"The Artist" captures spirit of indie film awards
By Bob Tourtellotte
SANTA MONICA, California (Reuters) - Silent movie romance "The Artist" on Saturday won four Independent Spirit Awards, the year's top honors among movies made outside Hollywood's major studios, including best film and director in a prelude to the Oscars.
"The Artist," a black-and-white movie from French writer and director Michel Hazanavicius, also picked up Spirit Awards for its star Jean Dujardin, who portrays an actor whose career collapses with the advent of the talkies, in the best actor category and Guillame Schiffman for cinematography.
The film's makers arrived in Los Angeles directly from Friday's Cesar honors in France, and had to be brought to the Spirit Awards from the airport with a police escort. But they shrugged off any jet lag to happily accept their awards.
"Physically it's tiring, but the energy is so good you don't really feel tired," Hazanavicius told reporters backstage about the current awards season in Hollywood and around the world.
About Sunday's Academy Awards, the world's top film honors, he admitted a touch of "stage fright ... (An Oscar) is something that we have had in our eyes for a long time, so I can't say I'm super cool.
"But today, this is important too," Hazanavicius added, pointing to his Spirit Award. "This means a lot because it ('The Artist') is a small movie. It's not expensive."
The nearest rival to "The Artist" for Spirit Awards was family drama "The Descendants," which claimed two honors: best screenplay for Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash; and best supporting actress for Shailene Woodley.
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