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By Film Threat Staff | March 25, 1997

A good ol’ time was had by all as the free drinks flowed from the open bar under the tent on the beach in Santa Monica for The 1997 Independent Spirit Awards. (This was the other awards show.) Saturday’s presentation was attended by Steve Buscemi, Billy Bob Thornton, Sean Penn, Lily Tomlin, Todd Solondz, Bill Pullman, Elisabeth Shue, Rose McGowan, James Woods and tons more plus the joke-filled event was hosted by a jovial Samuel Jackson-it was a blast. (Oh, and Film Threat’s Chris Gore was there, but mostly for the drinks.) The Coen Brothers’ Fargo received the most awards and the independent film industry (can we call it an industry now?) patted itself on the back for receiving mainstream acceptance because of the landscape of this year’s Academy nominees. What next? Indie films that gross over $200 mil?
Here’s the complete list of winners: ^ [ BEST FEATURE (Producer): ] Ethan Coen “Fargo” ^ [ FIRST FEATURE (Director): ] Billy Bob Thorton “Sling Blade” ^ [ DIRECTOR: ] Joel Coen “Fargo” ^ [ ACTRESS: ] Frances McDormand “Fargo” ^ [ ACTOR: ] William H. Macy “Fargo” ^ [ SUPPORTING ACTRESS: ] Elizabeth Pena “Lone Star” ^ [ SUPPORTING ACTOR: ] Benico Del Toro “Basquiat” ^ [ DEBUT PERFORMANCE: ] Heather Matarazzo “Welcome to the Dollhouse” ^ [ SCREENPLAY: ] Joel Coen, Ethan Coen “Fargo” ^ [ FIRST SCREENPLAY: ] Joseph Tropiano, Stanley Tucci “Big Night” ^ [ CINEMATOGRAPHY: ] Roger Deakins “Fargo” ^ [ FOREIGN FILM (Director): ] Mike Leigh “Secrets and Lies” ^ [ SWATCH SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD: ] Larry Fesenden ^ [ TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD: ] Leon Gast “When We Were Kings”

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