Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Indie Spirit Awards: Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, James Franco


Hey–with all the griping about the Oscarcast, let’s not lose sight of something: James Franco won Best Actor for “127 Hours.” That’s no small achievement. Natalie Portman won the Indie Spirits and the Oscar– a rarity. When Portman won, I was over with Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban. Nicole clapped the loudest for Natalie–she was very pleased. The Indie Spirits were fun, but an odd affair this year for many reasons. One was the weather: frigid on the beach. Bright blue skies but windy and cold.

The show’s producer made a big mistake, too, taping the show in real time with commercial breaks. With every break there was more attrition. No one sat down. Everyone roamed around. By the end of the show, a third of the tent was empty–people left because of the weather or because they could, frankly. Next year, no commercials. And IFC has to show it live, which scares the audience into behaving.

There was a nice win for Best Screenplay for Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Beattie for “The Kids Are All Right.” Also, Nicole Holofcener‘s “Please Give,” one of my favorite movies of the year, got the Robert Altman Award. Most of the cast was there including Ann Guilbert, who once starred on “The Dick van Dyke Show” as Millie Halper. I wanted to meet her, but she left immediately after the presentation. Holofcener told me, “She’s tired.”

By the way, there was one strange moment. For fun, instead of doing “In Memoriam,” the writers tried a sketch called “Who Will Be Dead Next Year?” They chose random people from the audience, including Aron Ralston, who did almost actually die–and lost a limb. Not in good taste, really.

The main thing, though, is that the show was back on the beach, in the tent. And maybe next year the weather will be normal. PS Funny scene: Jane Lynch arrived, got her gift bag, and left immediately. She didn’t stay for the show. She told me later: “I wasn’t invited. But I do endorsements for LG, and I wanted some of the stuff in the bag.” She’s a practical girl, that Jane!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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