'Silver Linings Playbook' Tops Spirit Awards

In a year where several Spirit nominees were also Oscar-nommed, “Silver Linings Playbook” dominated the Film Independent Spirit Awards, taking best feature and lead actress for Jennifer Lawrence with David O. Russell winning trophies for best director and screenplay.

The Sessions” scored a best actor win for John Hawkes and a supporting actress victory for Helen Hunt. Hawkes defeated a field that included Bradley Cooper for “Silver Linings,” the only Spirits nomination that “Silver” didn’t win Saturday afternoon.“Silver” topped “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Bernie,” “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Keep the Lights On” for the feature award.

“This is major,” said Russell in his acceptance speech, noting that he won the Spirits’ best first feature laurel in 1994 for “Spanking the Monkey.”“Silver Linings” was made for about $20 million, the high end of Film Independent’s limit for Spirit Awards consideration.Lawrence, who’s also nommed for an Oscar for her role as Tiffany, gave a short, low-key acceptance on winning, “David, thank you for writing the script, for Tiffany and for challenging me.”Hawkes credited director Ben Lewin for his best actor prize for “The Sessions.” “Ben Lewin is an amazing storyteller,” said Hawkes “I am glad he took a chance on me.”Hunt said it was a “miracle” that Lewin was able to get “Sessions” made.

“I got to dance with the sexiest dance partner ever, even though he never moved — John Hawkes,” said Hunt.

Matthew McConaughey won the best supporting actor trophy for his turn as a stripper-turned-strip club owner in “Magic Mike.”

“I had to take my pants off to win a trophy,” McConaughey sang as he began his acceptance speech.

In the press tent, he said, “I needed to play this straight to make this work. It had to be played dead serious.”

“Amour” took home the prize for best international film and “Starlet” nabbed the Robert Altman Award.

First prize of the event went to Derek Connolly for best first screenplay on “Safety Not Guaranteed.” Stephen Chbosky won for first feature for “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Chbosky said in the press tent that he’d had a “wonderful, surreal” moment when he met musician Morrissey on Friday and received praise about the film.

Kirby Dick’s “Invisible War,”about sexual assault in the military, won the documentary prize.

Emcee Andy Samberg’s opening was well-received at the event, which was held at its usual location in a Santa Monica beachside tent.

Complete list of winners:

BEST FEATURE:Silver Linings Playbook
BEST ACTOR: John Hawkes – “The Sessions”
BEST ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook”
BEST DIRECTOR: David O. Russell – “Silver Linings Playbook”
BEST DOCUMENTARY:The Invisible War
BEST SCREENPLAY: “Silver Linings Playbook” – David O. Russell
SPECIAL DISTINCTION: Harris Savides
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Ben Richardson – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE: Helen Hunt – “The Sessions”
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD: “Middle of Nowhere”
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM: “Amour”
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD: “Starlet”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Matthew McConaughey – “Magic Mike”
FIRST FEATURE: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” – Director: Stephen Chbosky
FIRST SCREENPLAY: Derek Connolly – “Safety Not Guaranteed”
PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD: Mynette Louie – “California Solo”
STELLA ARTOIS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD: Peter Nicks – “Waiting Room”
SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD: Adam Leon – “Gimme the Loot

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