Wanna play pretend?
Let's pretend that the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards weren't held five hours ago in Santa Monica and that the Winners weren't already posted to this site and that all of the evening's best moments weren't already spoiled by dozens of on-site tweeters.
Let's pretend that since we weren't actually there (HitFix's Gregory Ellwood was), everything that happens under The Big Tent is fresh and new...
And with that in mind... Let's live-blog the darned thing! Click through...
9:58 p.m. ET. You ready for our game of pretend? You can start by clicking through our Red Carpet gallery, featuring double Jennifer Lawrence and double Natalie Portman.
10 p.m. I think the key is to view the Indie Spirit Awards as Joel McHale's audition for bigger future award show gigs. If he's a hit here, he could host... who knows? The Tonys someday?
10:01 p.m. We begin with a filmed big. McHale's ready to host, but his arm is pinned under a boulder, just like in that movie... "Winter's Bone." Enter Dale Dickey, actual co-star of "Winter's Bone." He make the first "Greenberg" joke of the night. Why joke about "Greenberg"? It was a good movie. Of its type. Enter Banksy, or... ALEX TREBEK! He stencils a peeing Calvin on the boulder and makes a "potent potables" joke. After Joel McHale makes his first Ryan Seacrest joke of the night, John Waters enters to tell Joel to do it his way. John Waters rescues Joel and the show can go on!
10:04 p.m. McHale begins by bowing to Rusto "God of Movies Nobody Sees," the celluloid statue behind him. He continues with an Eagle Rock/Los Feliz/Silver Lake joke. There are no time limits on speeches, which leads to a joke about Monique, who many people have forgotten won an Oscar (and Indie Spirit) last year.
10:06 p.m. Heh. McHale jokes that Daniel Tosh will be next year's host.
10:06 p.m. "Finally somebody is giving exposure to the criminally underused James Franco," McHale cracks, before telling a smiling Franco that he misses the mustache.
10:07 p.m. "To prepare for today, I immersed myself in independent cinema, through a grueling 10 minute Google search where I learned that Rabbit Hole is, indeed, not a porno," he jokes, before making his second Seacrest joke, this one referring to "Tiny Furniture" as the place the "Idol" hosts gets his ottomans. After calling "Slumdog Millionaire" quote "the most disturbing Indian tourism commercial ever," he refers to Danny Boyle's "127 Hours" quote, "The most harrowing Mountain Dew commercial ever," a joke more than a few critics made months ago.
10:08 p.m. "If you only see one movie this year that features heavy meth use, abusive parents and squirrel skinning, make it 'Gnomeo and Juliet,'" McHale cracks. Cut to the lovely, love Jennifer Lawrence.
10:09 p.m. Heh. Ginger joke related to "The Kids Are All Right."
10:10 p.m. Tee-hee. "Black Swan" is dubbed, "That movie where that girl from 'That '70s Show' eats out Luke Skywalker's mom." Darren Aronofsky looks pretty proud of himself. But where the heck is Mila Kunis?
10:11 p.m. "2010 will go down as the Year of Cinematic Cunnilingus," McHale jokes, referencing a punchline that literally dozens of bloggers have made in recent months, though maybe not with an "Eating lunch down at the Y" punchline. "This is a good time to point out that my mom and dad are here tonight," he adds.
10:12 p.m. The night's first presenters are Vera Farmiga and Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo falls heading up to the stage, which I only know because people on Twitter told me that it happened 6 hours ago. It's cold. I'm guessing people will be mentioning that for a while. Not that I know who wins any of these awards. Nope! This is an award show about being first among equals, Ruffalo says. Unless you lose. In that case? You suck.
10:13 p.m. The first award is for Supporting Female. My favorite thing about the Indie Spirits is the lengthy clip packages for EVERYTHING. Nobody leaves feeling like they haven't gotten a good showcase for their little movie. Your winner? Dale Dickey for "Winter's Bone"! This is a total surprise for me! And a well-deserved win for an actress who didn't get enough recognition from the mainstream folks for her fantastic work in one of my favorite 2011 movies. "I have to thank Joel McHale for the new bruises for holding the chainsaw between my knees," she tells the host. Only on the Indie Spirit Awards, y'all! Shout out to the people of Missouri!
