OS ANGELES (Reuters) – “Black Swan,” a ballet melodrama that struggled to get made despite an A-list cast and director, swept the independent film world’s version of the Oscars on Saturday, a day before it competes for five prizes at the Academy Awards.
The film picked up four Spirit statuettes, including best feature and best female lead for Natalie Portman, who starred as an unhinged ballerina.
Darren Aronofsky was named best director for his work on the movie, two years after he was honored for “The Wrestler.” It also took the cinematography prize for Matthew Libatique.
“Winter’s Bone,” which led the field with seven nominations, ended up with two prizes. John Hawkes and Dale Dickey won for their supporting roles as threatening characters in a rural American community ravaged by methamphetamines.
The male lead prize went to James Franco for his role as a hiker forced to amputate his own arm in the true-life tale “127 Hours.”
“The Kids Are All Right,” with five nominations, received a solitary win in the screenplay category, for director Lisa Cholodenko and co-writer Stuart Blumberg.
Aronofsky and Portman first discussed making “Black Swan” about a decade ago, and when they finally started shooting, the film had no financing. Aronofsky hailed some equity investors whose risky bet has paid a hefty dividend.
The film, which cost about $15 million to make, has grossed just over $100 million at the North American box office. It will compete in the equivalent categories at the Oscars on Sunday, as well as for editing.
The Spirit Awards honor low-budget American films based on such criteria as original, provocative subject matter and the degree of independent financing.
“The King’s Speech,” which leads the Oscars field with 12 nominations, was named best foreign film at the Spirits. As a British movie, it was not eligible for consideration in the major categories.
(Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Todd Eastham)
Mochila insert follows.