"Black Swan" sweeps independent film awards

Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:45pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Black Swan," a ballet melodrama that struggled to get made despite an A-list cast and director, swept the independent film world's version of the Oscars on Saturday, a day before it competes for five prizes at the Academy Awards.

The film picked up four Spirit statuettes, including best feature and best female lead for Natalie Portman, who starred as a childlike ballerina consumed by fear and paranoia.

Darren Aronofsky was named best director for his work on the movie, two years after he was honored for "The Wrestler." It also took the cinematography prize for Matthew Libatique.

All three will compete for Oscars on Sunday, with Portman the favorite to win her race. The film will also vie for best picture and editing.

"Winter's Bone," which led the Spirits field with seven nominations, ended up with two prizes. John Hawkes and Dale Dickey won for their supporting roles as threatening characters in a rural American community ravaged by methamphetamines.

The male lead prize went to Oscars co-host James Franco for his role as a hiker forced to amputate his own arm in the true-life tale "127 Hours."

"The Kids Are All Right," with five nominations, received a solitary win in the screenplay category, for director Lisa Cholodenko and co-writer Stuart Blumberg.


The victory for "Black Swan" is a testament to the risks and rewards of independent filmmaking. Aronofsky and Portman first discussed making "Black Swan" about a decade ago, and when they finally started shooting, the film was on shaky financial ground.   Continued...

<p>Producers of the film "Black Swan" (L-R) Brian Oliver, Arnold Messer, Scott Franklin and Mike Medavoy, accept the award for best feature at the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California February 26, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Wilking</p>