Patton Oswalt talks flight plan for Spirit Awards, bird stunt

Some people think award shows are for the birds; now Patton Oswalt is making sure of it.

Days after the actor, comedian and host of this year's Film Independent Spirit Awards announced his intention to hand out live birds instead of the usual winged statuettes at the ceremony, Oswalt spoke to reporters on a conference call about his plans for the show, though he remained coy about his proposed avian stunt.

Oswalt said he wasn't yet sure what kinds of birds he will bestow upon winners, though he did specify they will be adult specimens, not babies, and will be "cage-free." He added that the plumed prizes will be handled by the presenters and the winners.


Asked what exactly winners are supposed to do with their new feathered friends, Oswalt replied, "That's going to be up to the individual winners. They can keep them, they can set them free. Trust me, I know actors, I know directors. There's all kinds of things they can do with birds — some I'd rather not go into."

Curiously, Oswalt claimed to have "a paralyzing fear of birds," adding, "I have two weeks to get over this lifelong terror that I have. I don't think it'll affect my performance."

When asked whether he anticipates any backlash from animal-welfare groups, Oswalt archly said, "Each bird is given its own individual suite at Shutters on the Beach and its own personal limo driver. And we're setting each of them up with their own Instagram and Vine accounts. They're being treated very, very well." 

A self-described film buff, Oswalt also expressed his excitement for the show, which takes place March 1 and will be broadcast on IFC. "This award show digs pretty deep in trying to find movies that took risks and rolled the dice," he said, including films by emerging and established talents.

If all goes well, Oswalt might even return for another hosting stint.

"If they let me host next year," he said, "I'm going to try to work up to mythological flying creatures: pegasi, rocs … anything like that. That's the kind of grandeur this awards ceremony deserves."