This is actually the first time in three years that I did not vote for the Indie Spirits. Due to a currently tight financial situation, I opted not to renew my membership. I would like to in the near future, so we'll see if I vote for them next year.
The Wrestler was a big winner today as it took Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Cinematography. Poor Rachel Getting Married got shut out. Even Melissa Leo from Frozen River beat out Anne Hathaway.
Obviously, The Wrestler is not nominated for Best Picture, but Rourke has added another victory. The Spirit Awards are somewhat unique that they tend to not match up well with the Oscars. They really award deserving winners in independent film. I actually like this since independent often gets shafted by the Oscars and many of these hard working filmmakers and actors deserve to get acknowledged.
They also tend to be bad luck for Oscar hopefuls. Only once has the Best Picture winner here went on to win the Oscar. That was way back in 1986 with Platoon. The last four years the Best Picture winner here fell short of the Oscar (Sideways, Brokeback, Little Miss, and Juno).
Could this win hurt Rourke's chances tomorrow? Philip Seymour Hoffman did pull off the Spirit/Oscar sweep in 2005. Recently though, most serious Best Actor nominees haven't been nominated for Best Actor at the Spirits.
This Best Actor race is really up in the air. No one really knows who will win. Rourke has now beat Penn in the last two races (BAFTA and Spirit). Though, I still think Penn is winning. Rourke may have burned too many bridges and he just simply isn't Academy friendly. If Rourke does lose tomorrow at least he will have some hardware for his great role. The Oscar doesn't always guarantee great success. Ask Cuba Gooding Jr. or Halle Berry.
Here's the list of winners:
Best Feature: Darren Aronofsky, The Wrestler
Best Director: Tom McCarthy, The Visitor
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Best Actress: Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Best Supporting Actor: James Franco, Milk
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Screenplay: Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best First Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Best First Feature: Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche, New York
John Cassavetes Award: In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Best Cinematography: Maryse Alberti, The Wrestler
Best Foreign Language Film: The Class
Best Documentary: Man on Wire
Someone to Watch Award: Lynn Shelton, My Effortless Brilliance
Piaget Producers Award: Heather Ray, Frozen River
Truer Than Fiction: Margaret Brown, The Order of Myths
Robert Altman Ensemble Award: Synecdoche, New York