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Indie awards show a cowboy Spirit

'Brokeback' takes feature, helmer kudos

See winners

Ang Lee and his oater romance “Brokeback Mountain” rode off with the top ribbons at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, while director Paul Haggis’ “Crash” took first feature kudos.

Although Focus Features’ “Brokeback” drew the feature and director nods, the wealth was spread among a quartet of films, with “Brokeback,” Lionsgate’s “Crash,” Sony Pictures Classics’ “Capote” and the Weinstein Co.’s “Transamerica” each receiving two awards.

With these same films competing Sunday night at the Academy Awards, this year’s Indie Spirits, held at a beachside tent in Santa Monica, Calif., more than lived up to its moniker “Oscar lite.” But the irreverent kudocast, hosted by Sarah Silverman and carried live on IFC with expletives and all, would have made Oscar blush.

Another difference: “Crash” producer Bob Yari was allowed a place on the stage, alongside fellow producer Cathy Schulman. The two are locked in a bitter legal battle over payments for the film and producing credits, among other things.

“Transamerica” star Felicity Huffman picked up the Indie Spirit for female lead for her portrayal of a male transsexual about to become a woman.

Male lead went to much-honored “Capote” star Philip Seymour Hoffman for his portrayal of Truman Capote.

The other “Capote” Indie Spirit went to scribe Dan Futterman for screenplay. Award for first screenplay went to Duncan Tucker for “Transamerica.”

Sony Pictures Classics nabbed three Indie Spirit Awards, the most of any distrib. Focus, Lionsgate, TWC and Warner Independent each took two.

The John Cassavetes Award, which recognizes the feature made for under $500,000, went to writer-director Mora Stephens’ “Conventioneers” from Cinema Libre Studios. Stephens co-wrote the screenplay with Joel Viertel, who produced the film.

The Truer Than Fiction Award victory for Iraq war doc “Occupation: Dreamland” was tinged with sadness, in the wake of last week’s death of documentary filmmaker Garrett Scott from a heart attack. Scott had co-directed “Occupation” with Ian Olds.

“I didn’t want to come, but I came for him,” said Olds upon accepting the award, which is presented to emerging docu directors and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant from Film Independent.

And the winners are…

BEST FEATURE
“Brokeback Mountain”

BEST DIRECTOR
Ang Lee, “Brokeback Mountain”

BEST SCREENPLAY
Dan Futterman, “Capote”

BEST FIRST FEATURE
“Crash,” Paul Haggis

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Duncan Tucker, “Transamerica”

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
(for the Best Feature made for under $500,000)
“Conventioneers”

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Amy Adams, “Junebug”

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Matt Dillon, “Crash”

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Felicity Huffman, “Transamerica”

BEST MALE LEAD
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Capote”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Robert Elswit, “Good Night, and Good Luck”

BEST FOREIGN FILM
“Paradise Now”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”

AMC/AMERICAN EXPRESS PRODUCERS AWARD
Caroline Baron, “Capote” and “Monsoon Wedding”

IFC/ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana, “Cavite”

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Ian Olds and Garrett Scott, “Occupation: Dreamland”

INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD WINNERS BY DISTRIBUTOR
Cinema Libre Studio 1
Focus Features 2
Lionsgate Films 2
Magnolia 1
Sony Pictures Classics 3
Warner Independent Pictures 2
The Weinstein Company 2

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