10:17 p.m. James Franco introduces the clips from "127 Hours." He doesn't say or do anything funny. Way to pace yourself, Mr. Oscar Host. Next year, Franco won't even show up at this show. He's gonna be all, "I was in a 'Planet of the Apes' movie. Y'all indie folks can suck it." But we remember "Annapolis," James.
10:22 p.m. Joel McHale has gone from host to substitute teacher, desperately trying to get people to be quiet as they return from commercial break.
10:25 p.m. Hmmm... A Ronald Bronstein joke. Nobody knows what that's about. Or nobody who hasn't seen "Daddy Longlegs." Which is nobody.
10:26 p.m. David Cross and Will Arnett are presenting Best First Feature. Everybody in the crowd just wants to ask them about the "Arrest Development" movie. Nobody's laughing at their actual banter and Cross ends with, "What's happening in Wisconsin people is a call to arms." And nobody laughs *or* cheers. Your winner? "Get Low." After "The Last Exorcism," "Get Low" was probably the film that needed this award least. So... Yay?
10:29 p.m. This is *not* an interesting speech. You can see the telecast's director searching the crowd for somebody famous doing something interesting. BINGO! Jon Hamm! Growing a beard!
10:30 p.m. Nicole Kidman is much taller than Jeremy Renner. Are they trying to emasculate the "Avengers" star? Ouch. I keep expecting her to pat him on the head and straighten his tie. They're presenting Lead Actor. Watching his performance in "Rabbit Hole" seems to stress Aaron Eckhart out. That looks like a very comfortable sweater James Franco is wearing over his suit. And I'll say it again: "Greenberg" was a really good movie and Ben Stiller was terrific in it. If the movie was uncomfortable for you to watch, that was intentional.
10:35 p.m. Anyway, James Franco wins. He won't win tomorrow night, so this is his moment. Because he totally won't have a spotlight tomorrow night. "I just went through film school at NYU," Franco says. And he isn't kidding. James Franco likes jobs. Seriously, that's a comfortable-looking sweater. "It was a crazy experience that I don't think I'll ever repeat," Franco says, humbly thanking all of the appropriate people. "It is what it is, it's crazy and they made it anyway," Franco says of Fox Searchlight.
10:37 p.m. Joel McHale is introducing the "Black Swan" clip for some reason. On one hand, it's good to see him, that they didn't Gervais him. On the other hand... Why?
10:43 p.m. Craig Robinson is playing a piano. He's the star of "Hot Tub Time Machine," my fifth favorite indie film of 2010. He's got a very prominent bottle of Jameson and it isn't a coincidence. He's singing about the sponsors who put up the money for several tiny, indie awards. I believe this is Craig Robinson's audition to host next year's Indie Spirits. I'm sure he'll be 14th or 15th on their call list. He actually did a good job with "Last Comic Standing" last season. Relatively speaking.
10:47 p.m. Jessie Eisenberg and Rosario Dawson are the logical choices to present the documentary award. One of the nominees is "Marwencol." We just learned about "Marwencol" just moments ago.
10:49 p.m. Your winner? "Exit Through the Gift Shop." Banksy isn't there, but Mr. Brainwash is. "I don't know what to say. It's too big for me right now," Mr. Brainwash says.
10:58 p.m. Again, Joel McHale is doing nothing more than directing traffic and shushing people.
