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Independent Spirit not 'Lost in Translation'

Film wins best feature, best director; Murray best actor
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Lost in Translation,” Sofia Coppola’s quirky tale of friendship in Tokyo, dominated Saturday’s Independent Spirit Awards, winning best picture and three other prizes.

Coppola won directing and screenplay honors and her star, Bill Murray, was named best actor for his role as a has-been movie star shooting whiskey ads in Japan.

Charlize Theron won the best-actress award for playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos in “Monster,” which also received the best first feature prize for director Patty Jenkins.

The supporting-actor honor went to Djimon Hounsou as an artist dying of AIDS in “In America,” while Shohreh Aghdashloo was named best supporting actress as a compassionate Iranian immigrant in “House of Sand and Fog.”

The Spirit Awards honor independent films at least partly financed outside the Hollywood studio system. The 9,000 actors, directors, writers and other industry professionals who belong to the nonprofit Independent Feature Project/Los Angeles vote on the winners.

All four acting winners are competing in their respective categories at Sunday’s Academy Awards, with Theron considered the front-runner for the lead-actress Oscar. “Lost in Translation” is up for best picture, while Coppola has Oscar nominations for directing and original screenplay.

Nominees for the Oscars and Spirit Awards usually do not correspond to such a degree. Among last year’s Spirit Awards acting nominees, only one — best-actress winner Julianne Moore of “Far From Heaven” — also was nominated for an Oscar.

Other Spirit Award winners:

  • Best film shot for under $500,000: “The Station Agent.”
  • Best debut performance: Nikki Reed, “thirteen.”
  • Best first screenplay: Thomas McCarthy, “The Station Agent.”
  • Best foreign film: “Whale Rider.”
  • Best documentary: “The Fog of War.”
  • Best cinematography: Declan Quinn, “In America.”