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25th Independent Spirit Awards: Precious Predictably Wins

Mo’Nique still has one more trophy to pick up this weekend, but the good times for everyone involved in the making of Precious has pretty much come to a close. The film picked up the awards for best feature, best director (Lee Daniels), best actress, best supporting actress and the hard fought category for best first screenplay. The Best Foreign Film vote somehow got mangled up favoring An Education over A Prophet.

Mo’Nique still has one more trophy to pick up this weekend, but the good times for everyone involved in the making of Precious has pretty much come to a close. The film picked up the awards for best feature, best director (Lee Daniels), best actress, best supporting actress and the hard fought category for best first screenplay. The Best Foreign Film vote somehow got mangled up favoring An Education over A Prophet.

The three toughest categories to “predict” (see at the bottom of this page) also happen to be the names/films that are worth looking out for in the future: a big congrats goes to Karen Chien, Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Bill Ross & Turner Ross and the folks nominated in their categories.

Winners are labeled with ***. Red highlight are the films I had as the winner, blue as what should have won, and purple is a pairing of both.

As I had predicted below, Lee Daniels’ Precious was the big winner yesterday night,  Red highlighted titles are those that will win. Those in blue, are what should win, and finally, the picks in purple are when “will” and the “should” mix. Look for a brief commentary on each of the categories below.

BEST FEATURE

  • “(500) Days Of Summer,” Producers: Mason Novick, Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters, Steven J. Wolfe
  • “Amreeka,” Producers: Paul Barkin, Christina Piovesan
  • *** “Precious,” Producers: Lee Daniels, Gary Magness, Sarah Siegel-Magness
  • “Sin Nombre,” Producer: Amy Kaufman
  • “The Last Station,” Producers: Bonnie Arnold, Chris Curling, Jens Meuer

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, “A Serious Man”
  • *** Lee Daniels, “Precious”
  • Cary Joji Fukunaga, “Sin Nombre”
  • James Gray, “Two Lovers”
  • Michael Hoffman, “The Last Station”

BEST FIRST FEATURE

  • “A Single Man,” Director: Tom Ford, Producers: Tom Ford, Andrew Miano, Robert Salerno, Chris Weitz
  • *** “Crazy Heart,” Director: Scott Cooper, Producers: T Bone Burnett, Judy Cairo, Rob Carliner, Scott Cooper, Robert Duvall
  • “Easier With Practice,” Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Producer: Cookie Carosella
  • “Paranormal Activity,” Director: Oren Peli, Producer: Jason Blum, Oren Peli
  • “The Messenger,” Director: Oren Moverman, Producers: Mark Gordon, Lawrence Inglee, Zach Miller

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Best feature made for under $500,000)

  • “Big Fan” Writer/Director: Robert Siegel; Producers: Elan Bogarin, Jean Kouremetis
  • *** “Humpday” Writer/Director/Producer: Lynn Sheldon
  • “The New Year Parade” Writer/Director: Tom Quinn; Producers: Steve Beal, Tom Quinn
  • “Treeless Mountain” Writer/Director: So Yong Kim; Producers: Bradley Rust Gray, Ben Howe, So Yong Kim, Lars Knudsen, Jay Van Hoy
  • “Zero Bridge” Writer/Director: Tariq Tapa; Producers: Josee Lajoie, Hilal Ahmed Langoo, Tariq Tapa

BEST SCREENPLAY

  • Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman, “The Messenger”
  • Michael Hoffman, “The Last Station
  • Lee Toland Krieger, “The Vicious Kind”
  • Greg Mottola, “Adventureland”
  • *** Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, “(500) Days Of Summer”

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

  • Sophie Barthes, “Cold Souls”
  • Scott Cooper, “Crazy Heart”
  • Cherien Dabis, “Amreeka”
  • *** Geoffrey Fletcher, “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire”
  • Tom Ford, David Scearce, “A Single Man”

BEST FEMALE LEAD

  • Maria Bello, “Downloading Nancy”
  • Helen Mirren, “The Last Station”
  • Gwentyth Paltrow, “Two Lovers”
  • *** Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire”
  • Nisreen Faour, “Amreeka”

BEST MALE LEAD

  • *** Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”
  • Colin Firth, “A Single Man”
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “(500) Days Of Summer”
  • Souléymane Sy Savané, “Goodbye Solo”
  • Adam Scott, “The Vicious Kind”

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

  • Dina Korzun, “Cold Souls”
  • *** Mo’Nique, “Precious”
  • Samantha Morton, “The Messenger”
  • Natalie Press, “Fifty Dead Men Walking”
  • Mia Wasikowska, “That Evening Sun”

BEST SUPPORTING MALE

  • Jemaine Clement, “Gentlemen Broncos”
  • *** Woody Harrelson, “The Messenger”
  • Christian McKay, “Me and Orson Welles”
  • Raymond McKinnon, “That Evening Sun”
  • Christopher Plummer, “The Last Station”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • *** Roger Deakins, “A Serious Man”
  • Adriano Goldman, “Sin Nombre”
  • Anne Misawa, “Treeless Mountain”
  • Andrij Parekh, “Cold Souls”
  • Peter Zeitlinger, “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans”

BEST DOCUMENTARY 

  • *** “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” Director: Sacha Gervasi
  • “Food, Inc.” Director: Robert Kenner
  • “More Than a Game” Director: Kristopher Belman
  • “October Country” Directors: Donal Mosher, Michael Palmieri
  • “Which Way Home” Director: Rebecca Cammisa

BEST FOREIGN FILM

  • “A Prophet” (France), Director: Jacques Audiard
  • *** “An Education” (UK/France), Director: Lone Scherfig
  • “Everlasting Moments” (Sweden), Director: Jan Troell
  • “Mother” (South Korea), Director: Bong Joon-Ho
  • “The Maid” (Chile), Director: Sebastian Silva

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD

  • *** Karin Chien, “The Exploding Girl,” “Santa Mesa”
  • Larry Fessenden, “I Sell the Dead,” “The House of the Devil”
  • Dia Sokol, “Beeswax,” “Nights & Weekends”

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD

  • *** Kyle Patrick Alvarez, “Easier With Practice”
  • Asiel Norton, “Redland”
  • Tariq Tapa, “Zero Bridge”

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD 

  • Natalia Almada, “El General”
  • Jessica Oreck, “Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo”
  • *** Bill Ross, Turner Ross, “45365
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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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