Adam Sandler broke the mould at the Spirit Awards, winning Best Actor for his role in Uncut Gems on what was his first-ever nomination.
Uncut Gems tells the story of Howard Ratner, a jeweller who is battling a terrible gambling addiction while living in New York City’s Diamond District. The film’s main character, played by Sandler who has been heavily praised for his glowing performance, gets in over his head with loan sharks and must retrieve an expensive gem he purchased in order to pay off his debts.
Despite what has been lauded as Sandler’s performance of a lifetime, he—and the film on a whole—was totally overlooked by the Academy Awards who refused to nominate the picture in a single Oscars category. Many believe that Sandler was personally and unfairly snubbed for an Oscar nomination based on some of the ‘unfashionable’ films he has built his career on in the past.
Despite not being part of the 92nd Academy Awards, Sandler was handed his chance on stage to collect an award for his performance as part of the 2020 Independent Spirit Award—and his acceptance speech duly delivered. Kicking this off in spectacular fashion, the actor paid tribute to fellow Best Male Lead nominees Chris Galust, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Robert Pattinson, and Matthias Schoenaerts, “who will now and forever be known as the guys who lost to fucking Adam Sandler.”
He said: Hello, my name is Adam Sandler. Thank you. I stand before you trembling with thankful glee as I receive this so-called best actor trophy, independently speaking, of course. First off, it’s great to see our host Aubrey Plaza again. Aubrey and I did a movie entitled Funny People eleven years ago. That was actually the last time critics pretended not to hate me for five fucking minutes. Catch you in another eleven years, Aubrey.
“I’d like to also give a shout out to my fellow nominees, who will now and forever be known as the guys who lost to fucking Adam Sandler. How did that happen? Independent movie? Adam Sandler? To get my movie I had to live in my car outside of fucking Ralphs, begging for nickels on fucking Kickstarter, and all Sandler had to do was get Ted Sarandos stoned.
“A few—you know, a few weeks back, when I was quote-unquote snubbed by the Academy, it reminded of when I briefly attended high school and was overlooked for the coveted yearbook superlative category Best Looking. That accolade was given to a jean-jacket-wearing featherhead douchebag by the name of Skipper Jenkins. But my classmates did honour me with the allegedly less-prestigious designation of Best Personality. And tonight, as I look around this room, I realize, the Independent Spirit Awards are the Best Personality awards of Hollywood. So let all those featherhead douchebag motherfuckers get their Oscars tomorrow night! Their handsome good looks will fade in time, while our independent personalities will shine on forever.”
Taking on a more professional tone, Sandler ended his speech with a moment of sincerity, he said: “In all seriousness, independent films have been a big part of the Adam Sandler ecosystem. From my first film, a fearless look in the American education system through the eyes of a privileged sociopath by the name of Billy Fucking Madison, to my searing exploration of American college foosball and its manipulation of socially challenged athletes like the Mr. Bobby Boucher.”
That said, of course, he did still need to finish on a comedy note: “I have tried to sell my truths with a truly independent spirit, while also cashing some truly disturbingly large paychecks.”
See the clip, below.