10:58 p.m. Time for faux Necrology. "Here's a brief look ahead to some people who may die next year..." Nia Vardalos "Big, fat Greek bus crash." Not funny. Nobody even remembers that move happened, other than the man who cleans Nia Vardalos' money swimming pool. Mark Ruffalo "Beaten to death for excessive handsomeness." Forgive me for thing that might not be so funny to a man who had a very real brush with death. Samuel L. Jackson. Well, they can't find the title card. "Motherf--in' snakes." HA! That's a reference to a four-year-old movie. I stop paying attention. This is just an AWFUL gag. Jesse Eisenberg, "Murdered by Michael Cera" is the closest to semi-funny.
11:02 p.m. Best Foreign Film is presented by Terrence Howard and Sandra Oh. Howard complains about the heat. He'll be replaced by Don Cheadle by the time the clips are over. "The King's Speech" wins in another of those "Which film needs this award the least and least embodies actual independent spirit" choices. Hooper is confused by his category. He makes a brief effort to justify the independence of his $100-million-plus grossing Oscar juggernaut.
11:05 p.m. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor are next to present, but nobody recognizes them because they're both fully dressed. Surely McGregor shows his penis for award show presentations as well? They're presenting The Robert Altman Award, one of those prizes that was announced ahead of time, so we all know it's "Please Give."
11:07 p.m. Greg Ellwood liked "Please Give" much more than I did. I'm sure he's happy about this. I'm disappointed that Rebecca Hall, far and away my favorite part of the movie, seems not to have made the journey. I'm sure she's in a play, right?
11:09 p.m. Joel McHale hasn't made a joke for what seems like hours, but the announcer-guy is funny.
11:13 p.m. At least half of the commercials during this telecast are for IFC.
11:13 p.m. "For my money, you can't make a human centipede without our next two presenters," McHale cracks, welcoming Melissa Leo and Rainn Wilson. Oh look. It's Melissa Leo being quirky. "This is the coldest f***ing award show ever," Wilson says, abandoning whatever his scripted bit was. John Hawkes was *so* good in "Winter's Bone." I'll just *die* if he doesn't win.I keep waiting for Melissa Leo to hold up a "Melissa Leo for Oscar" sign.
11:15 p.m. Whew. Your winner? John Hawkes. It's a win for "Deadwood" and for "Eastbound and Down," too. I should watch "Winter's Bone" again. "I wish I could mention every cast and crew member, but I guess that's what IMDB is for," Hawkes observes before thanking Jennifer Lawrence, which means screentime for Jennifer Lawrence.
11:18 p.m. Kerry Washington and Diego Luna are both being attacked by their bangs, which may be why they're presenting together. They're giving the John Cassavetes Award, given to a movie that's even cheaper than anything else getting awards tonight. The winner is "Daddy Longlegs," which I'm now regretting missing at Sundance two years ago. I mean, I saw "Winter's Bone" and "Jack Goes Boating"... What more do you want out of me? The "Daddy Longlegs" filmmakers are endearingly geeky, which helps since they appear to have been sitting in Manhattan Beach somewhere. This is one of the night's best categories, because *every* movie in the category can benefit from the exposure. The bearded filmmaker gives a loopy speech, probably one of the best of the night.
11:22 p.m. OK. I'm sold. If "Daddy Longlegs" ever comes out on DVD, I'll watch.
11:23 p.m. John Waters tells us about a couple awards that were given out while people were still filing into the tent.
11:29 p.m. "Meek's Cutoff." I missed that one at *this* Sundance. I think Greg Ellwood told me I didn't need to see it. Now that I'm seeing how grimy Michelle Williams looked in the movie, I'm kinda disappointed. This is another one that needs to come to a theater. Or DVD. Or something.
11:30 p.m. Joel McHale needs to shut people up again. A Kate Walsh joke? "Kate Walsh, would you please report to the production trailer? There's an implausible medical emergency and we need someone to perform an ill-advised procedure. Please stop somewhere on the way and fall in love." Wow. Is that why Kate Walsh was here tonight? For that joke?
