Three award celebrations in two days. On Saturday we knew who had won the Spirit Awards and the Razzies, and by Sunday evening we knew whether Scorsese had finally been vindicated (he was!). Here’s a wrap-up of all the festivities.
2007 INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS
Film Threat founder Chris Gore was right, there’s two ways to look at the Spirit Awards. From one perspective, the Spirit Awards, by celebrating a number of films that were also being celebrated at the Academy Awards, were out-of-touch with what real independent filmmaking is. From perspective two, independent filmmaking has come so far, become so high-quality, that crossovers between indie awards and Academy Awards are to be applauded, and the best is the best. The problem is, whereas I do applaud the great successes of films like “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Half Nelson,” the majority of my time as a film reviewer / editor-in-chief of Film Threat is spent seeing a multitude of independent films that are being looked over entirely by an awards show built, supposedly, for their exposure. Independent filmmaking is showcased by the mail-bin upon mail-bin full of films that come into Film Threat weekly, not by what is being celebrated at the Spirit Awards.
I’m sorry, but after a “Los Angeles Times” piece that ran this weekend about Film Independent (formerly IFP/LA), my faith in the positive intentions of the Spirit Awards is severely shaken, as it has obviously finally grown into the realm of respected awards show, meaning, it’s graduated to ignorance of the filmmaking it’s supposed to champion and danced into the political arena. Are we to believe that an awards show that costs $1.3 million or more to throw is not going to toss the award bones to the B-list celebrities and more mainstream filmmaking talent it so desperately needs for fundraising? Fundraising that is supposed to go towards programs for indie filmmakers but, once again after reading the “Los Angeles Times” piece, is going most often towards throwing the Spirit Awards and then putting on the Los Angeles Film Festival (check out the full charity-status breakdown at CharityNavigator.com).
I’ll back down a bit there, as the Los Angeles Film Festival is a positive showcase for films, and we need more high-quality film festivals to help promote these films being made (as my friend, Slamdance co-founder Dan Mirvish, is fond of saying, “if you make a movie and no one sees it, did you actually make a movie?”). So, all told, I’m not going entirely after Film Independent as a blight on the indie filmmaking world. Hardly, but I do think that it’s starting to lose touch. When you’re a nonprofit company, and you’re paying over $265,000 in annual salary to your executive director, you’re over-spending by an obscene amount when that money could be going towards other programs.
Overall it’s an old argument, and I don’t have the answer, but I think the discussion is important. Were “Little Miss Sunshine” and other Spirit Award winners the best independent films of 2006, or the most well-known, or the most financially successful? Do you award the best to the detriment of films that need the help more, or is that in itself a morally incorrect path? Are the Spirit Awards the best barometer of the quality of independent film? Drop us line or join the conversation in the Back Talk Forums.
You can see all the 2007 Spirit Award winners here!
27TH ANNUAL RAZZIE AWARDS
These are the worst films from 2006, period, as voted on by the members of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Always good for a laugh, and pretty much on the money as far as quality, the Razzies are the perfect counter-balance to the self-importance of the Academy Awards. Despite numerous nominations for many different films, the majority of the awards went to “Basic Instinct 2” (4 awards), “Little Man” (3 awards) and “Lady in the Water” (2 awards). Considering there were only 11 categories, having 9 of them won by three of the same films makes you wish they’d have spread the “love” around a bit more, if for no other reason than to see the AP talk about Nicolas Cage’s ill-(bear)suited role in “Wicker Man.”
Check out all the Razzie Award winners>>>
The 2007 Academy Awards are next up in Part Two of the 2007 Post-Academy Awards Weekend Wrap-up>>>