“The Artist,” produced by Thomas Langmann, won best feature at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday. The black-and-white homage to silent cinema, which is also nominated for 10 Oscars, is considered a best picture front-runner heading into Sunday’s 84th Academy Awards ceremony. The top prize for the independent film community, the Spirit Awards hand out trophies in 14 competitive categories. The afternoon affair is designed to be a more casual answer to the motion picture academy’s lavish Oscar gala. “The Artist’s” Michel Hazanavicius was honored for best director, star Jean Dujardin won best male lead for his turn as a movie idol whose fame is on the wane and Guillaume Schiffman won the cinematography prize for the film. Only Hazanavicius was on hand to claim his statuette, however; the other two men had not yet arrived from Paris, where “The Artist” collected even more accolades this weekend at France’s Cesar Awards. Other winners included Michelle Williams, who was named best actress for her portrayal of Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe in “My Week With Marilyn.” Christopher Plummer was named best supporting actor for his role in “Beginners,” in which he plays a widower who reveals he’s gay. The actor accepted the prize with a quip in keeping with the irreverent nature of the beach-side Santa Monica ceremony hosted this year by actor Seth Rogen. Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who wrote the script for “The Descendants,” won best screenplay for their film, which Payne also directed, about an indifferent father forced to reexamine his life. Shailene Woodley captured the supporting female award for her work in the drama.
Names in the news, Feb. 28
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