SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The ballet thriller “Black Swan” won four prizes Saturday at the Spirit Awards honoring independent film, including best picture, best actress for Natalie Portman and best director for Darren Aronofsky.
James Franco was picked as best actor for the survival story “127 hours,” while the Ozarks crime story “Winter’s Bone” earned both supporting-acting prizes, for John Hawkes and Dale Dickey.
All three films are up for best picture at today’s Academy Awards, where Portman is considered the favorite to win the best-actress Oscar and Franco is a co-host alongside actress Anne Hathaway.
With plenty of overlap among nominees at the Oscars, the Spirit Awards are a warm-up for Hollywood’s biggest party.
The British monarchy saga “The King’s Speech,” the best-picture front-runner at the Oscars, won the prize for best foreign film.
“Black Swan” also took the cinematography award for Matthew Libatique.
Portman and Aronofsky joked about the difficulty in getting “Black Swan” off the ground, with cash tight and few people believing the film could ever make its money back.
“My ballet teachers were, like, every day, ‘So when do we get paid?’ ” said Portman, who won for her role as a ballerina losing her grip on reality.
Aronofsky thanked his financial backers for believing in the film. “Now, they’re … rich,” Aronofsky said of the money men behind “Black Swan,” a $100 million hit.