Independent Spirit Awards

This Year’s Independent Spirit Awards Barely Differed From the Oscars — Here’s How to Fix Them

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I have to tell you, I didn’t expect Birdman to take it — Cinematography, sure, but not Best Picture. Yet I don’t think any of us were surprised when Julianne Moore finally got the recognition she deserved, and Patricia Arquette and J.K. Simmons pretty much had their awards locked up all fall. And in spite of the stiff competition, the gorgeous Polish film Ida managed to take Best Foreign Film; ditto Laura Poitras’s provocative CITIZENFOUR. What a night for movies it was… on Saturday, at the Independent Spirit Awards, which (as you can tell from this little rhetorical exercise) have gone from Oscar’s scrappier indie cousin to just another damn Oscar run-up. What’s gone wrong? And how can they fix it?
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How to Classify Movies Now That “Independent Film” Is Dead

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This week, since the big sweep of the Independent Spirit Awards by the sure-doesn’t-feel-like-much-of-an-independent-movie Silver Linings Playbook, several film observers (including us) have raised the perennial question of what “independent film” even is, aside from a useful marketing designation that indicates the film you’re about to see will probably not include robots that transform into cars. This ongoing controversy got us thinking: if “independent film” is just a label to begin with, then why not expand it, and get a little more specific? Every film isn’t either indie or studio — let’s break it down, so we know exactly what we’re getting when we go to the cinema. Our suggestions for new, ultra-descriptive movie classifications, from lowest to highest profile, are after the jump.
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What Is an “Independent Film” in 2013?

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In all the hubbub over the Oscars on Sunday night, we didn’t get a chance to say much about the weekend’s other big movie awards ceremony: the Independent Spirit Awards, held the previous evening. As usual, it was a chance to spotlight little movies that weren’t going to get attention the next night — movies like, um, Silver Linings Playbook, which won four awards for Best Director, Best Feature, Best Screenplay, and Best Female Lead. Coincidentally enough, Silver Linings Playbook was up for the equivalent of those same four awards (and four more) at the Academy Awards. Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress at both. Yay, independence!
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