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In 2001, Hilary Swank rode her bike to the Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, wearing a flirty white Marc Jacobs sundress. This year, stars rolled up to the show’s new location—the massive LA Live complex downtown—in big black Escalades and wore sparkling and serious cocktail dresses.




Has the independent spirit shifted? “Some people have said, ‘Oh you know, it’s like the awards are selling out, they’re trying to be the Oscars,’” said Best Supporting Female nominee Natalie Press (“Fifty Dead Men Walking”). “But I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think it’s still really rock and roll.”


As John Waters saw it, change is inevitable. “It’s great, it’s all new, it’s exciting,” said the director. “I used to go when it was on Hollywood Boulevard.” But some actresses couldn’t shake the sand from their sartorial choices. “I just keep thinking of being at the beach during the day,” said Dana Delaney in a bright Prada sundress. “So I didn’t want to give that up.”


Regardless of the program’s set up (which kicked off with Taraji P. Henson striding down the carpet with vacuums from sponsor LG), it was still more spirited—or atleast more obscenity laden— than the average awards ceremony. It was as if presenters and winners got a kick out of not being bleeped during the ceremony’s live broadcast on IFC.


But honorary chairman Ben Stiller, who handed out the Best Feature trophy to “Precious,” was not amused. In a critical but hysterical speech, he called out the organization for booking big name presenters with “a**ses you could fry an egg on” to grab ratings. And what about naming him honorary chairman, “even if the last independent movie I did was in 1990 when there still was an independent film industry.” “You haven’t pandered enough,” Stiller continued. “It’s 1:30 in New York. Anyone channel surfing at this hour is searching for porn.” And so Stiller brought out two scantily clad women and one buff man in briefs who simulated sex acts while he named the Best Feature nominees. “This is Maggie Jizzenballs, Parker Pussé, and Phillip Semen Hoffman,” Stiller said by way of introduction. Then, remembering where he was, added, “They’re independent porn stars.”






25th annual Film Independent Spirit Award Winners

Best Feature: “Precious”

Best Director: Lee Daniels, “Precious”

Best First Feature: Scott Cooper, Robert Duvall, Rob Carliner, Judy Cairo, T Bone Burnett; “Crazy Heart”

John Cassavetes Award: Lynn Shelton, “Humpday”

Best Screenplay: Scott Neustader and Michael H Weber, “(500) Days of Summer”

Best First Screenplay: Geoffrey Fletcher, “Precious”

Best Female Lead: Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious”

Best Male Lead: Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”

Best Supporting Female: Mo’Nique, “Precious”

Best Supporting Male: Woody Harrelson, “The Messenger”

Best Foreign Film: “An Education”

Best Documentary: “Anvil: The Story of Anvil”

Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins, “A Serious Man”

Piaget Producers Award: Karin Chien, “The Exploding Girl” and “Santa Mesa”

Acura Someone to Watch: Kyle Patrick Alvarez, “Easier with Practice”

Chaz and Rogert Ebert Truer than Fiction Award: Bill Ross and Turner Rose, “45365”

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