Patton Oswalt’s live-bird stunt for Spirit Awards gets grounded


Patton Oswalt’s wings have been clipped. A week after the actor, comedian and Spirit Awards host declared his intention to replace the ceremony’s usual avian-themed trophies with live birds, show organizer Film Independent announced that those plans have been grounded.

The birds “refused to cooperate,” Film Independent said in a statement, which was accompanied by a humorous video professing to show Oswalt rehearsing with a dove. The tongue-in-cheek spot implies that the feathered prizes weren’t getting along, with the dove being eaten by a majestic eagle.

No animals, we’re sure, were harmed in the making of the video.


A person familiar with the show’s plans said that organizers had, indeed, intended to carry out some sort of stunt involving live birds at the ceremony, which will be held in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica on March 1 and telecast that evening on IFC.

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The gag, however, wasn’t working out during rehearsals, prompting organizers to film the 30-second video spot as a sort of acknowledgment and make-good.

While speaking to reporters last week, Oswalt wouldn’t go into many specifics about the show, offering only some details — the birds would be not be confined and would be handled by presenters and winners alike, he said — but also a healthy dose of jokes, as when he claimed each bird would get its own hotel suite at a beachside hotel.

In light of Oswalt’s persistent coyness and the overall absurdity of the notion of handing out live animals at an award ceremony, it isn’t surprising that the birds will be a no-show — but it is a bit of a letdown considering how heavily the proposed prizes had been touted.

Presumably Oswalt has now learned the old show-biz adage that one should never work with children or animals. You might call it a cardinal rule.


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