Winners Announced for 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Ceremony to air exclusively on IFC, tonight at 10:00 pm ET/PT

Feb 25, 2012, 19:13 ET from Film Independent

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, handed out top honors to The Artist, The Descendants and Margin Call at this afternoon's 27th Film Independent Spirit Awards. My Week With Marilyn, Beginners, 50/50, A Separation and The Interrupters also received awards at the ceremony, held in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica.

Tune in to IFC tonight at 10:00 pm ET/PT to catch all the action at the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards, with actor, writer and producer Seth Rogen hosting. Highlights include: John Waters as the Voice of God, musical performances by My Morning Jacket and K'Naan.

The Spirit Awards was the first event to exclusively honor independent film, and over the past 27 years, has become the premier awards show for the independent film community, celebrating films made by filmmakers who embody independence and originality. Artists receiving industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Joel & Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams and many more.

This year's major category winners were The Weinstein Company's The Artist, which won Best Feature, Best Director, Best Male Lead and Best Cinematography and My Week With Marilyn, which won Best Female Lead; Fox Searchlight's The Descendants, which won Best Supporting Female and Best Screenplay; Focus Features' Beginners, which won Best Supporting Male and Pariah, which won the John Cassavetes Award; Summit Entertainment's 50/50, which won Best First Screenplay; Roadside Attractions' Margin Call, which won Best First Feature; Sony Pictures Classics' A Separation, which won Best International Film; and The Cinema Guild's The Interrupters, which won Best Documentary.

The 5th annual Robert Altman Award was given to one film's director, casting director, and ensemble cast. J. C. Chandor's Margin Call received this award, along with casting directors Tiffany Little Canfield and Bernard Telsey and ensemble cast members Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto, Kevin Spacey and Stanley Tucci.

Film Independent, in partnership with NowLive and Yahoo!, streamed a Live Arrivals Show exclusively on Yahoo! Movies ( to its audience of more than 26 million US users, across the web, mobile and iOs devices.

Premiere Sponsors are ELLE, Piaget, Jameson® Irish Whiskey, Audi of America, IFC and Principal Sponsors are Stella Artois and Nokia. Onitsuka Tiger is the Official Gift Bag and Staff Gear Sponsor. WireImage is the Official Photographer, American Airlines is the Official Airline and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent. On 3 Productions is the producer of the Official Presenter Gift Lounge and Official Ceremony Gift Bags.  The Official Water of the Spirit Awards is FIJI Water. For more information on the winners, photo galleries, and video clips from the arrivals and show, please visit


The following is a complete list of the winners:



Best Feature   

The Weinstein Company

The Artist          

Producer: Thomas Langmann



Best Director     

The Weinstein Company

Michel Hazanavicius                                  

The Artist



Best Screenplay                                       

Fox Searchlight

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash       

The Descendants



Best First Feature                                     

Roadside Attractions

Margin Call                                                  

Director: J.C. Chandor


Producers: Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya,

Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Neal Dodson, Zachary Quinto



Best First Screenplay                           

Summit Entertainment

Will Reiser                                              




John Cassavetes Award                         

Focus Features

(For the best feature made under $500,000)

Writer/Director: Dee Rees


Producer: Nekisa Cooper



Best Supporting Female                           

Fox Searchlight

Shailene Woodley                                        

The Descendants



Best Supporting Male                               

Focus Features

Christopher Plummer                                   




Best Female                                               

The Weinstein Company

Michelle Williams                                          

My Week With Marilyn



Best Male                                                     

The Weinstein Company

Jean Dujardin                                                

The Artist



Best Cinematography                                

The Weinstein Company

Guillaume Schiffman                                    

The Artist



Best Foreign Film                                      

Sony Pictures Classics

A Separation                                                

Director: Asghar Farhadi



Best Documentary                                       

The Cinema Guild

The Interrupters                                             

Director: Steve James


Producer: Alex Kotlowitz




The Weinstein Company                  


Focus Features                              


Fox Searchlight                             


Roadside Attractions                     


The Cinema Guild                         


Sony Pictures Classics                


Summit Entertainment                 


Two new filmmaker grants were awarded during the ceremony. The 2012 Chaz and Roger Ebert Fellowship, which recognizes a social-issue documentary and includes a cash grant of $10,000, was given to Katie Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall, co-directors of the documentary Call Me Kuchu. The film was developed in Film Independent's 2011 Documentary Lab and has its world premiere at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Teddy Award for Best Documentary.

The 2012 Giorgio Armani Directing Fellowship, which includes a cash grant of $10,000, was awarded to Grace Lee, director of the documentary American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs. The film, currently in post-production, is in Film Independent's 2012 Documentary Lab.

On January 14th, the following winners were honored at the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood:

The 18th Annual Audi Someone to Watch Award was given to Mark Jackson, director of Without. The $25,000 unrestricted grant, funded for the first time by Audi, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not received appropriate recognition.

The 17th Annual Nokia Truer Than Fiction Award was given to Heather Courtney, director of Where Soldiers Come From. The $25,000 unrestricted grant, funded by Nokia, is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. 

