Steve McQueen and a phenomenal ensemble cast help make "Widows" look effortless                "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" offers something for every type of Coen Brothers fan                Updated Academy Award predictions for early November                Review Round-Up: "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch", "El Angel" "The Long Dumb Road", and "Outlaw King"                Taking a look at potential Best Documentary Feature contenders                "The Front Runner" is a terrific and timely film for right around Election Day                Hollywood Film Awards Marked the Launch of Awards Season                Taking a first crack at Golden Globe predictions                “The Favourite” and “The Front Runner”: Films to see in November                Awkwafina to Host 22nd Hollywood Film Awards                Review Round-Up: "Bodied", "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms", and "The Other Side of the Wind"                Rosamund Pike is a force to be reckoned with in "A Private War"                Black Panther, Incredibles 2 to Receive Hollywood Film Awards                "Boy Erased" has Joel Edgerton stretching himself as a prestige filmmaker                Rami Malek does his best to elevate "Bohemian Rhapsody" from being a standard biopic        

“Silver Linings Playbook” cleans up at the Spirit Awards

David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” swept the Film Independent Spirit Awards this afternoon in Santa Monica on the beach. Russell won Best Director and Adapted Screenplay, Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress, the film won Best Picture. It was quite a moment for this little romantic comedy with serious underpinnings.

The only big award lost was Bradley Cooper, who was just as pleased to see veteran John Hawkes pick up Best Actor for “The Sessions.” Helen Hunt won Best Supporting Actress for “The Sessions” as well. And “The Invisible War” won Best Documentary. “Amour” won Best Foreign Language Film.

Andy Samberg was sort of brilliant as host of the show, which airs tonight on the IFC Channel. He gave a classy tip of the hat to long time show host John Waters. The Spirit Awards run much fast now as they are taped without commercials, then show the same evening. There are no messy breaks.

The Spirit Awards are not exactlu an augur for the Oscars. They’re really for movies that cost less than $20 million to make. Still, repeats are not unusual. And the wins here mean that “Silver Linings” has a lot of support. This may translate into bigger things at the Oscars on Sunday.

Because the Spirit Awards are for free spirits, the show offered Jameson Irish Whiskey on the rocks to anyone coming onto the red carpet. Major amounts of liquor flowed all through the afternoon, which made for some uneasy moments. Chief among these was the writer of “Safety Not Guaranteed,” a young man named Derek Connolly. He got so toasted that by the time he won Best First Screenplay he was in trouble.

Connolly gave an incoherent rambling speech and finally had to be cut off by actress Kerry Washington. When he left the stage Connolly was so out of it he had to be carried out of the main tent where the ceremony continued without him.

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