Today’s diary is coming in a little late, as I spent the bulk of my day in Santa Monica for the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Check out my full recap of the show by clicking here, and scroll to the bottom of this blog for some of my favorite photos.
The big winner of the night was “Silver Linings Playbook,” which earned awards for Best Screenplay (David O. Russell), Best Director (David O. Russell), Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence) and Best Feature. Coming in at a close second was the remarkable film “The Sessions,” which earned awards for Best Actor (John Hawkes) and Best Supporting Actress (Helen Hunt). The show’s most bizarre moment came when “Safety Not Guaranteed” director Derek Connolly appeared to accept his award for Best First Screenplay while slightly intoxicated. He also no-showed the post-win interview because, according to a producer, “he had to leave early.”
On the Spirit Awards’ purple carpet, I briefly spoke with Film Independent Co-Presidents Sean McManus and Josh Welsh. When asked why they love independent filmmaking, McManus said, “The reason that I love independent filmmaking is because it’s stories that inspire me. The studios, lately, have more and more been making sequels and they are businesses that are selling tickets to a particular segment of the audience, which is the opposite of what we do at Film Independent.”
McManus went on to praise “Middle of Nowhere,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Moonrise Kingdom,” about which he said, “I wanted to live in that world by the end of it. I just love that world that [Wes Anderson] creates.”
How did this year’s awards differ from last year’s? According to Welsh: “family-style dining.” True story.
Tomorrow is the big day: Oscars Sunday. We’re down to the home stretch, so let’s take a look at our second-to-last category of predictions: Best Director. The nominees are Michael Haneke (“Amour“), Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild“), Ang Lee (“Life of Pi“), Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln“) and David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”).
For film fans, I don’t think any category has been a bigger source of contention, as there are several glaring omissions from the list, including Quentin Tarantino (“Django Unchained“), Tom Hooper (“Les Miserables“), Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty“) and, of course, Ben Affleck (“Argo“).
Russell won the trophy for Best Director today at the Spirit Awards and Michael Haneke took home the award for Best Foreign Film, but it’s highly unlikely that the Academy would vote for anyone over cinema favorite Steven Spielberg. The thing is, if Spielberg wins the award, it will have been largely due to Daniel Day-Lewis’ spectacular performance which, I’m quite certain, needed very little direction. Although I loved their films, I would trade Haneke, Lee and Spielberg for Hooper, Bigelow and Affleck in a second.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Ben Affleck
WHO COULD WIN: David O. Russell
WHO WILL WIN: Steven Spielberg
That’s all for tonight. It’s getting late here on the West Coast and I still plan one last trip to the red carpet before it gets closed up for tomorrow’s ceremony. Make sure you join me tomorrow for the XFINITY.com Oscars live chat, where I’ll be bringing you news, notes and reactions from the winners live backstage at the Dolby Theatre.
I leave you now with a few of the moments I captured today at the Spirit Awards. I was even able to sneak in a photo op with Harry Potter himself.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.