The 15th Annual Piaget Producers Award was given to Sophia Lin, producer of Take Shelter. The $25,000 unrestricted grant, funded by Piaget, is presented to an emerging producer who, despite highly limited resources demonstrates the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films. 

The 2nd Annual Jameson FIND Your Audience Award, which helps one low-budget independent film find a broader audience, was given to Benjamin Murray and Alysa Nahmias, co-directors of Unfinished Spaces. The $40,000 marketing and distribution grant, funded by Jameson® Irish Whiskey, was designed to meet independent filmmakers' biggest challenge today: How to get their films out into the marketplace. 


Joining Sean Mc Manus and Josh Welsh, Co-Presidents of Film Independent, was Host Seth Rogen.

Presenters included: John Waters, Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Olivia Wilde, Jessica Chastain, Ben Kingsley, William H. Macy, Zoe Saldana, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elizabeth Banks, Zac Efron, Bryan Cranston, Kirsten Dunst, Anthony Mackie, Chris Pine, Ed Helms, Anna Kendrick, John Hawkes, Jonah Hill, Shailene Woodley, Terrence Howard, Patricia Clarkson, Ethan Hawke, Rashida Jones, Rosario Dawson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lucy Liu, Benjamin Bratt, Laura Dern, Goran Visnjic, Michael Moore, Penelope Ann Miller, Anne Heche, Michael Shannon, Giovanni Ribisi, Julia Ormond, Illeana Douglas, Willem Dafoe and Li Bing Bing.

Musical Performers were: My Morning Jacket, K'Naan, Kate Micucci and Garfunkel & Oats

Celebrity guests and nominees included: Michelle Williams, Alexander Payne, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Olsen, Dale Dickey, Ron Perlman, Alexander Skarsgard, John C. Reilly, Christopher Plummer, Derek Luke, Zachary Quinto, Steve McQueen, Danny Huston, Adepero Oduye, Jason Isaacs, Olga Kurylenko, Kevin Abrams, Lauren Ambrose, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Janet McTeer, Ziyi Zhang, Demian Bichir, Andre Royo, Souleymane Sy Savane, Kiefer Sutherland, Rachael Harris, Brit Marling, Tom McCarthy, Wilmer Valderrama, Matt Bomer, Mark Duplass, Sarah Paulson, Harmony Santana, Corey Stoll, Mary McDonald, Beth Behrs, Mike Mills, J.C. Chandor, Dee Rees, Jeff Nichols, Paddy Considine, Mike Cahill, Will Reiser, Asghar Farhadi, Robbie Pickering, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Maryam Keshavarz, Evan Glodell, Stana Katic, Hilarie Burton, Antonio Campos, Daniele Anastasion, Simon Arthur, Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Jim Burke, Chad Burris, Tiffany Little Caulfield, Karin Chien, Nekisa Cooper, Heather Courtney, Patrick Cunningham, Tyler Davidson, Miranda de Pencier, Danfung Dennis, Patrick DeWitt, Neal Dodson, Sean Durkin, Nat Faxon, Philip Gefter, Evan Goldberg, Matthew Gordon, Vincent Grashaw, Hunter Gray, Brion Hambel, Alma Har'el, Joel Hodge, Merrilee Holt, Brad Inglesby, Mark Jackson, Steve James, Joe Jenckes, Paul Jensen, Phil Johnston, Art Jones, Mike Jones, Ben Karlin, Benjamin Kasulke, Lars Knudsen, Alex Kotlowitz, Sheldon Larry, Melissa Lee, Sophia Lin, Chris Maybach, Jarreth Merz, Josh Mond, Corey Moosa, Benjamin Murray, Alysa Nahmias, Nicholas Ozeki, Marc Platt, Richard Press, Jim Rash, Adam Reid, Nicholas Shumaker, Adam Siegel, Eric Strauss, Jim Taylor, Bernard Telsey, Robert Tonino, Nate Tuck, Leslie Urdang, Andrew van den Houten, Jay Van Hoy, Dean Vanech, Jeffrey Waldron, Patrick Wang, David Weissman, Amile Wilson and more.

For more information on submission guidelines, voting, media and publicist credentials, and the history of the Spirit Awards, please visit


Now in its 27th year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers who embody independence and originality. The Spirit Awards recognizes the achievements of American independent filmmakers and promotes the finest independent films of the year to a wider audience. 

Awards are given in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, Best Screenplay, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Cinematography, Best International Film, Best Documentary, and the Robert Altman Award.  The Filmmaker Grants include the Audi Someone to Watch Award, Nokia Truer Than Fiction Award, Piaget Producers Award and the Jameson FIND Your Audience Award. 

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors ELLE, Piaget, Jameson® Irish Whiskey, Audi of America and IFC, and Principal Sponsors Stella Artois and Nokia. Onitsuka Tiger is the Official Gift Bag and Staff Gear Sponsor. WireImage is the Official Photographer, American Airlines is the Official Airline Partner and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent. On 3 Productions is the producer of the Official Presenter Gift Lounge and Official Ceremony Gift Bags. The Official Water of the Spirit Awards is FIJI Water.


Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent's Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff, and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional, or a film lover.

Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers.  Film Independent also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.  

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent's Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent's signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.

For more information or to become a member, visit

SOURCE Film Independent