On Saturday, March 3 a number of celebrated cinematic talents gathered in a beachside tent in Santa Monica for a casual celebration known as the Film Independent Spirit Awards. The ceremony, which is always held the night before the Academy Awards, attracted such performers and filmmakers as Black Panther and Marshall star Chadwick Boseman, Margot Robbie, A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay, Sarah Silverman, Spike Lee and Saoirse Ronan, among many others.

Also attending the star-studded ceremony was Santa Monica resident Yulia Tregub Morris, the lucky recipient of tickets from Santa Monica Travel & Tourism. Yulia’s husband Jamie Morris won a pair of coveted tickets to the show in a recent Santa Monica Travel & Tourism contest. When it turned out Jamie had to be out of town during the event, he gave the tickets to his wife, who attended with a friend.

During the contest, Santa Monica residents were invited to submit photos their favorite way to spend a winter day at the Santa Monica Pier on Facebook and Instagram. Full submissions are on view at https://www.santamonica.com/contest/.

“Since I’m originally from Russia, it was an honor to meet and chat with famous Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev, whose movie Loveless was nominated for best foreign film at the Spirit Awards —and for best foreign language film at the Academy Awards,” said Tregub Morris. “It was also cool to get a picture with Salma Hayek!”

The Spirit Awards are produced by Film Independent, a non-profit that also produces the L.A. Film Festival and whose stated mission is to “champion creative independence in visual storytelling and support a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision.” As a longtime partner to the community, Film Independent graciously donated the tickets for the contest and heavily featured Santa Monica footage and praise in the broadcast of the ceremony. Highlights of the 2018 awards show can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/user/filmindependent.

As has often been the case in recent years, a number of Spirit Award winners also went on to pick up Oscars® the following night. Frances McDormand took home the best actress prize for her performance in Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri. Also presaging the Academy’s picks, McDormand’s Ebbing co-star Sam Rockwell won the best-supporting actor award and Allison Janney won best supporting actress for her role as figure skater Tonya Harding’s mother in the biopic I, Tonya.