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Thompson on Hollywood

Indie Spirits Move Their Awards Show

Indie Spirits Move Their Awards Show
The biggest story out of the recent New York Film Festival had nothing to do with the movies shown at that 17-day fest. No, the subject of heated discussion wasn't the opening night selection Wild Grass or Lars von Trier's Antichrist: it was the change of venue of the opening night party. The indie world did not convene on Tavern on the Green as it had for more than thirty years. In a budget-cutting move, new Film Society of Lincoln Center chief Mara Manus saved $150,000 by cutting back the list and throwing a more intimate party at the new Alice Tully Hall.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2009 5:35 AM
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Awards Season Kicks Off with Gotham Noms: Hurt Locker Gets Boost

Awards Season Kicks Off with Gotham Noms: Hurt Locker Gets Boost
Each successive round of awards announcements is about whether a movie gets a boost or not. It's not terrible to be left out of the Gotham Independent Film Award nominations. It's more about getting a slight boost as you build toward the inevitable momentum that accrues to the eventual real contenders for the Golden Globes, Indie Spirits or the Oscars. It gets harder, as time goes on, to grab attention in order to coax critics and Academy voters to watch your film. Otherwise you wind up on the bottom of a growing DVD pile.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2009 5:24 AM
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The Messenger: Oscar Contender?

The Messenger: Oscar Contender?
Rookie director Oren Moverman's The Messenger faces the same obstacle in the fall awards season as the Michelle Monaghan star vehicle Trucker. It's one of many marginal outsider films that has to get seen before it has a chance. The movie is a stark portrait of two soldiers (Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster) who have to deliver news to families that their loved ones have died in Iraq. Not only do they have to handle their assignment delicately, but they must also absorb the shock, pain and grief of the bereaved.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 17, 2009 8:10 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Monaghan Drives Trucker

Monaghan Drives Trucker
Former Slamdance Film fest producer James Mottern wrote and directed Trucker, an unpretentious, tough little movie that debuted at Tribeca in 2008 and is finally getting a modest release this week, starting in New York. The movie is about an independent young truck-driver (Michelle Monaghan) who is happiest when she's in the cab of her semi. She married at 18, had a baby, and then left her family behind. Sure enough, a decade later she has to face that kid when his father gets sick.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 7, 2009 10:40 AM
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Indie Spirits Photo Gallery

On a bright Saturday afternoon at the Santa Monica Beach, I mingled with the presenters, nominees, media and guests at the Independent Spirit Awards. On the way in, I photographed waiters with free booze and Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, which won best actress (Frozen River's Melissa Leo), best foreign film (The Class) and best first feature and ensemble cast (Synecdoche, New York). On the blue carpet, I grabbed a shot of Mad Men star Jon Hamm; Dana Delany; At the Movies co-host Ben Mankiewicz; Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi; Film Independent's Dawn Hudson; and IFC's Matt Singer; and then spent a good hour hobnobbing outdoors, the highlight of the event.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 22, 2009 6:39 AM
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Indie Spirit Winners: Wrestler, Rourke, Leo, Cruz, Franco

The Indie Spirits award show on the Santa Monica beach, the day before the Big Show, is my favorite awards event. It's relaxed, convivial. Everyone hangs out outside for an hour or so before the lunchtime ceremony gets under way.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 21, 2009 6:44 AM
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