Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, handed out top honors to Precious and Crazy Heart at the 25th Spirit Awards.
(500) Days of Summer, Anvil! The Story of Anvil, An Education, Humpday, The Messenger, and A Serious Man also received awards at the milestone ceremony, held at LA Live’s event deck in downtown Los Angeles and broadcast live and uncut on IFC. Acclaimed comedian Eddie Izzard was Master of Ceremonies, and Ben Stiller served as Honorary Chair.
The Spirit Awards was the first event to exclusively honor independent film, and over the past 25 years, has become the premier awards show for the independent film community, celebrating films made by filmmakers who embody independence and originality.
Artists receiving industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Joel & Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams and many more.
This year’s major category winners were Lionsgate’s Precious, which won Best Feature, Best Director, Best First Screenplay, Best Female Lead, and Best Supporting Female; Fox Searchlight’s Crazy Heart, which won Best First Feature, and Best Male Lead; Fox Searchlight’s (500) Days of Summer, which won Best Screenplay; Abramaorama’s Anvil! The Story of Anvil, which won Best Documentary; Sony Pictures Classics’ An Education, which won Best Foreign Film; Magnolia Pictures’ Humpday, which won the John Cassavetes Award; Oscilloscope Laboratories’ The Messenger, which won Best Supporting Male; and Focus Features’ A Serious Man, which won Best Cinematography.
Kyle Patrick Alvarez, director of Easier With Practice, received the seventeenth annual Acura Someone to Watch Award, which includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant and honors a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not received appropriate recognition.
Bill Ross and Turner Ross, directors of 45365, received the sixteenth annual Chaz & Roger Ebert Truer Than Fiction Award, a $25,000 unrestricted grant presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant attention.
Karin Chien, producer of The Exploding Girl and Santa Mesa, received the fourteenth annual Piaget Producers Award, a $25,000 unrestricted grant created to honor emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films.
Also given was the 3rd annual Robert Altman Award, given to one film’s director, casting director, and ensemble cast. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man received this award, along with casting directors Ellen Chenoweth and Rachel Tenner, and ensemble cast members Richard Kind, Sari Lennick, Jessica McManus, Fred Melamed, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Aaron Wolff.
Also announced during the show, was the recipient of the 2010 ELLE/Garnier Directing Fellowship, which carries a production grant of $10,000, funded by ELLE and Garnier. Film Independent Fellow Jennifer Arnold (2005 Directors Lab) won for her film A Small Act, which will air summer 2010 on HBO.
Dick Clark Productions and independent producer Jamie McGurk served as Executive Producers. John Hamilton and IFC’s Christine Lubrano and Vienna Steiner served as Producers, with Chris Donovan directing and Billy Kimball writing the show.
The Spirit Award encores will air on IFC on Saturday, March 6 at 5:00am EST/PST and 11:15am EST/PST, and Sunday, March 7 at 8:30am EST/PST and 2:30pm EST/PST. In addition, SpiritAwards.com and a dedicated Spirit Awards channel on Babelgum.com will post red carpet and thank you cam interviews the next day.