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19th Independent Spirit Awards Coverage

The 19th Annual Independent Spirit Awards were handed out in Santa Monica on February 28th, 2004. The nominees, and the winners (**), are listed below.

The awards open with its wonderful host, John Waters, who cracked wise about the screeners issue and the MPAA. The biggest laugh erupted when Jack Valenti came out, cuffed Waters and led him out.

The first presenters of the afternoon were Chris Cooper and Laura Dern, who were on hand to present Best Supporting Male. And the Spirit Award goes to Djimon Hounsou for In America.

The deeply moved actor thanked his two young co-stars, the Bolger sisters, his director, Jim Sheridan, and America for "allowing me to blossom".

Selma Blair and Elijah Wood then handled the presenting chores for the Best First Screenplay category. And the Spirit Award goes to Thomas McCarthy for The Station Agent. McCarthy joked, "I thought this was going to be twelve people in a room," before thanking the team and cast that helped him realize his screenplay.

Joe Pantoliano a.k.a. Joey Pants, then led the audience in a bouncing ball sing-a-long based on the first Best Picture nominee, American Splendor.

Jennifer Aniston and Mike White, who were both nominated last year for The Good Girl, riffed for a while on the fact that he won and she lost. They then got down to business and presented the Spirit Award for Best Screenplay. And the Spirit Award goes to Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation. Calling it a "handsome award", she thanked her father for his screenwriting advice over the years.

Hayden Christensen and Rosario Dawson strolled out next to present Best Debut Performance. And the Spirit Award goes to Nikki Reed for Thirteen. Reed paid tribute to her co-writer and director, Catherine Hardwicke.

Leading the second sing-a-long of the afternoon, Kyra Sedgwick and Zooey Deschanel, dressed as schoolgirls, sang a ditty to introduce the clip for In America.

Forest Whitaker then presented the Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female. And the Spirit Award goes to Shohreh Aghdashloo for House of Sand and Fog.

Presenting the Spirit Award for Special Distiction, Laura Linney introduced a clip from 21 Grams. The award honored the film's director Alejandro González Iñárritu, its screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, producer Robert Salerno and the great cast that featured Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts. Iñárritu said he couldn't find a better way to explore another culture then being in the hands of his lead cast.

Michael McKean and Erika Christensen then led the sing-a-long for the Best Picture nominee Lost in Translation.

After doing another great riff on the screener issue, Jake Gyllenhal and Emily Mortimer then presented the Spirit Award for Best First Feature. And the Spirit Award goes to Patty Jenkins for Monster. Jenkins said it was a really overwhelming moment for her and called the Spirit Award the icing on the cake.

Juliette Lewis then led the sing-a-long for the next Best Feature nominee, Raising Victor Vargas.

John Waters then ISA's 2004 honorary chair, Tom Cruise. Tom then presented the Spirit Award for Best Director. And the Spirit Award goes to Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation. "I feel like a hog today," she said, as she picked up her second award of the day.

Naomi Watts and Kevin Bacon then left their tables to present Best Male Lead. And the Spirit Award goes to Bill Murray for his fantastic work in Lost in Translation. "I have no prepared remarks...I didn't feel that would be independent."

The final sing-a-long was led by Nia Vardalos. It was for the final nominee for Best Feature, Shattered Glass.

Hilary Swank and Mark Ruffalo then presented Best Female Lead. And the Spirit Award goes to Charlize Theron for Monster. "This is such an exciting day," she gushed. She thanked the audiences for their public support, as well as her team, her mom, and "Stewie, who I get to go home with."

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ian McKellen then got ready to present the Best Feature award, which according to Maggie would launch the winner from "total obscurity to relative obscurity." And the Spirit Award goes to Lost in Translation. Sofia Coppola, who'll have to make some room on her mantle, took to the stage yet again. Her producingpartner Ross Katz started off the acceptance speech.

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer)




JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)










Producers Award

Turning Leaf Someone To Watch Award

DIRECTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award

Special Distinction Award