11:32 p.m. "Affable Everyman Eva Mendes and Latina Bombshell Paul Rudd" are next and they've cut some bit where Paul was going to grab Eva's boobs. But he does it anyway. Thus, Paul Rudd has had a pretty good day. They're presenting Best Screenplay. The winner is... "The Kids Are All Right." But wait. Somehow Rosario Dawson has arrived on stage and she's clutching Paul Rudd's junk. Yup. A good afternoon for Paul Rudd. Lisa Cholodenko arrives at the podium with a bottle of Jameson. Now we know who the inspiration was for Annette Bening's hair style in the movie. Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko end their speech by making out. Awkwardly.
11:36 p.m. Crap. I was not given a pair of 3-D glasses. It's a filmed bit with the "senior vice president for voting procedures" or something. But wait... Was that McHale's "Community" co-star Gillian Jacobs in the audience? How cute! Anyway, I have no idea if this actually worked in the audience. If only this had happened five hours ago, I could ask somebody who was actually there.
11:43 p.m. Thanks to Jameson, I no longer remember what won the rest of tonight's awards. Thanks, Jameson. Now I wish you'd sponsor my blog, so that I could get blitzed for free.
11:43 p.m. Ben Stiller time. "Cold. So cold," Stiller begins. He was awesome last year. He does a Hosni Mubarak joke. It's... odd. The audience is too drunk to laugh or care. He's presenting Best Director to... Darren Aronofsky's Jaunty Scarf. Darren Aronofsky's Jaunty Scarf hugs everybody, including Natalie Portman's Wintery Parka. The funny thing is that Darren Aronofsky's Jaunty Scarf has been attending award shows this winter even when it was mild. This is the first award show for Natalie Portman's Wintery Parka. "Everyone was like 'You'll never make money' and now they're f***ing rich," says Darren Aronofsky's Jaunty Scarf, referring to the equity funders of the movie. In a nice move, Darren Aronofsky's Jaunty Scarf actually thanks all of the actors from each of his movies dating back to "Pi."
11:49 p.m. I love "Winter's Bone," but I would rather watch Jennifer Lawrence introduce "Winter's Bone." I love how they catch Jennifer Lawrence rushing back to her winter jacket. As you may have heard, it's cold. I say "it's" because this award show is happening now. It definitely didn't happen this afternoon.
11:54 p.m. Haven't we already given some random sponsored award to "Marwencol"? It's playing on PBS this spring at some point. I have a screener around here somewhere. I'd watch it, except that my Saturday evenings are spent live-blogging things that already happened.
11:55 p.m. "I'm Joel McHale, or as Charlie Sheen calls me, 'Mordecai Rabinowitz.'"
11:56 p.m. Zoe Saldana and Jamie Foxx were all, "Screw this. I'm not going out there without a jacket and a shawl." Because it's cold. They're presenting Best Female Lead. Sadly, it's not going to Jennifer Lawrence. I keep objectifying her because she's beautiful, but she was ridiculously good in "Winter's Bone." Instead, it goes to Natalie Portman's Wintery Parka. Unfortunately, Natalie Portman's Wintery Parka is unable to make it to the stage and the award is accepted by Natalie Portman's Stylish Maternity Dress.
11:58 p.m. "This is my first time here," Natalie Portman begins. She quickly thanks Darren Aronofsky's Jaunty Scarf. Portman also gives an awesome shout-out to all of the female filmmakers in the room.
12:03 a.m. Only one award remaining... So we're gonna milk it. Or we're gonna Stella Artois it. Or Jameson it?
12:05 a.m. Uma Thurman and Don Cheadle are presenting the last award of the night. Originally it was going to be Uma Thurman and Terrence Howard, but... Well, you know the rest.
12:06 a.m. The Best Feature winner is... "Black Swan." Not my first choice, but I can live with it, especially since it happened five hours ago and there's nothing I can do about it anymore. One of the producers is also wearing a jaunty scarf. It's either imitation or it's cold in there. Has anybody else heard that it was cold? I swear that Natalie Portman is now wearing three winter coats, layered. It's COLD.
Thanks for following along with my game of pretend...