The Day Before Oscar

Mikewhite_1On the day before Oscar, there’s lots to do. We dress up, go to the beach and eat very small amounts of food at the Independent Spirit Awards, the ceremony designed to celebrate the scrappy, independent films that are likely to be overlooked by the big, brassy Oscars. Except that now, "independent" films — which no longer really means independently financed — tend to dominate the Oscars, so the Spirits have become a kind of prelude to the big Academy Awards. Take today, when "Little Miss Sunshine" took the Spirit award for the best feature of the year. It’s up for Best Picture at the Oscars tomorrow, and has many believing it can take the big prize. That film actually was independently financed, by Marc Turtletaub, a businessman.

The Spirit Awards are also a chance to relax and reconnect with all manner of friends, contacts and independent film insiders. (See Mike White, pictured, who was kind enough to pose for my new digital camera attempts. His upcoming film, ‘Year of the Dog,’ premiered at Sundance and opens soon.)

Just to show that I’m trying to become more technically able, or at least less technically lame, here are a couple of other shots, for no particular reason.

Ortenberg_1 This would be Tom Ortenberg, of LionsGate Film, with Bill Higgins, a reporter from Variety.

Zachbraff_1And Zach Braff was kind enough to get up from lunch to pose for this really, really bad shot. We can all agree that I should stick with writing.

Hpim0409_1Finally, since I’ve been writing about swag for the paper lately, I couldn’t help but notice the swag tents, sponsored by Elle magazine, at the Spirit Awards.  A little disheartening, I have to say, to see free jeans and piles of lip gloss distracting from the purpose of the event. But freebies are an apparently unstoppable force of nature.