Last year I get the chance to go out to Santa Monica to act as one of the hosts of our Spirit Awards red carpet coverage, and, despite getting locked out on the patio of my hotel room and having to climb over the fence and head back into the Casa Del Mar lobby in my socks, it was great. But these are more wintry times, and accordingly I’ve stayed planted in New York this year, from which I’ll be live-blogging the awards. Which will be starting shortly! In the meantime, FIND has gallantly shouldered the red carpet duties — you can see the tail end of their coverage here.
7:00: AND… that’s a wrap, folks. All in all, a pretty fleet two hours. I’m still not sure why so much screen time was devoted to Eric Roberts, but hell, someone give the man a movie. Maybe he can play a has-been, er, circus performer or something.
See you all tomorrow for the Oscars.
6:50: Zooey Deschanel reveals that Rourke broke the microphone with that speech. I covet her dress, which is blue and sparkly and involves a bow. BEST DIRECTOR goes to Tom McCarthy for “The Visitor,” (!). “I feel like we should have just stopped the show after Mickey, because who can follow that?” Indeed, sir.
Alec Baldwin: “I want back in to the movie business so bad. I got to get a dog, I got to start working out, I got to drop a lot of f-bombs on live TV.” And your 2009 Spirit Awards BEST FEATURE goes to… “The Wrestler.” Fabulous. Mickey Rourke gives Darren Aronofsky another kiss on the lips. Possibly just fucking with him now. “We all bled to get to this room,” says Aronofsky. He says the film came about due to his love of actors and acting and his wife Rachel Weisz, who, you may have noticed, is also an actor, and speaks rather dismissively of a “space movie” he non-specifically worked on once. But I love that space movie! And no number of euphemisms will erase the image of Hugh Jackman in his future yoga bubble from film history.
6:35: Last year’s host, Rainn Wilson, in a blond wig, sings “The Wrestler” song to the tune of “I Feel Good”: “I’m on ‘roids / And my heart is destroyed.” Does the Ram Jam on stage.
Are those shoulder pads on Laura Dern too? Nooooooo. Please no. Dern and Philip Seymour Hoffman wear similar glasses of Serious Actorliness.
BEST MALE LEAD goes to Mickey Rourke for “The Wrestler.” He kisses Darren Aronofsky on the mouth; Aronofsky makes a hilarious face. Nice shot of IFC/Sundance Channel glorious leader Evan Shapiro sitting near the front — hi, Evan. Rourke says “Eric Roberts is the fuckin’ man” and devotes the beginning of his speech to calling for a comeback project for the man. “Accept your award!” Roberts yells. Rourke tears up about his dead dog: “This is for you, baby.” He thanks the Santa Monica Police Department for giving him a place to sleep ten years ago. Oof, he compares Aronofsky to Cimino, and says that if any actor gets scared off by the difficulty of his shoots: “If they ain’t got the balls to bring it, than fuck ’em.”
Rourke loses his train of thought and can’t think of who else to thank. The crowd suggests Marisa Tomei. He runs with this suggestion: “You know, not many girls can climb the pole.” He notes the realism of the film: “The steroids, the cocaine, banging that girl in the ass in the bathroom… that does happen.” This is, like, the greatest acceptance speech ever. Please, God, let him win tomorrow and try to say something similar at the Oscars.
6:25: Rosie Perez tells Penélope Cruz: “Congratulations, you fly bitch.” Lots of applause for “Silent Light,” as if more than a handful of people have actually seen it. BEST FOREIGN FILM goes to “The Class.” Cantet struggles a bit with his speech — hope he’s more prepared when he inevitably wins tomorrow night too.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY to Maryse Alberti for “The Wrestler.” Take that, “Milk”! Darren Aronofsky accepts on her behalf, explaining how to actually pronounce her name and that Alberti is incredibly in demand and is always doing cool things in far off places, and that’s she’s very good at her job. “She made me wait maybe five minutes for a set-up.”
Cameron Diaz present the Robert Altman Award to Charlie Kaufman and the ensemble cast of “Synecdoche, New York.” It doesn’t go well. I worry briefly that she’s illiterate. Tom Noonan and Philip Seymour Hoffman are wearing similar beanies of Serious Actorliness. Oh no, Catherine Keener gets cut off! Stop that, music cue!
