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Awards. Spirits and Césars

Black Swan, lost in the media fray over what was supposed to have been a two-horse race to Oscar Night, is back, having just won four Film Independent Spirit Awards: Best Feature, Best Director for Darren Aronofsky, Best Female Lead for Natalie Portman and Best Cinematography for Matthew Libatique.

Debra Granik's Winter's Bone has fared relatively well, scoring Best Supporting Male and Best Supporting Female awards for John Hawkes and Dale Dickey, respectively. Best Male Lead goes to tomorrow night's Academy Awards co-host James Franco for 127 Hours.

The Kids Are All Right, co-written by Stuart Blumberg and director Lisa Cholodenko, wins Best Screenplay, while Lena Dunham is given the Best First Screenplay award for Tiny Furniture.

Best First Feature: Aaron Schneider's Get Low. Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop's scored Best Documentary, while the Truer Than Fiction Award goes to Jeff Malberg for Marwencol. Best Foreign Film, believe it or not, goes to Tom Hooper's The King's Speech. Anish Savjani wins the Piaget Producers Award for Meek's Cutoff — that trailer's been making the rounds in the last 24 hours or so, too.

The John Cassavetes Award, presented to the writer, director and producer of the best feature made for under $500,000 goes to Joshua and Ben Safdie's Daddy Longlegs. The Robert Altman Award, presented to one film's director, casting director and its ensemble cast, goes to Nicole Holofcener's Please Give. The Someone to Watch Award: Mike Ott for Littlerock.

 

When the César Awards were presented in Paris on Friday night, Xavier Beauvois's Of Gods and Men won Best Film, a Best Supporting Actor César for Michael Lonsdale and the Best Cinematography award for Caroline Champetier. Roman Polanski won Best Director for The Ghost Writer, which also picked up awards for Best Adapted Screenplay (co-written by Polanski and Robert Harris), Best Editing (Hervé de Luze) and Best Original Music (Alexandre Desplat). Peter Knegt has the full list of all the winners at indieWIRE.

From Paris, Doreen Carvajal reports on the ceremony for the New York Times, noting that the evening "offered Mr Polanski an opportunity to bask in his stolid support from Paris, where he lives and is now working on a new film, an adaption of Yasmina Reza's Tony Award-winning comedy The God of Carnage… 'I finished this film while in jail so I would like to thank all the people who helped me and supported me until the very end,' said Mr Polanski, who has been honored before with Césars in 1980 for Tess and in 2002 for The PianistJodie Foster, who is starring with Kate Winslet in Mr Polanski's new film, also played a visible role at the Césars as honorary president and the presenter of the best film picture award, reading her lines from a teleprompter in polished lycee French." Quentin Tarantino was given an honorary career achievement award and accepted in English but "offered his final thank you with an exuberant cheer of 'Vive la France!' The audience, numbering close to 3000, responded on all levels of the opera house with a standing ovation."

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These don’t get to be called “Independent” spirit awards anymore. Nearly all these films are multiple Oscar nominees. Make it interesting, set it so that anything Oscar-nominated isn’t eligible.
I’ll second most of what Thomas Wells said. Wait, is the Foreign film category for the Spirit awards based on location more than language? I’m perplexed by The King’s Speech of all things winning in that category.
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It’s about cost, not acceptance. Should they only laud films no one has seen or liked? And the Spirit award is called “Best Foreign”, not “Best Foreign-Language,” so UK films are appropriately eligible.

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