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Spirit Awards - Winners And Recap

Roselle Chen |
February 26, 2011 | 11:43 p.m. PST

Senior Entertainment Editor

Spirit Awards (Film Independent)
Spirit Awards (Film Independent)
Ballet thriller "Black Swan," directed by Darren Aronofsky, took home four top prizes Saturday at the 26th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica.

"Black Swan" won for each category it was nominated in, which was Best Feature, Best Lead Actress (Natalie Portman), Best Cinematography (Matthew Libatique) and Best Director (Darren Aronofsky). The five months pregnant Natalie Portman carefully navigated up the stairs to the stage when accepting her award, which was "slippery," said Portman.

"This is so meaningful to me, this is my first time here,” said Portman.

After thanking her fellow five nominees for being an inspiration to her acting, Portman went on to describe the truly independent spirit of "Black Swan's" film set.

"We had a bond company on-set for the last, like two months, and it was only a two-and-a-half month shoot. My ballet teachers every day were like, 'Sooo, when do we get paid?'"

The light hearted event was perhaps made even more so when actors were served Jameson whisky on the red carpet.

"This is loose, everybody's happy to be here," said actor Aaron Eckhart.

Aronofsky's acceptance speech had the audience laughing when he described the involvement of Fox Searchlight as "Black Swan's" distributor.

"Thanks for putting your necks out, because on paper this was a really stupid move," said Aronofsky. “Everyone said this movie wouldn’t make money, and now [the investors] are fucking rich.”

Other winners were James Franco for biographical adventure film "127 Hours" for Best Male Lead category, Dale Dickey and John Hawkes in Ozark gothic piece "Winter's Bone" for Best Supporting Female and Best Supporting Male categories, Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko for Best Screenplay for lesbian family comedy "The Kids Are All Right," and Tennessee drama film "Get Low" for Best First Feature category.

Lena Dunham, 24, won the Best First Screenplay award for comedy film "Tiny Furniture."

“As trite as it sounds, it was just about writing what was vital and personal," said Dunham. "The idea of giving advice is crazy, I feel like such a doofus most of the time.”

Viewers wondered if mysterious street artist Banksy would claim his prize for art documentary "Exit through the Gift Shop" for Best Documentary category, but Thierry Guetta, also known as Mr. Brainwash and the central character in the film, accepted the award on Banksy's behalf.

Many speculated if "Exit through the Gift Shop" was a gigantic prank done to comment on the subjectivity of art's value, but Guetta confirmed that the movie was real.

"It’s all about to have a passion in your life and follow your dream, to make it happen, because nothing can stop you," said Guetta. "Life is beautiful, remember that!”

When asked the unavoidable question of where Banksy was, Thierry remained vague.

"I don't know. Maybe somewhere here," Guetta said. "Tomorrow is another day. Maybe he's somewhere around. Maybe he's sitting next to you, not too far away."

And though British historical drama "The King's Speech" has been amassing a long list of awards from other shows, it was not eligible for the Spirit Awards' main categories since they are reserved for U.S. independent films made for $20 million and less. It did, however, win for Best Foreign Film.

Director Tom Hooper was grateful for the honor and talked about the trouble it took to secure financing for "The King's Speech."

"The biggest challenge was putting it together, people were not lining up to finance the film," said Hooper. "In the end films only happen if they believe you.”

Hooper kept his acceptance speech humble.

"I know the film has a lot of stammering and stuttering in it," he said.

James Franco took home his first major prize in awards season at the Spirit Awards but wouldn't fake cut off his arm again, which he did when shooting "127 Hours."

"It was a crazy, crazy experience that I don't think I'll ever repeat," Franco said.

The rest of the prizes went to family film "Daddy Longlegs" for the John Cassavetes Award (Best Feature Made For Under $500,000), Japanese sibling drama "Littlerock" (Mike Ott) for the Someone To Watch Award, Western drama "Meek's Cutoff" (Anish Savjani) for the Emerging Producers Award, special interest documentary "Marwencol" for the Truer Than Fiction Award (To An Emerging Director Of Non-Fiction Features) and comedy film "Please Give" for the Robert Altman Award (To One Film's Director, Casting Director, And Its Ensemble Cast).

See the complete list of winners here.

Reach Roselle here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.