This Saturday night, February 26th, the independent film world honored its best and brightest at this year's 26th Annual Independent Spirit Awards. The big winner tonight, heading into tomorrow's Academy Awards is Black Swan. The dark thriller about disturbed ballerinas won in four categories: Best Feature, Best Cinematographer (Matthew Libatique), Best Director Darren Aronofsky, and Best Lead Actress (Natalie Portman). This may seem like a consolation prize for the film, which outside of Portman's nomination in the Best Lead Actress at the Academy Awards is not a front-runner for any other honors (that would be the ISA's Best Foreign Film, The King's Speech). At this point Portman is having a wild year from being engaged and pregnant to being in no less than three new movies this year (No Strings Attached, Thor, and Hesher).
Academy Award host/nominee James Franco won for his brutally intense role in 127 Hours (which comes out on DVD this Tuesday, March 1st) as a man who is forced to cut off his own arm. Somehow Franco managed to show up to accept his award despite Oscar prep, graduate work, preparing to direct his first feature film, and teaching his own course on documentary filmmaking where his students make a documentary about him, The dark, gritty, and highly underrated Winter's Bone won in the supporting actor and actress categories for John Hawkes and Dale Dickey respectively. Also the sharp and witty comedy The Kid's are All Right won for Best Screenplay, awarded to Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg.
Hopefully those looking for some great film's will take the Independent Spirit Award winners and eventually go check them out on DVD. These are some excellent pieces to add to your amazon wish lists and netflix queues.