Oh what a night! Inside the Film Independent Spirit Awards [Getty/Grazia]
While other award ceremonies are all about the diamonds, the full lacquer glamour, and a vibe as starchy as a gentleman's collar, The Film Independent Spirit Awards held in the beach-front destination of Santa Monica are a little bit different. They have been running for 29 years and are always held the day before the Oscars. As befitting a celebration of independent film-makers, the laid-back sea breeze vibe of LA's coolest corner provides a fitting backdrop complete with tented venue, sky-blue carpet, and bottles of tequila on the tables, while it still attracts the biggest stars in town. Last night Grazia was backstage to bring you all the details from this year's glittering ceremony. Here's what you need to know...
1) Jared and Lupita sitting in a tree?
Gossip has been swirling for weeks about whether nominees Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong'o are an item, and Jared added fuel to the fire when he dedicated his Spirit Awards win for Dallas Buyer's Club: 'To my future ex-wife. Lupita, I'm thinking of you.'
Lupita Nyong'o and Jared Leto with Lupita's mother, Dorothy [WireImage]
2) Blue carpet secrets
Paula Patton wore a lemon yellow Lorena Sarbu lace minidress and didn't stop to speak to the press on her way in, but smiled as someone called out the refrain of estranged husband Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines 'Hey, hey, hey' as she walked past. Sarah Paulson has a scatter of stars tattooed in the nape of her neck, and Michael Fassbender and Forest Whitaker were the last ones in.
Paula Patton on the blue carpet [Getty]
3) Fashion was all about sea-and-sky tones or beachy brights
Orange really is the new black, as Angela Bassett, American Hustle's Elisabeth Rohm, and Go For Sisters' Yolanda Ross all went for tangerine-coloured gowns. Opting for the other popular colour palette of the night were best supporting actress nominee Sally Hawkins who wore billowing sky blue and white silk, Reese Witherspoon in royal blue laminate flowers, Julie Delpy in voluminous turquoise, The Spectacular Now's Shailene Woodley in a teal two-piece, and 12 Yeas A Slave star Sarah Pauley in white stitched with iridescent watery blooms.
A bright colour palette on the blue carpet [Getty]
4) Angelina was Brad's plus one…
Inside the vast tented blue-lit venue, tables were laid with water, wine and two bottles of Patron tequila - one infused with coffee. Each star guest was represented by a large printed headshot on a board which was rested on their chair - all except one. As producer of 12 Years a Slave, Brad Pitt had his own clearly designated table setting, while the one next to him simply read 'Table Guest'. His 'table guest turned out to be fiance Angelina.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie [Wireimage]
5) Hair was all about making waves
Camilla Alves, Lake Bell and Julie Delpy all rocked loose beachy waves, while Reese Witherspoon and Brie Larson opted for messy up-dos and Cate Blanchett went for a rougher version of a fishtail braid. 'Everyone wants to look like they haven't tried when they have!' reveals hair stylist Chelsea from Santa Monica's Benefit hair and makeup bar. 'These are the most popular looks around here - they're great for people who don't want a lot of fuss, and these sorts of styles go great from day into night.'
Hairspiration from the A-listers [Getty]
6) Let's hear it for the boys
Men usually look like photocopied versions of each other at black tie award-shows, but not at the Spirit Awards. Best supporting actor winner Jared Leto was bundled up in a scarf, leather jacket, and lumberjack shirt tied round his waist, Brad Pitt took a leaf out of son Maddox's book with a demi-mohawk, Matthew McConaughey sported a chocolate lurex three piece suit with blue suede shoes, and veteran indie king John Waters wore a mismatched tartan Comme de Garcon suit. Even sharply-dressed Joseph Gordon-Levitt wore odd socks - one striped and the other multicoloured and patterned.
The best dressed men [Getty]
The Ocean vibe was carried through into the venue with a silver and blue carpet which sparkled like the sea. Not only were star guests's pictures emblazoned on placards on seats, but taped to the floor as well, just so that wait staff would be in no doubt as to who they were serving.
The calm before the storm [Grazia]
8) Nude sheeny nails
Most women including Julie Delpy and Kristen Bell wore their nails short and lacquered in pinky shell tones. Manicurist Crystal from Exhale Spa at the stars favourite hotel the Fairmont Miramar says, 'French manicures are more popular in Beverly Hills, and very trendy stuff like ombre nails are very West Hollywood. The two most popular looks in Santa Monica are nude, fresh and pretty, or really bright funky colours like turquoise and coral.'
Kristen Bell goes nude [Getty]
9) Cleopatra girl
Zoe Kravitz shared some of her beauty secrets, revealing that the main two are getting plenty of sleep and drinking lots of water, adding, 'And I've just discovered this great local spa called the Olympic who do amazing milk and honey scrubs!'
Zoe Kravitz loves a good scrub [Getty]
10) Happy birthday!
Woman of the night Lupita Nyong'o continued her awards season winning streak in the fashion stakes in a metallic print shorts playsuit and suede heels from Stella McCartney. It also happened to be her 31st birthday. When she won the best supporting actress award for 12 Years a Slave a hug for her director Steve McQueen turned into him carrying her to the stage, where she dedicated her award to her mother, who in lime green showed where her daughter's love of colour blocking has come from.
What a birthday present! [Getty]
11) Bag lady
The main players continued to sweep the board at awards season. Cate Blanchett, wearing Roksanda Ilincic, won best actress for her role in Blue Jasmine and was backstage when Matthew McConnaughey won best actor for Dallas Buyers Club, throwing her arms in the air when his name was called, and listening rapt as he have his acceptance speech. She also revealed that the Birkin bag Jasmine carried in the film was worth more than the whole costume budget, revealing 'I kept throwing it on the ground and the costume designer Suzy Benzinger was having conniptions!'
Cate Blanchett woops for Matthew's win backstage [Grazia]
12) Bare-faced chic
The biggest female stars on the sky blue carpet all favoured a natural pared down look - or so they would have us believe… Local Benefit makeup artist Nicole says of the typical Santa Monica beauty look, 'Everyone around here wants to look like they haven't tried when of course they have - they all want it to look like they've done their makeup themselves.' Popular components of the stripped down look include foundation that doesn't sit on the skin, singularly-added cluster lashes rather than strips of falsies, and clever contouring using a little highlighting shimmer on top of the cheekbone and bronzer right underneath to give the face subtle structure.
Cate Blanchett is a natural beauty [Getty]
13) And so to the after-party
When the show was over it was just a hop, a skip and a prius-ride across to the star-friendly Fairmont Miramar for the exclusive after-party. Nestled in the hotel's grounds is the hottest spot in town - The Bungalow, where at weekends locals queue for two hours to get in. The 'Baja style casita' has the relaxed feel of someone's fabulously eclectic home, with a tented outdoor deck area glowing with jam jar lights in the trees. Instead of flashy champagne, guests drank local wines or Stella Artois, and canapes included chicken quesadillas, mac n cheese balls, miniature key lime pies, and apple brandy tartlets.
Party time [Grazia]
14) Comfort and style
Go For Sisters nominee Yolanda wasn't afraid to dress for comfort, exchanging her towering gold stilettos for a pair of comfy trainers. It's hard to imagine that happening at the Oscars!
Yolanda Ross - a girl after our own hearts [Grazia]
By Marcia Moody
See the event's best dressed in the gallery below
Virgin Atlantic flies twice daily from London Heathrow to Los Angeles and is offering return Economy fares from £508 per person. For further information contact www.virginatlantic.com or call 0844 2092 770. This fare is available for selected departures during 2014. Prices given are correct as of today and are subject to change