Independent Spirit Awards hijacked by Weinstein

February 24, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook - poster artSilver Linings Playbook should have won nothing at the Independent Spirit Awards last night. Beyond the fact that this movie just is not that good (my review) with glaring fundamental issues in tone hidden by saccharine sentimentality, this movie practically swept the ceremony despite breaking the number 2 rule of the awards. If you had not heard, Silver Linings Playbook was allowed into competition despite being over budget by $1 million. The limit is $20 million. Here is a link to the PDF of rules, note number 2 under rules and eligibility: Independent Spirit Awards Submission Information). According to Box Office Mojo, note the film’s budget: Silver Linings Playbook on Box Office Mojo. That is plain enough.

But there is no denying the power of the man behind the studio that released the film, Harvey Weinstein. The film, chock full of adorable actors precious to star gazers (the film even has every acting category covered at tonight’s Oscars®), had the momentum ever since coming out of Sundance last year. I was even intrigued back then. However, the flimsiness in the film’s tone and the derivative story of another crazy trying to adjust to the outside world never moved this viewer. In fact, the humor seemed downright appalling if not condescending. But Weinstein knows what movie to get behind to get the gold, as he’s proven for many years. Here is a terrific article in the “Wall Street Journal” exploring his campaign for SLP: Read Merissa Marr’s article “Inside the Oscar Playbooks.”

It just goes to show it’s about playing a game and not about celebrating art. As time goes on I grow more cynical about awards ceremonies. It should not surprise me that the Independent Spirit Awards would go this way, as well (heck, the things I have heard about tiny, regional film festivals and their awards should have long left me jaded). But I had thought the Independent Spirit Awards was small enough and independent enough, but lo… If you care to see the full list of winners, here they are (Note: I was not entirely disappointed, fine choices for wins include best foreign film Amour [my review], documentary the Invisible War, cinematography for Beasts of the Southern Wild and finally some recognition for the underrated Safety Not Guaranteed. But Starlet’s recognition also left me surprised, seeing as that was one of the more flimsy films of the year for this writer, as well [my review]. Just call me disenchanted by this whole thing):

Full list of winners:

BEST FEATURE

Silver Linings Playbook

BEST DIRECTOR

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

BEST SCREENPLAY

Silver Linings Playbook

BEST FIRST FEATURE

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

Safety Not Guaranteed

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD

Middle of Nowhere

BEST FEMALE LEAD

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

BEST MALE LEAD

John Hawkes, The Sessions

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

Helen Hunt, The Sessions

BEST SUPPORTING MALE

Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Beasts of the Southern Wild

BEST DOCUMENTARY

The Invisible War

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM

Amour

16th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD

Mynette Louie

19th ANNUAL SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD

Adam Leon, Gimme the Loot

STELLA ARTOIS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD

Peter Nicks, The Waiting Room

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD

Starlet

Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2013 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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