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2005 Indie Spirit Awards: The Most Famous People in One Tent

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By Andrea Meyer/IFC News

On a day when many Hollywood hotshots snuck in one last mani-pedi or decided whether to go with the Prada or vintage Valentino, the independent film community gathered under a tent on the beach in Santa Monica for the 20th annual Independent Spirit Awards, hosted by the Independent Feature Project. On February 26, just one day before Oscar Sunday, Samuel L. Jackson took to the stage to oversee the festivities—and “Sideways” swept, winning all six awards for which the wine-drenched dramatic comedy was nominated.

Jackson joked about the progression of the event that used to be held in a restaurant. “We’ve only moved from a bad restaurant to a tent on the beach. My dream is that twenty years from now the Independent Spirit Awards will be held in an actual building,” he said. “Looking back, it seems that the only thing that hasn’t changed is Jim Jarmusch’s hair.”

Clad in more casual attire than at that other awards show, presenters like Kevin Bacon (nominated for best male performance in “The Woodsman” and wearing jeans) and Marisa Tomei (in the miniest of minidresses) handed out awards to the likes of Thomas Hayden Church, who won the first of “Sideways”‘ many honors, for best supporting actor. “It’s an honor to be recognized by the independent film community,” Church said, “because I gave my heart and soul to some small un-releasable films in the past and I want to thank Alex [Payne] for giving me another shot.”

When Paul Giamatti accepted his statue for best male lead, an honor many feel the actor was robbed of by the Academy, he said, “I’m really neither spirited or particularly independent, but it is awfully nice to be surrounded by folks who are.” “Sideways,” which presenter Robin Williams called “the way the country’s going,” also took home winged statues for best feature, best director, best screenplay, and best supporting actress for Virginia Madsen.

The award for best documentary went to Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky for “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.” At the podium, Berlinger said, “We’re so used to being on the loser list. This is really cool.”

Accepting the award for best foreign film, “The Sea Inside” director Alejandro Amenabar said, “I share this award with Javier Bardem, who said this is the best award of all, and he’s right.”

Zach Braff’s “Garden State” won the award for best first feature. Upon accepting the prize, the writer/director/star said, “All I ever wanted to do was make movies when I was a kid, so I guess this means I get to make more.”

Rodrigo de la Serna, who won the award for best debut performance for “The Motorcycle Diaries” was not there, giving audiences the opportunity to see his costar Gael Garcia Bernal onstage once again. The film also won the award for best cinematography. Director of photography Eric Gautier was not there either, so director Walter Salles accepted on his behalf.

There were three special grants of $20,000 awarded by event sponsors, including the Bravo/American Express Producers Award, which was awarded to Gina Kwon, producer of Miranda July’s Sundance favorite, “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” and the Direct TV/IFC Truer than Fiction Award, which was awarded to Zana Briski and Ross Kaufman for “Born into Brothels.”

When accepting the $20,000 Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award, “Chain” director Jem Cohen recounted a recent incident when he was filming the passing landscape from a train and the authorities confiscated his film. “I’ve been shooting landscapes from trains for as long as I’ve been making films. Documenting the world we live in is the very basis of my life of a filmmaker,” he said. “I think to be silent about such incidents, to pretend that they aren’t happening is disrespectful to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and to the independent spirit itself.”

Joshua Marston’s “Maria Full of Grace” went home with best first screenplay and best female lead for Catalina Sandino Moreno. The John Cassavetes award went to Jacob Aaron Estes, a film that also won a special award for its ensemble cast. The entire group of young actors, including Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan ,Josh Peck, and Carly Schroeder were there to accept. Peck spoke for the group when he said, “This is definitely the most famous people I’ve ever seen in one tent.” He went on to thank the other cast members, the director, and all of their moms.

The Independent Spirit Awards are being rebroadcast on IFC throughout the week—a list of air times can be found here. This year, it seemed like the Oscars were trying to be more like the Independent Spirit Awards than the other way round—the New York Times lauded the freewheeling Indie Spirits here, while the LA Daily News talks to IFC’s own Evan Shapiro about how to hold an awards show people actually want to watch.


BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer):

“Sideways,” Producer: Michael London


Alexander Payne, “Sideways”


“Sideways,” Writers: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor


“Garden State,” Director: Zach Braff
Producers: Pamela Abdy, Gary Gilbert, Dan Halsted, and Richard Klubeck


“Maria Full of Grace,” Writer: Joshua Marston

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Given to the best feature made for $500,000):

“Mean Creek,” Writer/Director: Jacob Aaron Estes
Producers: Susan Johnson, Rick Rosenthal, Hagai Shaham

BEST DEBUT PERFORMANCE (Actors in their first significant role in a feature film):

Rodrigo de la Serna, “The Motorcycle Diaries”


Virginia Madsen, “Sideways”


Thomas Haden Church, “Sideways”


Catalina Sandino Moreno, “Maria Full of Grace”


Paul Giamatti, “Sideways”


“The Motorcycle Diaries,” Eric Gautier

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the Director):

“The Sea Inside” (Spain) Director: Alejandro Amenábar

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the Director):

“Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” Directors: Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky


Ensemble Cast: “Mean Creek”
Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Pec, Carly Schroeder

Turning Leaf Someone to Watch Award:

Jem Cohen , director of “Chain”

DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award:
Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman for “Born Into Brothels”

Bravo/American Express Producers Award:

Gina Kwon, producer of “The Good Girl” and “Me and You and Everyone We Know”

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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