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Lost in Translation wins big at Independent Spirit Awards



Story by: Jack Foley

LOST in Translation proved to be the big winner at the Independent Spirit Awards, which honours movies which are funded outside of the traditional studio system.

Sofia Coppola's under-stated comedy, which finds Bill Murray as an elderly actor who befriends a young American tourist (Scarlett Johansson), during a stay in Tokyo, picked up four awards, for best feature, best director and best screenplay.

It was a fitting victory for a brilliant film, which looks set to be overshadowed at the Oscars, where Lord of the Rings is expected to dominate.

Peter Jackson's epic was ineligible for the Spirit ceremony, as was the likes of Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain, or Peter Weir's Master & Commander.

Speaking after the ceremony, a delighted Coppola thanked her father, Francis Ford, for the support she had received from him, in shaping her screenwriting career.

The film's star, Murray, also claimed the best actor prize, but immediately played down his chances of success in the same category at Sunday's Oscars - referring to the occasion as nothing more than a big long wait in 'a monkey suit'.

Another Oscar favourite, Charlize Theron, was honoured for her performance as a serial killer, in Monster, which also won best first feature, for writer and director, Patty Jenkins.

In what proved to be a truly international-flavoured ceremony, the event, held in a beach tent in Santa Monica, attracted some heavyweight talent, including the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Sean Penn, Jennifer Aniston, and Murray.

Three of the four main acting categories went to non-Americans, with Djimon Hounsou, who hails from the African country of Benin, awarded for his performance in In America, and Iranian actress, Shohreh Aghdashloo, collecting the best supporting actress for her role in the House of Sand and Fog.

In accepting her award, Aghdashloo said she wanted to send a message to the people of Iran to fight for human rights, especially for children and women in the country, although she pledged not to use the Oscars to air her political views.

"The red carpet fits into a universal platform, where all my peers are going to be acknowledged by their peers, and it is purely artistic, and I'm not going to ruin it with a political message," she said.

Whale Rider pick up best foreign language film.

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