The overlap between indie spirit and mainstream Oscar gold continued as two films up for Academy Awards, “Memento” and “In the Bedroom,” led the awards tally at IFP/West’s 2002 Independent Spirit Awards, held on Saturday, March 23, in its traditional location of a tent on Santa Monica beach.
Newmarket’s “Memento,” Christopher Nolan’s widely acclaimed puzzle thriller, topped all winners with four awards, for Best Feature, Best Director (for Nolan), Best Screenplay (also for Nolan), and Best Supporting Female for Carrie-Anne Moss. Next in line with three trophies was Miramax’s dark domestic drama “In the Bedroom,” whose first-time director, Todd Field, took the Best First Feature prize; and whose Oscar-nominated stars, Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson, won Best Female Lead and Best Male Lead, respecrively. The afternoon’s other multiple winner was United Artists’ “Ghost World,” which is currently up for an Academy Award in the adapted screenplay category. The comedy based on Daniel Clowes’ cult comic book earned two Spirit Awards, one for Best Supporting Actor for Steve Buscemi, and another for Best First Screenplay, for Clowes and the film’s director, Terry Zwigoff.
Best Foreign Film honors went to another multiple Oscar nominee, Miramax’s French romantic comedy “Amelie,” directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. David Lynch’s critically hailed (and also Oscar-nominated) “Mulholland Dr.,” which rather surprisingly was shut out of all the major Spirit nominations, was recognized in the sole category in which it did receive a nomination: cinematography, for Peter Deming.
The rest of the awards went to lower-profile independent films. The John Cassavetes Award, honoring the best feature made for under $500,000, went to “Jackpot.” Michael Polish directed the film, which received a brief theatrical release from Sony Pictures Classics, and wrote it with his twin brother, Mark. A forthcoming Sony Classics release, Stacy Peralta’s festival fave skateboarding documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” was named Best Documentary. Michael Cuesta’s “L.I.E.,” which was the leading nomination earner going into the ceremony, earned its sole trophy for Best Debut Performance, by Paul Franklin Dano. The drama was released by Lot 47 Films.
As with every year, a trio of special awards tied to unrestricted cash grants of $20,000 were handed out. RenÃ© Bastian and Linda Moran, producers of “L.I.E.” and “Martin and Orloff,” won the Motorola Producers Award, given to producers “who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality independent films.” Debra Eisenstadt, director of “Daydream Believer,” won the Someone to Watch Award, “created “to honor a director of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition”; this year the award was sponsored by Turning Leaf Coastal Reserve. The DirecTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award, given to an up-and-coming director of non-fiction films, was given to Monteith McCollum, director of “Hybrid.”
Here’s a complete list of the winners:
BEST FEATURE ^ (Award given to the Producer) ^ * Executive Producers are not listed. ^ “Memento” ^ Newmarket Films ^ Producers: Jennifer Todd & Suzanne Todd
BEST DIRECTOR ^ * First-time filmmakers are not eligible for this category. ^ Christopher Nolan ^ Newmarket Films ^ “Memento”
BEST SCREENPLAY ^ Christopher Nolan ^ Newmarket Films ^ “Memento”
BEST FIRST FEATURE ^ (Award given to the Director) ^ * Executive Producers are not listed. ^ “In The Bedroom” ^ Miramax Films ^ Director: Todd Field
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY ^ Daniel Clowes & Terry Zwigoff ^ United Artists ^ “Ghost World”
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD ^ (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000) ^ (Award given to the Writer, Director, and Producer) ^ * Executive Producers are not listed. ^ “Jackpot” ^ Sony Pictures Classics ^ Director: Michael Polish ^ Writer/Producerss: Mark Polish & Michael Polish
BEST DEBUT PERFORMANCE ^ (Actors in their first significant role in a feature film) ^ Paul Franklin Dano ^ Lot 47 Films ^ “L.I.E.”
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE ^ Carrie-Anne Moss ^ Newmarket Films ^ “Memento”
BEST SUPPORTING MALE ^ Steve Buscemi ^ United Artists ^ “Ghost World”
BEST FEMALE LEAD ^ Sissy Spacek ^ Miramax Films ^ “In the Bedroom”
BEST MALE LEAD ^ Tom Wilkinson ^ Miramax Films ^ “In The Bedroom”
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY ^ Peter Deming ^ Universal Focus ^ “Mulholland Drive”
BEST FOREIGN FILM ^ (Award given to the Director) ^ “AmÃ©lie” Miramax Films ^ Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
BEST DOCUMENTARY ^ (Award given to the Director)
“Dogtown and Z-Boys” ^ Sony Pictures Classics ^ Director: Stacy Peralta
RenÃ© Bastian & Linda Moran, producers of Martin and Orloff, and L.I.E received the fifth annual Motorola Producers Award, which honors producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality independent films. The winner of the Motorola Producers Award received an unrestricted grant of $20,000, funded by Motorola. The award was presented by Stockard Channing & Dennis Quaid.
Debra Eisenstadt, director of Daydream Believer, won the eighth annual Turning Leaf Coastal Reserve Someone To Watch Award, a $20,000 grant created to honor a director of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is funded bv Turning Leaf Coastal Reserve Vineyards, to help the winning filmmaker pursue his or her craft. The award was presented by Don Cheadle & Heather Graham.
Monteith McCollum, director of Hybrid won the sixth annual DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award, presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features; a filmmaker of unique vision and talent who has not yet received significant attention. The award is accompanied by a $20,000 unrestricted grant funded by DIRECTV and the Independent Film Channel. The award was presented by Vondie Curtis Hall & Leelee Sobieski.
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