Three months after announcing their nominees, Film Independent held their ceremony for the 26th Spirit Awards on the beach in Santa Monica. Black Swan dominated the evening by winning Best Feature, Best Director (Darren Aronofsky), Best Female Lead (Natalie Portman), and Best Cimenatography (Matthew Libatique). It won all four categories for which it was nominated.
Winter's Bone had led with seven nominations. It came away with two supporting acting awards for Dale Dickey and John Hawkes.
Oscars co-host James Franco won the award for Best Male Lead. He said, "Independent film is important to me, so this means a lot." He thanked Aaron Ralston for his "big big gift" and said "the crew, director and writer became my costars. It was a crazy crazy experience that I don't think I'll ever repeat."
Oscar front-runner The King's Speech won for Best Foreign Film. It was the only category for which it was eligible.
The Best Documentary Award went to Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop. There was an awkward pause as no one rose to accept, so finally Thierry Guetta a.k.a "Mr. Brainwash" went up to accept. He gave a rambling nonsensical acceptance speech, saying he had one but forgot to bring it.
The winner for Best Screenplay was Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right. Blumberg joked, "When Lisa and I started the screenplay, we were just a couple of lesbians with a hope and a dream."
Best First Feature went to Aaron Schneider's Get Low. Best First Screenplay was Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture.
Jeff Malmberg's Marwencol won the Truer Than Fiction Award and was given the Find Your Audience Award sposored by Jameson Irish Whiskey which comes with a $50,000 marketing and distribution grant.
Complete list of winners for the 26th Film Independent Spirit Awards
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
BEST FIRST FEATURE
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Lena Dunham, Tiny Furniture
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
BEST FEMALE LEAD
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
BEST MALE LEAD
James Franco, 127 Hours
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Dale Dickey, Winter's Bone
BEST SUPPORTING MALE
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Matthew Libatique, Black Swan
Exit Through the Gift Shop
BEST FOREIGN FILM
The King's Speech
ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Mike Ott, Littlerock
PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
Anish Savjani, Meek's Cutoff
AVEENO® TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Jeff Malmberg, Marwencol
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Casting Director: Jeanne McCarthy
Ensemble Cast: Ann Guilbert, Rebecca Hall, Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Lois Smith, Sarah Steele
Jameson Find Your Audience AwardJeff Malmberg, Marwencol