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Ahead of Sunday’s Oscars, Silver Linings Playbook was a big winner at the 28th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, where it took home the day’s top honor of best feature, best lead female for Jennifer Lawrence and best director and best screenplay for David O. Russell.
“The last time I held one of these in my hands was 19 years ago for best first feature,” Russell said from the podium, holding his new hardware. “My son was 1 year old, and he grew up to be a man who taught me about a lot of things. He gave me this movie, so I want to thank him.”
His son Matthew Russell was in the audience, captured by cameras sitting next to the film’s star Bradley Cooper.
The ceremony also saw big wins for The Sessions, with Helen Hunt taking best supporting female and John Hawkes best lead male. Matthew McConaughey laughed his way through an acceptance speech for best supporting male, which he won for his role as a stripper in Magic Mike.
“I had to take my pants off to win a trophy, I had to drop trou to win an award,” he sang, adding: “F— yeah!” But it wasn’t all jokes for McConaughey, who praised the independent film mentality of “talk about it less and do more.” Backstage, however, he did allow that “there were weeklong talks about the thong,” in reference to his infamous costume in the film.
The Jameson Irish Whiskey brand got more than it bargained for as sponsor of the event, when the day’s first winner arrived at the podium — seemingly after enjoying a few too many glasses of the product.
Near the end of Derek Connolly‘s lengthy, rambling speech after winning best first screenplay for Safety Not Guaranteed, Bryan Cranston even hit the stage to pour some Jameson into Connolly’s glass. The writer eventually was ushered offstage.
“I wanna know what’s in the first screenplay’s punch,” quipped McConaughey, who hit the stage shortly thereafter. “Where’s Connolly? Wherever you are, man, way to take your time. He rocked it.”
Among the brands receiving a bit more positive press from the event was Piaget, which bestowed its producers award on Mynette Louie. Before and after the ceremony, guests mingled in the Piaget and Hollywood Reporter tent backstage, where they were photographed and interviewed by the publication.
Unsurprisingly, Michael Haneke‘s Amour won best international film, while Stephen Chbosky took home the honor of best first feature for his The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
“I literally never won an award, so I don’t know [what to do],” he told reporters backstage.
Andy Samberg hosted the festivities, and while he starred in Celeste and Jesse Forever — up for best first screenplay — the comedian acknowledged that most of his résumé has been built outside of the indie world.
“Even though my movies haven’t all been indie, the box-office results have been pretty much the same,” he joked. “So we’re bonded.”
Among the other highlights of Samberg’s hosting duties was a pretaped sketch, in which the Saturday Night Live alum reimagined Beasts of the Southern Wild as Beasts It. Donning an Afro wig, Jack Black starred as Hushpuppy while the duo engaged in various extreme activities. Following the clip, cameras cut to a befuddled Quvenzhane Wallis, who could be seen mouthing, “What?”
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
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