Independent Spirit Awards: 'Black Swan,' Natalie Portman, James Franco among the winners

black-swanImage Credit: Niko TaverniseBlack Swan‘s Natalie Portman and Oscar nominee (and host) James Franco walked away with the top acting honors at the 2011 Film Independent’s Spirit Awards. The Joel McHale-hosted indie film kudosfest — which took place this afternoon in Santa Monica, Calif. — will be broadcast tonight at 10 p.m. on IFC. Black Swan won all four of its nominations, including Best Feature, beating out Winter’s Bone, The Kids Are All Right, 127 Hours, and Greenberg. John Hawkes and Dale Dickey — both from Winter’s Bone – won the supporting male and female trophies, respectively. The full list of winners: 

Best Feature: Black Swan

Best Director: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan

Best Screenplay: Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right

Best Male Lead: James Franco, 127 Hours

Best Supporting Male: John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone

Best Female Lead: Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Best Supporting Female: Dale Dickey, Winter’s Bone

Best Cinematography: Matthew Libatique, Black Swan

Robert Altman Award: Please Give (given to director Nicole Holofcener, casting director Jeanne McCarthy and the ensemble cast)

Best First Screenplay: Lena Dunham, Tiny Furniture

Best First Feature: Get Low (award given to the director, Aaron Schneider, and producers David Gundlach and Dean Zanuck)

Best Documentary: Exit Through The Gift Shop (the award goes to the director, but reclusive street artist Banksy reportedly sent “Mr. Brainwash” to accept the honor in his stead)

Best Foreign Film: The King’s Speech (award given to the director, Tom Hooper)

John Cassavetes Award (best feature made for under $500,000): Daddy Longlegs (written and directed by Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie and produced by Casey Neistat and Tom Scott)

Piaget Producers Award: Anish Savjani, Meek’s Cutoff

Someone To Watch Award: Mike Ott, Littlerock

Truer Than Fiction Award: Jeff Maimberg, Marwencol

Comments (40 total) Add your comment
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  • Beau

    As it should be!

    • Sid


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    • wino

      yes…if you like crack and ‘shrooms, then this is the perfect choice for best film

      • adam

        Nope, don’t love crack or ‘shrooms, or any drugs for that matter, but loved Black Swan.

      • Tom

        It’s going to take a lot to make this enjoyable.

  • LOL

    I am Mr. Brainwash.

  • bringbackrocky

    Thanks for the heads up on a spoiler alert, EW.

    • Kevin

      Why would you read a article about “Spirit Award Winners” if you didn’t want to know who won?

      • Just Sayin’

        Yeah, no kidding. Smart move, bringback.

      • Sparkles

        But the headline itself gives away two winners.

      • Woot

        Yeah, but Natalie Portman was obvious.

  • Nick

    It’s about time Darren Aronofsky won an award for Black Swan. It’s a shame he isn’t a frontrunner for the Oscar. I’m happy about all the Black Swan wins, my favorite film of the year. Kudos to Natalie Portman and Matthew Libatique as well.

    • Lee

      If BLACK SWAN is so great, then why didn’t it win for Best Screenplay? Heck, it didn’t even receive an Oscar nomination for either of the screenplay categories. I don’t see how a film can be called great if it’s not even based on a worthy screenplay. To me, BLACK SWAN was all glitz and glamour and fancy camera angle shots. Nothing more. What happened to films winning with substance?

      • matt

        A film is the sum of its parts. Black Swan isn’t exactly known for its screenplay, whereas with The Kids Are All Right the writing is what stands out, however that movie has weaknesses in other areas. In my opinion the writing is strong in Black Swan but a film is more than that. Otherwise why don’t you just reading a freaking book?

      • Nick

        Lee, notice how I said that Black Swan is MY FAVORITE FILM of the year, i.e. it’s my opinion. I didn’t say it was YOUR favorite film, did I? You can have your opinion as well, although I completely disagree with your assessment that the film is “all glitz and glamour and fancy camera angle shots.” I think it was so much more than that. If that’s all you got out of it, well then I feel like we watched different movies. I think it did have substance. And personally, I think it should have been nominated for its screenplay.

  • eden

    James Franco was amazing in 127 Hours; a well deserved win for him. I was hoping Michelle would take home this award as well.


