Like many award ceremonies, 2021 Independent Spirit Awards are going virtual this year and they might have just found the perfect host to make it as entertaining as possible, Melissa Villaseñor. A cast member of “Saturday Night Live” since 1996, Villaseñor takes the reigns after two fantastic ceremonies hosted by Aubrey Plaza.
In a statement from Film Independent, the peer organization of the Spirits, Melissa Villaseñor quipped, “As someone who considers herself a pretty dependent person, I’m truly honored to host the Film Independent Spirit Awards.”
Film Independent President Josh Welsh remarked, “We’re thrilled to welcome Melissa Villaseñor into the club of smart, funny film lovers to host the Spirit Awards. The time to laugh has definitely arrived, and not a moment too soon.”
And, lastly, Blake Callaway, Executive Director, IFC and SundanceTV added, “Melissa and the unique circumstances of now will make this year’s ceremony like no other. It will certainly be a departure from the past, but with Melissa, the chances of Dolly, Ariana Grande, Bjork, Gwen Stefani, Julie Andrews and Lady Gaga showing up have skyrocketed.”
Villaseñor, the first Latina cast member on “SNL,” is known for her celebrity impressions (including musical impressions). For a telecast that will not be held with an audience, selecting a host who is this comedically versatile certainly was a smart choice. The California native has limited indie film credits, but has voiced characters in “Toy Story 4” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”
Unlike the Oscars or the Golden Globes, the Spirits are on something of a roll when it comes to entertaining telecasts. The last six ceremonies have been hosted by Fred Armisen and Kristen Bell, Kate McKinnon and Kumail Nanjiani, John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, and the aforementioned Plaza. It used to be there was no pressure when hosting the Spirits but that’s no longer the case. Villaseñor will benefit, however, from a rare Thursday night telecast that will likely include even more taped bits than normal as the Spirits will not have a live audience (or nominees) on hand.
The 2021 Spirit Awards will be handed out on Thursday, April 22 at 10 PM ET, 7 PM PT on IFC and AMC+.