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John Cassavetes Award: "Middle of Nowhere"
Comments: This is really the "Best Picture" prize, if you're awarding independent cinema, yeah? Budgets under $500,000. No, "indie" isn't merely about budget. But...well, that's a can of worms. Congratulations to Ava DuVernay, a talented filmmaker with a bright future.
Best Supporting Female: Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"
Comments: A brave performance and the one Oscar nominee of the bunch. It's a shame her co-star John Hawkes couldn't share in the Oscar love but he's nominated along side her at the Spirits. Happy to have Hunt back in the fold like this.
Best Cinematography: "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Comments: I'm very happy for Ben Richardson here, whose name I didn't get to mention often enough during the season. He really should have been in the serious conversation for his work on the film, which is just stellar. At least this moment gives me reason to point back to my interview with him upon release of the film. Good guy with a good head on his shoulders.
Best Screenplay: David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Comments: The first award of the day for the presumed frontrunner of the lot. Harvey Weinstein has done a nice job getting his players to soak up a lot of love at this event the last two years. But unlike last year, is today the last hurrah for the film? Or can it turn out wins for its screenplay and perhaps more tomorrow? We'll see.
Best Documentary: "The Invisible War"
Comments: First prediction I got wrong today (I turned them into IndieWire's CriticWire survey). And it's a great win at that. I'd love to see a surprise like this happen at the Oscars. I don't know what else I can say about Kirby Dick's amazing effort that I haven't said, but it's one of few films in the season that deserve a genuine, "Thank you."
Someone To Watch Award: Adam Leon, "Kimme the Loot"
Truer Than Fiction Award: Peter Nicks, "The Waiting Room"
Best Director: David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Comments: Why was I so silly as to think Benh Zeitlin's vision might take this? Of course not. "Silver Linings Playbook" is a locomotive at this show, naturally. And Mr. Weinstein pulled that string brilliantly once again.
Best Female Lead: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Comments: Naturally. But...kiss of death for tomorrow?
Best Male Lead: John Hawkes, "The Sessions"
Comments: And here I was thinking I must have been out of my mind to predict this. It's nice that something slowed the "Silver Linings" express down a touch, and this is nice vindication for Hawkes, who was shut out of the Oscar quintet. It was a beautiful performance, endearing, capturing a lot of spirit. That kind of accomplishment can't be diminished.
Best Feature: "Silver Linings Playbook"
Comments: And despite the Hawkes detour, the writing was on the wall with that one. That's two years in a row that typically dubious qualifiers for the Independent Spirit Awards have dominated, and they've emanated from the same distributor. So bravo to Harvey Weinstein. Navigating these waters is in his bones. If you're gonna do something, you might as well be good at it.
And that's a wrap! I wish I could have been in the tent, despite my point of view on the presentations going on inside it. It's a fun party. So congrats to the winners. And someone check on poor Derek Conneolly.
(Remember you can relive all the ups and downs of the 2012-2013 film awards season via The Circuit.)
What are your thoughts on the 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards turnout? Have your say in the comments section below!
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