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Silver Linings Playbook wins big at Independent Spirit Awards

Silver Linings Playbook

Story by Jack Foley

DAVID O Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook has taken four top prizes at the Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica.

The annual celebration of independent film is held on the eve of the Oscars and marks Hollywood’s last big pre-Oscars ritual before Sunday’s main event.

Silver Linings, which is up for eight Academy Awards, left Santa Monica with trophies for best film, director (Russell), screenplay and actress for Jennifer Lawrence.

Accepting the best screenplay award, writer and director Russell paid tribute to his own son, who was the inspiration for the film.

He said: “The last time I held one of these was 19 years ago for best screenplay and best first feature [for Spanking the Monkey] and my son was one year old. Matthew’s here today and he gave me this movie.”

Russell’s son has bipolar disorder, the same condition that Bradley Cooper’s character is dealing with in the film, which is itself based on the novel by Matthew Quick.

Cooper himself was beaten to the best actor prize by John Hawkes, who took the award for his portrayal of the late disabled journalist and poet Mark O’Brien in The Sessions.

The film chronicles O’Brien’s attempts to lose his virginity despite being confined to an iron lung for the majority of his life.

Hawkes said he hoped the film would help change perceptions of disability, adding: “Mark O’Brien said as a disabled man he felt invisible to people. I hope this film can change that a little bit and we all see each other a little more.”

His co-star Helen Hunt – who plays the sex therapist who enables him to have sex for the first time – won best supporting actress.

In other awards, Matthew McConaughey took home the best supporting actor prize for Magic Mike, in which he plays the owner of a male stripping joint.

He praised the process of making independent films, saying: “The vitality you get from not having enough money and not having enough time… that’s what I love about independent films.”

The prize for best foreign film went to Oscar favourite Amour, directed by Michael Haneke, which also triumphed at the Cesars this weekend.

Haneke said: “I feel wonderful, it comes as a complete surprise. No-one would think a film dealing with ageing and death [would do so well].”

Oscar nominee Beasts of the Southern Wild picked up one award, for British cinematographer Ben Richardson, The Invisible War, which addresses rape and sexual abuse in the US military was named best documentary and the best first feature prize went to Stephen Chbosky Perks of Being a Wallflower, starring Emma Watson.

Chbosky adapted and directed the film from his own novel.

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