most vital, best actor…working.”
Aside from looking forward to meeting 2030’s version of Martin Scorsese, Patton knows that he has his own job to do. Assuming he gets his fear of birds under control, he still has to host. For preparation he revealed, “I watch as many movies as I can. I huddle with all my funny comedian friends and we sit and write jokes. I try to be very, very aware of who is going to be there. Then … it comes down to the night of the show. You really have to watch the show and be aware of what’s going on out there and just bring that out to what you’re doing. Every time you go back out on stage, be present, because stuff is happening all around you. You’ve got to comment on it.”
He’s clearly learned from his Annie Awards experience where somebody read the wrong winner, “I’m going to be very, very aware if somebody reads the wrong card, that’s for sure. … I’ll try, once again, to try to make a screw up like that be delightful.”
If Patton Oswalt is half as funny and likable during the show, as he was during this interview, the ISA will be a success.
The Film Independent Spirit Awards will air Saturday, March 1 at 10/9c on IFC.