Big night for ‘Black Swan’ at Spirit Awards

Posted by · 5:28 pm · February 26th, 2011

Kris was on the scene at the Independent Spirit Awards today, and will, I’m sure, have some first-hand commentary to add later. For now, let me lead the cheers for “Black Swan,” which finally had its moment in the sun this awards season.

Two years after its sort-of-sibling “The Wrestler” nabbed the top prize, the surprise crossover hit took four awards, including Best Feature and Best Director for Darren Aronofsky — the third Spirit win of his career, though his first for directing.

The only other multiple winner of the ceremony was fellow Best Picture Oscar nominee “Winter’s Bone,” which took a well-deserved brace of supporting trophies for John Hawkes and Dale Dickey — the film’s only reward for a field-leading haul of seven nominations. “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” meanwhile, was a popular victor in the Best Documentary category.

All good wins, though I do chuckle every year at these voters’ reluctance to rock the boat. For a group that boasts of their “independence” in their very name, they never fail to shadow the Academy by rewarding an Oscar nominee in every category that features one — going so far as to hand “The King’s Speech” their Best Foreign Film award.

It’s the second year in a row the award has gone to an English-language Best Picture nominee: “An Education” took the prize last year. Coincidentally, a reader asked yesterday why the Academy doesn’t drop the foreign-language requirement from their foreign film award. Here lies my answer.

Full list of winners at The Circuit.

[Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures]

→ 22 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

22 responses so far

  • 1 2-26-2011 at 6:05 pm

    Patryk said...

    And 10 years ago Ellen Burstyn won for her lead role in “Requiem for a Dream.” And Mickey Rourke in between. Now who said Aronofsky was hard to work with? Happy for Libatique, and hope he wins tomorrow as well.

  • 2 2-26-2011 at 6:40 pm

    Hans said...

    Maybe not necessarily the foreign language requirement, but perhaps the requirement that it need be from a foreign country. Letters from Iwo Jima?

  • 3 2-26-2011 at 6:59 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    The foreign-language category is designed to give necessary exposure to international cinema that, for the most part, doesn’t get a fair shake in the general categories. Allowing high-profile American films to compete would defeat that purpose, in my opinion.

  • 4 2-26-2011 at 7:35 pm

    Maxim said...

    They should have awarded Hugh Jackman for his amazing work in the Fountain.

  • 5 2-26-2011 at 7:52 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    It’s no surprise that this show recently and fittingly dropped the word “Independent” from their name.

  • 6 2-26-2011 at 8:22 pm

    Andrej said...

    I’m sorry, but which is the criteria to win the Robert Altman award? I really didn’t care much for Please Give, so this kinda surprises me.

  • 7 2-26-2011 at 8:57 pm

    Daveylow said...

    Happy for Franco, The Kids Are All Right, the actors from Winter’s Bone, Please Give. Williams, Lawrence and Kidman were all better than Portman.

  • 8 2-26-2011 at 8:58 pm

    Daveylow said...

    Portman called herself incredible tonight.

  • 9 2-26-2011 at 9:11 pm

    MJS said...


    The year Altman died everyone was all like “this man is a legend, we must name an award after him” and they declared “we shall now bestow an award upon a film that is really Altmanny.” To which someone said “that doesn’t make sense.” To which someone else said “shut the fuck up, how dare you dishonor the memory of Robert Altman by questioning why we’re naming an award after him with astonishingly vague criteria.

  • 10 2-26-2011 at 9:19 pm

    Daveylow said...

    What is vague about the Altman award? It honors ensemble acting.

  • 11 2-26-2011 at 11:08 pm

    Jacob S. said...

    I’m pissed that Blue Valentine was snub bed so hard here.

  • 12 2-27-2011 at 1:20 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Andrej: The Robert Altman Award honours outstanding ensemble casting and playing. You shouldn’t be surprised — Please Give was announced as the winner back in November. (The award doesn’t have nominees.)

    By the way, are you surprised every time a film you don’t care for wins an award? I wish I had your innocence! ;)

  • 13 2-27-2011 at 1:29 am

    tintin(uruguay) said...

    Yesss! Swan best picture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 14 2-27-2011 at 5:52 am

    JJ1 said...

    I don’t have the television channel. So, who was calm, cool, & collected? Who gave the best/worst speech? Who wasn’t there? And how was our loveable wackadoodle, Melissa Leo? :)

  • 15 2-27-2011 at 6:05 am

    roddymartindale said...

    @Daveylow I don’t remember Portman calling herself incredible. I do recall how she gushed over the other nominees and woman directors, though.

  • 16 2-27-2011 at 6:11 am

    Andrej said...


    I mean, it’s just that I really didn’t see anything awards-worthy in Please Give xD Let alone be prized with “the Robert Altman award”…

    I just didn’t like the rude and materialistic vibe the movie has, and I think it has too many story arcs that go nowhere. I don’t see what’s so “Robert Altman” about this, hence my surprise xD

  • 17 2-27-2011 at 7:01 am

    JJ1 said...

    Altman award or not, I agree about ‘Please Give’ ^ that many story arcs are abandoned. I liked the acting choices by the ensemble. But the film didn’t do it for me, on the whole.

  • 18 2-27-2011 at 7:05 am

    Eric said...

    I think at this point it would be prudent to ascertain whether or not Andrej has ever even seen a Robert Altman film.

  • 19 2-27-2011 at 7:17 am

    James D. said...

    So, basically, the award show is the Oscars with big-studio films disqualified? You would think an “independent” awards show would be better at reading foreign film subtitles than the Oscars.

  • 20 2-27-2011 at 7:26 am

    Andrej said...

    I’m not gonna lie, I’m not the most versed in Altman filmography (Only saw Gosford Park, and I wasn’t very excited with it – too long, too crowded), but I just don’t see what’s so meritory about Please Give to recognize it with a special mention to the cast and its playing, whether it’s called the Robert Altman award or not.

    With this in mind, yes, I think I need to rephrase my previous statement: if it happened to win because it’s a film with a very strong “Robert Altman” feel, fine. But come on, that’s still a pretty silly and condescending thing to reward, even for a “whatever” movie like Please Give.

  • 21 2-27-2011 at 7:46 am

    daveylow said...

    I thought Please Give had some of the best ensemble acting in a film last year, and those actors probably worked for next to nothing.

  • 22 2-27-2011 at 7:49 am

    daveylow said...

    Roddy Martindale — Portman was excited about the six extraordinary female performances being honored. She obviously mean to say that it was great being nominated with five other extraordinary performances but it came out wrong. I’m just nitpicking because I wasn’t crazy about Portman’s performance and I think her speeches have been lousy.