SANTA MONICA - The $100 million-plus grossing Oscar nominee "Silver Linings Playbook" was the big winner at the Spirit Awards on Saturday afternoon.
Held in a big tent on Santa Monica Beach, the Spirits are put on by Film Independent to honor the year's best movies made for under $20 million and, for the most part, without big Hollywood studio help.
"SLP" - which took best feature, female lead, director and screenplay honors at this year's Spirits - was released by The Weinstein Company, an indie outfit with a proven knack for winning Oscars and the inflated grosses that can go with them like nobody's business.
"I love being in that 20th hour of free overtime with the rest of the crew," cracked "SLP's" female lead winner Jennifer Lawrence, who's also one of the hot contenders for the best actress Academy Award, during her Spirit acceptance speech. Considering how much the bipolar screwball comedy has made, she ought to have a serious talk with her agent.
David O. Russell received "SLP's" screenplay and directing Spirits.
"To have an audience see the film, that's everything," Russell said backstage, adding that anything that gets people into theaters in the cacophonous and disposable Internet age is worthwhile.
The other multiple winner Saturday was "The Sessions," about a virgin in an iron lung who finally hires a sex surrogate to solve one of his problems.
Matthew McConaughey won supporting male for playing an exotic dancer in "Magic Mike" - a film released by decidedly non-indie Warner Bros., and another member of the $100 million-plus grossers club.
The true indie darling of 2012, "Beasts of the Southern Wild," left the beach with only one Spirit Award, for Ben Richardson's cinematography.
The international film Spirit went to Oscar foreign language film frontrunner "Amour." The documentary winner was military rape expose "The Invisible War." The John Cassavetes Award for a feature costing less than $500,000 went to San Fernando Valley-based director Ava DuVernay's "Middle of Nowhere" and the Robert Altman Award, given primarily for an acting ensemble's work, was earned by the Valley-set "Starlet."
The amusing "Safety Not Guaranteed" claimed the best first screenplay Spirit and the best first feature Spirit went to "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," which is technically director Stephen Chbosky's second film.
But that's just how indie awards in the reality-distorting shadow of Hollywood roll.