IAR Live at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards

Saturday, 25 February 2012 12:34 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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IAR Live at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards

There are just over twenty-four hours until the Academy Awards ceremony begins, and naturally, awards fever has descended on Los Angeles. Symptoms of Awards Fever include, but are not limited to: hives, fancy dressing, red carpet-walking, seizures, limo-riding, hemorrhagic bleeding, speechifying, and general hyperbole. On the eve of the Oscars, those most susceptible to Awards Fever are quarantined in a series of tents on the beach in Santa Monica, mere yards from the Pacific Ocean. 

This quarantine is, in fact, the Independent Spirit Awards, celebrating the very best in independent cinema from the past year. The 27th Annual Spirit Awards are hosted by Seth Rogen. This year, the nominees for Best Picture are 50/50, The Descendants, Drive, The Artist, Beginnersand Take Shelter, while recognizable faces like Jessica Chastain, Ryan Gosling, Elizabeth Olsen, Corey Stoll, Michelle Williams, John Hawkes, Lauren Ambrose, and Jean Dujardin are nominees in other categories.

IAR is on the ground at the event itself, ready to share the winners at an awards show that is inarguably cooler and younger than those staid old Oscars. Check back for up to the minute news as we update with each and every new winner.

Rogen took the stage for an eight-minute monologue complete with no small amount of self-deprecation, profanity, and irreverent riffing, at the expense of both the Spirit Awards and the notion of awards season itself. "Without awards season," he asked, "How would the world know how much we appreciate each others' work?"

He closed out his monologue advising winners to keep their acceptance speeches short, as "This tent has to be a Bar Mitzvah by ten o'clock."

BEST SUPPORTING MALE - Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Upon taking the stage, Plummer joked, "It's taken me the longest time to realize that the Spirit Awards have nothing to do with booze. Pity, that." He went on to thank writer-director Mike Mills, as well as the rest of the cast, including the dog named Cosmo. In the press room after winning, Plummer expressed his hope that his win would encourage more people to actually see the movie.


BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY - Will Reiser, 50/50

Reiser, who wrote his first feature screenplay based on his own experience being diagnosed with cancer in his twenties, commented on the film's tricky balance of comedy and earnest drama, saying, "I think it's really just about being true to your characters and making sure that no joke is at their expense."

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY - Guillaume Schiffman, The Artist

Since he's out of the country accepting other awards, Schiffman wasn't actually in the tent for today's festivities.

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE - Shailene Woodley -The Descendants

"Oh my god, this is so nerve-wracking," a visibly thrilled Woodley said as she took the stage and enthused her way through a quick speech.  "I'm so grateful.  I don't know if surprise is the right word," she said in the press room.  She nothing but praise for co-star George Clooney and co-writer/director Alexander Payne, explaining, "They both just embody graciousness towards other human beings."


JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD - Pariah, Dee Rees (Writer-Director), Nekisa Cooper (Producer)

This award, named for the legendary auteur John Cassavetes, is given to honor a film made on a production budget of less than $500,000. Pariah, which charts the identity crises of a Brooklyn teenager, won the award this year, and Cooper said that it was a particular blessing, as Cassavetes is one of her favorite filmmakers.  She added, "You make a movie for under half a million and you're already a winner."


BEST MALE LEAD - Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Like cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman, Dujardin is en route, flying to America from France after looking to add some more awards to his burlap sack full of trophies.  His brother was meant to accept the trophy in his place, but when he couldn't be found, The Artist co-star Penelope Ann Miller quickly took the stage to laud the actor.

BEST DOCUMENTARY - The Interrupters, Steve James (Director-Producer), Alex Kotlowitz (Producer)

A chronicle of three principal figures dedicated to stemming the spread of urban violence in contemporary Chicago, The Interrupters began as an article in The New York Times by producer Alex Kotlowitz.  Documentarian James credited Kotlowitz extensively for sparking the idea, saying,"It really started with his article." Kotlowitz added that anyone can support the titular interrupters and their efforts through the non-profit organization CeaseFire Chicago.

BEST SCREENPLAY - The Descendants, Alexander Payne, Jim Rash, and Nat Faxon

Taking the stage, director, co-writer Payne arbitrarily asked, "Is it just me or is women's footwear more extreme this year?"  Faxon thanked his co-writer Rash, to which Rash replied, "He stole mine, I was going to thank myself."

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM - A Separation, Asghar Farhadi (Director)

Writer-director Asghar Farhadi won the international award for the searing Iranian drama of divorce and custody that, despite being specific to its location, speaks to universal human pains and experiences.

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD - Margin Call, J.C. Chandor (Director), Tiffany Little Canfield & Bernard Telsey (Casting Directors), Ensemble Cast

Named for the master of sprawling casts and overlapping dialogue, the Robert Altman Award acknowledges excellence from an ensemble cast.  Actor and producer Zachary Quinto accepted this award on behalf of fellow castmembers Simon Baker, Demi Moore, Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Penn Badgley, Mary McDonnell, Jeremy Irons, and Stanley Tucci, as well as writer-director J.C. Chandor and casting directors Tiffany Little Canfield and Bernard Telsey.


BEST FIRST FEATURE - Margin Call, J.C. Chandor (Writer-Director), Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Neal Dodson, Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Zachary Quinto (Producers)

After receiving the Robert Altman Award, J.C. Chandor and his cadre of producers accepted the award with a self-explanatory title honoring a first-time director who goes well above and beyond. Chandor commented onstage that it was remarkably difficult to actually get Margin Call made, saying the press tent, "It was something that was a challenge, but we stood by that and stood by the film that we wanted to make."

BEST DIRECTOR - Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Hazanavicius, whose film has dominated this year's awards season, received his award after arriving late to ceremony after some international travel. Asked if we can still find magic in the movies after winning, Hazanavicius replied, "As an audience, yes. When I go to cinema, I see some magic," going on to say that as a filmmaker, you have to count on the stars aligning just right."


BEST FEMALE LEAD - Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Upon accepting her award for playing screen idol Marilyn Monroe, Williams compared today to her first experience at the Spirit Awards, when she wore clothes she made herself and a haircut that she executed on her own. She said that this crowd is one of the only who would accept that, and thanked everyone for continuing to accept her, even now as, "The only thing that I own, that I'm wearing, is my dignity." 


BEST FEATURE - The Artist, Thomas Langmann (Producer)

And the favorite to sweep tomorrow's Oscars wins the Best Feature Award here at the Spirit Awards. Producer Thomas Langmann, fresh off a plane from France, accepted the final award of the day. In the press room, when asked what Harvey Weinstein brought to the film, Langmann joked, "His weight," before going on to explain that, after seeing the film as Cannes last year, Weinstein believed in the silent film homage completely. Hazanvicius commented on getting a police escort from Los Angeles International Airport to the Spirit Awards, saying, "That was the best part" of the months he's spent promoting the film.


You can catch the entirety of the Independent Spirit Awards tonight at 10:00 pm Pacific and Eastern, only on IFC.

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