    Ug . . . I am tired of Natalie Portman winning every single award. Black Swan was an okay film. Also, I was more impressed by the performances given by Mila Kunis and Barbara Hershey. I agree with Eden. I wanted James and Michelle to win the acting awards. At least James one in his category.

    • Amanda Kiwinerd

      Nobody cares.

      • Paul

        @Amanda K. You’re rude. Learn some manners.

    • matt

      I love Michelle Williams but sorry, Natalie Portman was way better.

    • warren Dipper

      It would be good Sharon if you could spell won rather than ‘one’. Really poor gramer !

  • Tom

    Joel McHale should host the Oscars one year- he was hilarious

    • Maxwell

      agreed. I laughed throughout the opening monologue.

  • Rob Grizzly

    Nothing to get excited about. The whole point of this award show is to give some love to the smaller movies.
    Because the big boys won’t.

    • adam

      The smaller movies often do get some love from the big boys.

  • Nick Faust

    I don’t care who wins these things, Jennifer Lawrence gave the performance of the year and Debra Granik the director. Am completely baffled by the pull BLACK SWAN has over so many people. Natalie Portman more correctly fulfills her obligation to the director and his approach then to the ballerina character she’s playing (what exactly does she have to master for the Swan Lake performance?), and for that applaud her commitment and daring. But a performance created on camera by the actress, seamlessly creating a character we completely believe, bringing us into her mindset and her problems and her world, that’s Lawrence. And for some of the best invisible but effective direction I’ve seen in a long, long time: Granick.

    • Cate

      I totally agree with you. I think Black Swan is visually stunning, but is overall borders on schlock, and Natalie Portman obviously worked very hard at the role, but there’s not a huge range to it. I was really annoyed that she won the spirit award over other more talented actresses.

  • jared4ever

    ANIMAL KINGDOM. Totally ignored. That’s americans for you.

  • JP

    Greenberg deserved to be in the Razzies this year, btw. Nobody saw it I guess for it to make a difference. Terrible movie. . .

    • Tami

      JP…I totally agree…as much as I love Ben Stiller, I can’t believe he was nominated for best actor at the ISA….bad, bad, bad movie…

  • sq

    If a film isn’t considered to have one of the best screenplays of the year how can it possibly be the best film? I know it’s happened before, but I’ve never understood that reasoning. The film should at least be nominated I would think.

  • Ama L.

    I actually liked Black Swan and Natalie Portman’s performance. Maybe we all got used to her being very good and forget other actresses might not have pulled it off. And the big awards are hardly ever for the performance actors are nominated, but for most of their carrer and performances that got overlooked. Best example : Kate Winslet. And there are many other actors who deserved at least an Oscar by now and they got none.

    • Mama Katie

      I agree on the Kate Winslet example. I love that woman to death but I didn’t think The Reader was her best work. They were giving it to her because it was about time she be called an Oscar Winner, but I don’t think that performance was the one to have shed light on the fact.

  • Mama Katie

    Marwencol is amazing! Absolutely loved it. Got to finally tell Jeff Malmberg how much I appreciated it yesterday.

  • Black Swim

    James Franco will never be as popular or as successful as Brad Pitt or Matt Damon because he doesn’t have their looks and he’s not very likeable. He’s become a stuckup snob with an ego. That’s what happens when fame goes to someone’s head. He teaches a class about himself. Who does that? He hasn’t even had much of a career. He’s not Robert Deniro. His movie 127 Hours only earned $17 million. Meanwhile, the Black Swan grossed $102 million and The Social Network generated $97 million. Franco was also in Eat Pray Love, which was another flop. You can’t call him a box office draw. More like box office poison.

    • Eolra

      Woah, so much venom! I like James Franco, and I find him to be a very likable guy in general. It’s unfair to compare his career to Robert Deniro – Franco is much much younger. You only mention “Eat Pray Love” as one of his other films as “proof” of a lack of success, but you fail to mention the popular Spiderman trilogy, Pineapple Express, Academy Award winner Milk, and the cult favorite Freaks and Geeks. That being said, success can’t always be measured in monetary terms either – the “best” movies and music are not always the best sellers- there’s a lot of blockbuster status garbage out there. That’s the thing about art, it’s subjective, and it’s worth can’t be measured on a universal monetary scale.

    • Roger C.

      TOTALLY AGREE. He is one of the most overrated actors today!

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