The day might have started out mildly overcast, but as the film community watched in anticipation, the Santa Monica beach quickly went from partly cloudy to completely black, as "Black Swan" swept the major honors on its way to dominating the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday (February 26).
A schizophrenic thriller about a ballerina's inner demons made manifest, "Black Swan" danced away with four awards, winning Best Feature, Best Director for Darren Aronofsky, Best Actress for Natalie Portman and Best Cinematography for Matthew Libatique. The flick is nominated in the same four categories at Sunday's Academy Awards.
Among other winners, the rural drama "Winter's Bone" nabbed two awards: Best Supporting Male for John Hawkes and Best Supporting Female for Dale Dickey. Presumptive Oscar Best Picture favorite "The King's Speech," meanwhile, won Best Foreign Film.
James Franco, who played a man who literally had to give up an arm to be here today, finally got his due, winning Best Actor for his performance in Danny Boyle's "127 Hours." The 32-year-old, who is in almost every moment of the film as the camera focuses on his character's struggle to make a nearly unthinkable sacrifice, will be front and center as co-host of the Academy Awards.
Other winners included "The Kids Are All Right" for Best Screenplay, "Get Low" for Best First Feature and "Exit Through the Gift Shop" for Best Documentary. Thierry Guetta, aka "Mr. Brainwash," accepted the award for "Exit" on behalf of the film's reclusive director, Banksy.
Hosted by Joel McHale, the show honored independent and original filmmaking throughout 2010, moving from last year's venue, the downtown L.A. Live complex, back to the beach in Santa Monica.
Will it be a regal evening for "The King's Speech"? Can "The Social Network" dial up Oscar gold? Don't miss MTV News' "2011 Oscars Live" at 6 p.m. Sunday, February 27, when we'll be chatting with your favorite Hollywood stars live from the red carpet on MTVNews.com, and stick with us all Oscar night for winners, interviews, photos and more!