Although Film Independent’s Spirit Awards take place in SoCal the afternoon before the Academy Awards, they don’t exactly mirror the Oscars in terms of nominees or attitude, but some likely contenders tonight are among those who won yesterday.
Dustin Lance Black, the openly gay screenwriter of “Milk,” won for best first screenplay, and in his acceptance speech made a plea for marriage equality rights for gays. “Milk” also won for James Franco’s supporting performance (Frano is not up for an Oscar, but his co-star, Josh Brolin, is). Penelope Cruz, who is nominated for an Oscar, made more inroads into the winners’ circle picking up her trophy for playing a bisexual woman in Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” which also won best screenplay.
In another head-to-head, Mickey Rourke bested Sean Penn for “The Wrestler,” playing the deadbeat dad of a lesbian daughter. “The Wrestler” also won best feature.
Meissa Leo won best leading actress for “Frozen River” in a face-off with Anne Hathaway. “The Class,” which features an urban teacher who may be gay, won best foreign language film.
You can hear my predictions for the Oscars today on KNON 89.3-FM’s Lambda Weekly show at noon, then again on The Jack E Jett show on 1360-AM at 1.