Romance dominates Spirit Awards
The oddball romance Silver Linings Playbook has been named best picture at the Spirit Awards honouring independent films.
In Hollywood's last awards before the Oscars, Silver Linings Playbook led with four wins, including best actress for Jennifer Lawrence and director and screenplay for David O Russell.
Lawrence is the best-actress favourite at the Academy Awards for her role as a young widow in a shaky new relationship with a man fresh from a mental hospital.
The Sessions earned two acting prizes, for John Hawkes as a man in an iron lung hoping to lose his virginity and Helen Hunt as the sexual surrogate helping him through it.
The award for best supporting actor went to Matthew McConaughey as a flamboyant stripper in Magic Mike.
Silver Linings Playbook director Russell noted that his initial trip to the Spirit Awards was 19 years ago, when he won the prize for best first film for Spanking the Monkey. His son Matthew, an inspiration for Silver Linings because of his battle with bipolar disorder, was a year old at the time, and was in the crowd to watch his father claim his awards.
The film is up for best picture at the Oscars, where Russell is nominated for adapted screenplay and director and Cooper and Lawrence are in the running for the lead-acting honours.
The film's producers said they had expected fellow Oscar best-picture nominee Beasts Of The Southern Wild to win the top Spirit Award and that they have no expectations of winning the big prize at the Oscars, where Ben Affleck's CIA thriller Argo is the best-picture favourite.
Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke's old-age love story Amour won best international film, a possible prelude to the Oscars, where his film is the favourite to win the foreign-language prize and is nominated for best picture. "I have the impression I am the oldest man in the room," the 70-year-old Haneke joked in a room filled with young filmmakers.
The ceremony was hosted by Adam Samberg at the awards' usual venue, a tent along the beach in Santa Monica just west of Los Angeles.