Yearly In L.A., The Independent Spirit Awards Have Become Like A Soup-And-Sandwich Companion To The Oscars®
The Independent Spirit Awards honor independent film and those artists (actors included) who make independent films.
(Can I yell a loud”YEAH!”, right here?)
I have touted the Independent Spirits and even more fanatically, their filmmaker support and development organization called FILM Independent, because they have a program that is un-matched in helping independent filmmakers get mentored, and supported, during the filmmaking process. They also assist in helping develop screenwriters develop scripts, and on and on. It’s really a special organization for artists who make movies. Sometimes this organization gets movies made that would never have been made. In addition, FIND doesn’t choose because of who or how many would buy tickets to the completed film. And that’s huge.
Here’s the winners from yesterday’s 2011 Independent Spirit Awards. I include some of the informational commentary as written by Pete Hammond. Right now, Pete writes for Deadline; he has written for many sources over the years, and is a seasoned and maybe well-known awards journalist.
Best Feature included many Academy Award nominees like 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Kids Are All Right, and Winter’s Bone. Announced ahead of time was that Please Give was selected for the Robert Altman Award, which is given to one film’s director, casting director, and ensemble cast. The Spirit Awards returned to the beach for this year’s ceremony after last year’s flop of a show in Downtown Los Angeles. (Coverage by Deadline awards columnist Pete Hammond and freelancer Diane Haithman)
2011 Film Independent Spirit Award Winners
Best Feature: Black Swan, Producers: Scott Franklin, Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Brian Oliver
Best Director: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Dissed Aronofsky in his acceptance speech: “Producer Brian Oliver and his company made a really terrible deal to get this movie made. People said they would never make money on it and now they are fucking rich.” Backstage, he was asked why theatergoers forked over so much moolah to see his film: “I’ve got no fuckin’ idea. But it’s really exciting. The word that keeps coming back to me is ‘fun’ — people are having fun seeing it.”
Best Female Lead: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Natalie made a funny in her acceptance speech: “We had the bond company on set for two months on a 2 1/2-month shoot. The ballerinas were wondering, ‘When am I gonna get paid?’”
Best Male Lead: James Franco, 127 Hours
This award was presented very early in the show, even before Best Supporting Male, perhaps because Franco has to get back to his Oscars hosting rehearsals. James said in his acceptance speech, “I just went through film school and just finished my thesis film, so this means a
lot. It was a once in a lifetime experience.”
Best Supporting Male: John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
Best Supporting Female: Dale Dickey, Winter’s Bone
Best Screenplay: Kids Are All Right, Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko
Highlight of their acceptance speeches was when Stuart Blumberg said:
“There’s one thing we have wanted to do for years” — and then he and Lisa Cholodenko locked lips in a passionate embrace…
Best Foreign Film: The King’s Speech (United Kingdom): Director: Tom Hooper
This was the only Spirit Awards category that Oscar frontrunner was eligible. Said Tom Hooper in his acceptance speech: “This was a true independent film.” Backstage, Hooper elaborated: “It will always be about thanking the people who helped you go on the journey. It was very tough to get it made. People were not lining up to finance The King’s Speech.” He said he hasn’t read the predictions that film will sweep the Academy Awards on Sunday. And he only knows if The Royal Family have seen it because of news reports. but he was well versed on the film’s recent MPAA news. ”I understand the MPAA said that, if we drop the audio of the ‘fucks’ out, they were willing to release it as PG-13. I’ll see that version on Monday and I can comment better then. I’m really very unhappy that kids have been discouraged from seeing it.”
Best Documentary: Exit Through Gift Shop, Director: Banksy
No sign of Banksy although this would be the place for him! But France’s Thierry Guetta accepted the award for the reclusive performance artist / graffiti painter who made the film. “I had a speech but forgot it at the hotel. I would like to give this to Banksy. If you have a dream, just do it. Where I come from even a plane could not take you there. But this is real. It’s all real… I love everyone.”
John Cassavetes Award (best feature made for under $500,000): Daddy Longlegs, Writer/Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, Producers: Casey Neistat, Tom Scott
The director slipped and fell flat on his back onstage. But that didn’t stop him from going on and on for his acceptance speech…
Best First Feature: Get Low, Director: Aaron Schneider, Producers: David Gundlach, Dean Zanuck
Best Cinematography: Matthew Libatique, Black Swan
Libatique said he’s “a happy man” and said about his Spirit, “This is my Academy Award.” He went on to explain that the digital vs film argument over Black Swan ”is blown out of proportion. The one thing is that, with digital, a lot of people who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to make films are making films.” About the experience of making the film, “I didn’t get enough hugs and kisses [from Natalie Portman]. It’s work. I have fun after the fact. It’s heavy lifting otherwise. We just worked hard, put our heads together, and tried to make a good film.”
Best First Screenplay: Tiny Furniture, Lena Dunham
Here’s some links for you to check out, if you wish to learn more about what FIND has to offer…
FILM Independent [Also known as FIND]
Will be blogging + tweeting = Academy Awards® tonight!!!