Mickey Rourke, Melissa Leo Win 2009 Film Independent Spirit Awards

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CHICAGO – “The Wrestler” was the big winner at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles, as Darren Aronofsky’s film took home the prize for Best Picture and Mickey Rourke won for Best Actor. Other big winners included Melissa Leo for Best Actress for “Frozen River,” James Franco for Best Supporting Actor for “Milk,” and Penelope Cruz for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”.

Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight

Mickey Rourke gave the most entertaining speech of the day, taking time to note that friend Eric Roberts should get the same kind of career comeback that he has had with “The Wrestler” and becoming emotional when speaking about his recently deceased close friend, his dog Loki. Like a lot of people, he was clealry having a blast

Rourke gave one of the most heartfelt, fun, and generally entertaining speeches in years, a part of a ceremony that always feels more laid-back and enjoyable than nearly any other awards show. How many other awards shows feature f-bombs and giant bottles of Jameson on the table?

The Steve Coogan-hosted event included unusual musical numbers (sung by people like Christina Applegate, Teri Hatcher, and Rainn Wilson) for the five films nominated for Best Feature (“Ballast,” “Frozen River,” “Rachel Getting Married,” “Wendy and Lucy,” and “The Wrestler”)

“The Wrestler” may have been the big winner but the Independent Spirit Awards, hosted by Steve Coogan and broadcast live on IFC, really spread the wealth around with each acting award and the director award going to five different films.

Other major winners includes Thomas McCarthy for Best Director for “The Visitor,” Woody Allen for Best Screenplay for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “The Class” for Foreign Film, Maryse Alberti for Best Cinematography for “The Wrestler,” and “Man on Wire” for Best Documentary.

Charlie Kaufman won Best First Feature for “Synecdoche, New York” and Dustin Lance Black won Best First Screenplay for “Milk”.

The Acura Someone to Watch Award went to Lynn Shelton for “My Effortless Brilliance”. The Plaget Producers Award went to Heather Rae for “Frozen River”. Margaret Brown won the Lacoste Truer Than Fiction Award for “The Order of Myths”. The team behind “Synecdoche, New York” was given a special prize, the Robert Altman Award, given to the film’s director, casting director and its ensemble cast.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

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