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by Peter Knegt
March 6, 2010 4:35 AM
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"Precious" Tops Spirit Awards

"It's going to be a big night for 'Precious'," an industry insider proclaimed, prior to the start of the 25th Independent Spirit tonight in Downtown Los Angeles. "At least I hope so," the person added.

Well, it certainly was.

Lee Daniels' "Precious," a modestly budgeted independent production that debuted more than a year ago at the Sundance Film Festival before it was embraced by Oprah Winfre y and Typer Perry and was then acquired by Lionsgate, led the winners at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, winning the awards for best feature, best director (Lee Daniels), best actress (Gabourey Sidibe), best supporting actress (Mo'Nique), and best first screenplay (Geoffrey Fletcher).

Live at the Spirit Awards | The Predictions | The Nominees | The Rehearsals | Twitter

The film's key performers, Mo'Nique and Gabourey Sidibe, gave what many felt were the best speeches of the night.

"My mom used to pay me $2 to go to school," Sidibe said, "and I saved up my money for a week so that I could see ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse’ and that's the first film I saw where I could say ‘I could do that.'” She said the movie gave her 'independent spirit'. More than fifteen years later, she was on stage accepting a best acting honor for first role in a feature film.

Other major winners of the night included "Crazy Heart," which won the award for both best first feature and best actor for Jeff Bridges, while "(500) Days of Summer" won the prize for best screenplay.

Lynne Shelton's indie, "Humpday," won the John Cassavetes Award for the best feature made for under $500,000, and Woody Harrelson was honored for best supporting male for his work in "The Messenger."

Best actor winner Jeff Bridges backstage. Photo by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

Acomplete running commentary on the evening is available on indieWIRE.

The complete list of Spirit Award winners:

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer)
Precious

BEST DIRECTOR
Lee Daniels, Precious

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
Crazy Heart

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000; award given to the writer, director, and producer)
Humpday

BEST SCREENPLAY
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, 500 Days of Summer

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

The "Anvil" team backstage after winning the prize for Best Documentary. Photo by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

BEST MALE LEAD
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Mo'Nique, Precious

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Roger Deakins, A Serious Man

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director)
Sacha Gervasi, Anvil! The Story of Anvil

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the director)
Lone Scherfig, An Education

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
(Given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)
"A Serious Man"
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Casting Directors: Ellen Chenoweth, Rachel Tenner
Cast: Richard Kind, Sari Lennick, Jessica McManus, Michael Stuhlbarg, Aaron Wolff

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
Karen Chien ("The Exploding Girl" & "Santa Mesa")

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Kyle Patrick Alvarez ("Easier with Practice")

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Bill Ross & Turner Ross ("45365")

Live Blog | The Predictions | The Nominees | The Rehearsals | Twitter

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