“12 Years a Slave” Wins Best Feature and More at Independent Spirit Awards

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According to Variety.com12 Years a Slave dominated the Independent Spirit Awards today, winning Best Feature,  Best Director for Steve McQueen, Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong’o and Best Adapted Screenplay for John Ridley12 Years also took the cinematography award for Sean Bobbitt.  McQueen dedicated his Best Director award to Solomon Northup, whose life and book was the basis for the searing historical drama, and also gave thanks to Chiwetel Ejiofor — the “soul” of the film.

In her acceptance speech, a composed Nyong’o said breathlessly that she had not been aware initially of the distinction of independent films, but said she then realized, “Independent film is where stuff actually happens.”  Nyong’o noted that it was her birthday and concluded her speech by thanking her mother for supporting her choice to become an actress.

Fruitvale Station finally gained some much-deserved recognition this awards season, winning Best First Feature for writer/director Ryan Coogler and its cast.  Coogler gave a moving acceptance speech honoring Oscar Grant that received a standing ovation.

Matthew McConaughey won the best actor trophy as an activist for Dallas Buyers Club and Cate Blanchett took the best actress award for her portrayal of the neurotic title character in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. A full list of winners appears below.

In order to be nominated, each film has to have less than a $20 million production budget. To vote, one need only buy a $95 per year membership in Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Complete list of winners:

BEST FEATURE: “12 Years a Slave”
BEST ACTOR: Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
BEST ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
BEST DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
BEST DOCUMENTARY: Morgan Neville, 20 “Feet From Stardom”
BEST SCREENPLAY: John Ridley, “12 Years a Slave”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Sean Bobbitt, “12 Years a Slave”
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE: Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD: “This is Martin Bonner”
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM: “Blue Is the Warmest Color”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
FIRST FEATURE: “Fruitvale Station”
FIRST SCREENPLAY: Bob Nelson, “Nebraska”
PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD: Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston
BEST EDITING: Nat Sanders, “Short Term 12″

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

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