6:19: BEST SCREENPLAY Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck adorably give each other a fist bump. Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” takes the prize. Woody ain’t there.
Christina Applegate sings the “Frozen River” nomination song, to the tune of “Proud Mary” — Melissa Leo gets groovy in the audience.
6:08: Here come the sponsor grant prizes. ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD (which includes a $20,000 grant) goes to Lynn Shelton for “My Effortless Brilliance.” PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD goes to Heather Rae of “Frozen River.” LACOSTE TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD goes to Margaret Brown for “The Order of Myths,” yay. Elizabeth Banks gives a hilarious read of the sponsor message.
5:59: Jason Bateman suggests Ellen Page has been leading a secret porn career. “What about this movie… ‘X-MEN’?!” “I didn’t know it was going to work…” he shrugs after a blowjob joke. BEST FEMALE LEAD: Melissa Leo for “Frozen River.” Immense applause for her from the crowd. “I have a party to go to tomorrow night, I don’t know if you’ve heard…” She puts on her glasses to read her speech, and thanks bloggers (!), amongst others, for their support of the film. I still don’t like the film, but am glad to see Leo get the recognition.
Teri Hatcher sings the “Wendy and Lucy” nomination song. It’s a little frightening.
5:51: Robyn Hitchcock sings the “Rachel Getting Married” nomination song — it’s “Up to Our Nex,” from the film, and isn’t a spoof. I didn’t know that was an option.
Fake Joaquin Phoenix and fake Bat-suited Christian Bale (Coogan) present the doc award. I can’t tell who’s playing Phoenix under the fake beard, but he’s pretty good. “You look like a homeless munchkin!” yells Coogan. BEST DOCUMENTARY goes to “Man on Wire,” the least surprising win of the night, surely. James Marsh is terribly dishy.
5:37: Here comes the first song — Taraji P. Henson sings a “Ballast” song to the tune of “Respect”: “B-A-L-L-A-S-T / What the hell’s that title mean?!” Heh again.
Drew Barrymore gets in a “Requiem for a Dream” “ass-to-ass” joke in her pre-taped bit.
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD: Sean Baker was up for two awards in this category, but the prize actually goes to Alex Holdridge’s acid rom-com “In Search of a Midnight Kiss.” “I want to give a special thanks to everyone who let me sleep on their floor, couch and bed.” Holdridge was clearly listening to Penélope Cruz — he takes the swearing prize as well.
5:32: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jessica Alba — most photogenic presenters so far. Many cheers from the crowd for Rosemarie DeWitt. BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE award goes to Penélope Cruz for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” “They tell me it’s important to swear a lot.” I’m not sure how I feel about her all-brown ensemble, but she’s Penélope Cruz, she always look awesome. She says that Woody Allen left the set on the day of her kiss with ScarJo to get a freckle on his hand checked out by a dermatologist. Heh.
5:21: BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY: Dustin Lance Black, for “Milk.” “It’s awfully gay, I heard that a little bit.” Elegant plea for gay marriage.
BEST FIRST FEATURE: Aaron Eckhart is having a terrible time with the teleprompter. “Synecdoche, New York” wins, which is a bit of a cop-out — I know that technically it’s Kaufman’s first film as a director, but isn’t the point of the prize to call out someone who’s not already established? “The words are weird, it’s a weird thing” says Kaufman. Spike Jonze didn’t come up on stage; Kaufman looks perturbed.
5:15: First award: BEST SUPPORTING MALE – James Franco, for “Milk.” Not surprising, given the goodwill for the film and how much more famous he is than the rest of the nominees. Speech — your straightforward thank you.
GOOD LORD, WHAT IS GOING ON WITH MARY-KATE OLSEN’S SHOULDERS? I haven’t seen shoulder pads like that since “Working Girl.”
5:00: Technically, it’s live from a parking lot NEAR the beach, not the actual beach, as much as we’d all like to believe it so. Sand is killer on heels.
Coogan: “Those of you who had 35 seconds on the first ‘rape’ gag, congratulations, you’ve won the pool.” Random cutaway to Alec Baldwin during Coogan’s opening monologue: He is not amused.
Adam Yauch is wearing a green sport coat that’s ever so slightly valet-like.
4:55: Matt Singer, from the red carpet: “Mickey Rourke gave me a fist bump. I’m not gonna lie. It hurt.”