August 7, 2009 / 1:03 AM / 10 years ago

Spirit Awards ditching afternoon ceremony on beach

English actor Steve Coogan hosts the show at the 24th annual Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California February 21, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - An annual Oscar weekend tradition has been broken, with the Spirit Awards shifting from their coveted Saturday afternoon slot the day before the biggest night in Hollywood.

Film Independent, which runs the arthouse-oriented ceremony, said next year’s show will take place on Friday, March 5, at 8 p.m., two days before the Academy Awards.

The group did not offer a reason for the move of what is the ceremony’s 25th year; executive director Dawn Hudson said only that “in planning this year’s significant anniversary, we decided to venture away from our beloved day at the beach to a Friday evening where we hope an even broader audience discovers us as we kick-off the awards weekend.”

While officials said details on a new location would be forthcoming, it’s unlikely that at that post-dusk hour the show would continue to be held at a beachside location.

The Spirits for a number of years have been held under a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. Stars and industry executives would bask in the relaxed, booze-laden atmosphere before heading off to other Oscar weekend obligations in the evening.

The televised broadcast will continue to air live and uncut on IFC — though, with the new time slot, that means an unusually late 11 p.m. start for East Coast viewers.

Editing by DGoodman at Reuters

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