David O. Russell's dramatic comedy "Silver Linings Playbook" took home the best feature prize at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday afternoon at a raucous ceremony hosted by Andy Samberg on the beach in Santa Monica.
It was a big afternoon for the Philadelphia tale about a thirtysomething man afflicted with a mood disorder. At the Spirits, Russell was named Best Director and received the prize for Best Screenplay for the film, while his star, Jennifer Lawrence, won the Best Actress statuette.
The Spirits' Best Actor went to John Hawkes for the sex-therapy tale "The Sessions," while his costar, Helen Hunt, won Best Supporting Actress.
RED CARPET: 2013 Independent Spirit Awards
But it was "Silver Linings'" day.
The film, which is also nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday, beat out Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Richard Linklater's "Bernie," Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" and Ira Sachs' "Keep the Lights On" for Best Feature.
"Benh Zeitlin is a young man," Russell said upon winning Best Director, referring to the "Beasts" helmer. "So Benh Zeitlin will be back."
Held under a tent with whiskey and wine flowing, the indie-film ceremony featured its usual mix of self-deprecation (a parody movie called "Bottle Cap," about a girl whose hand blows in the wind) as well as jabs at the film-industry establishment. Samberg started the show with an extended riff with the theme ["Screw] Hollywood and...the Oscars." "You can keep your Matthew McConaugheys because we got Matthew McConaughey," pointing to the "Bernie" and "Magic Mike" star, who received two Spirits nominations.
Samberg couldn't resist a shot at the Oscars' supporting actress favorite Anne Hathaway either, comparing her to the IFC slogan: "Always On. Slightly Off."
McConaughey was later named best supporting actor for playing the strip club impresario Dallas in Steven Soderbergh's "Magic Mike." "I had to take my pants off to win a trophy," the actor quipped. "I had to drop my drawers to win an award."
In other awards, "The Invisible War," Kirby Dick's expose on sexual assault in the military, was named Best Documentary.
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" was given Best First Feature; Stephen Chbosky directed the film based on his own coming-of-age novel of the same name.
Ava DuVernay's "Middle of Nowhere" won the John Cassavetes Award for the best feature made for under $500,000.
Ben Richardson received the prize for Best Cinematography for "Beasts of the Southern Wild." It was the only win for the indie darling; in fact, "Silver Linings" producer Donna Gigliotti told the audience that even she thought the movie would win the top prize.
Michael Haneke's end-of-life love story "Amour" was named best international film.
The Robert Altman Award, which recognizes one film's director, casting director and ensemble cast, went to the team behind "Starlet," Sean Baker's film about an unlikely friendship between a young woman and an elderly woman.
Laura Colella, the director-producer of "Breakfast With Curtis," won the Jameson Find Your Audience Award, a $50,000 grant to assist a filmmaker with marketing and distribution. And Derek Connolly won best first screenplay for "Safety Not Guaranteed," a film starring Mark Duplass about a loner who takes out a classified ad seeking a companion to join him in his homemade time machine. The Piaget Producers Award, which comes with a $25,000 grant, went to Mynette Louie.
The Truer Than Fiction Award, honoring an emerging director of nonfiction features, went to Peter Nicks, director of "The Waiting Room." And Adam Leon, director of "Gimme the Loot," won the Someone to Watch Award.
As this was the Spirits, there was a share of weirdness. After winning his prize, "Safety Not Guaranteed" screenwriter Connolly gave a speech that rambled on for nearly 10 minutes. It ended (almost) when Bryan Cranston walked on stage and poured him a shot.
Meanwhile, Rashida Jones and Jason Bateman did a bit about the people "we've lost," an apparent in memoriam sketch that was really about two (fictitious) contest-winning senior citizens who'd gone missing.
Samberg also appeared in a video medley of faux audition tapes, including one in which he played "Moonrise Mike," a Boy Scout-striptease film.
The host poked fun at the popularity of the event, noting that the show, which airs on IFC on a nine-hour tape delay, may actually be watched by more people in the room than on TV.
"So if you fell asleep on the couch watching 'Whisker Wars,'" Samberg said, "welcome."
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