Seth Rogen's opening monologue was the best thing about Saturday's Film Independent Spirit Awards on the beach in Santa Monica. (Unless you happen to enjoy seeing pretty actresses strut on stage in very short dresses and very tall heels. No more blue jeans at the Spirit Awards, apparently.) Rogen spent a lot of time riffing on Michael Fassbender's penis in "Shame," and that was mostly pretty funny. He got off some good jokes about the nominated movies. But he reached his irreverent peak remarking that Brett Ratner, deposed as Oscars producer after offensive remarks about gays, might have been a better choice for the more-forgiving Grammys.
- "You say a few hateful things, they won’t let you within a hundred yards of the Oscars. At the Grammys, you can literally beat the shit out of a nominee and be asked to perform twice." [Um, it's a reference to Chris Brown and Rihanna...and a joke.]
- On the bad guys in "Drive:" "I liked that all the villains were Jewish. I thought that was really cool....that movie made Jews look so scary, I thought Mel Gibson directed it.”
- On "The Artist" dominating so many Hollywood awards: "How is that happening? Seriously — it’s kind of bullshit, to be totally honest. I thought we created the whole foreign-film category to stop this shit from happening. . . . Did we learn nothing from Roberto Benigni?”
Rogen "delivered the opening monologue that Ricky Gervais should have at the Golden Globe Awards," said Washington Post blogger Jen Chaney.
"The Artist" went on to win four Spirit Awards, including Best Feature. The director and producer flew in from France during the show and said from the stage they were escorted by police from the airport to the tent in Santa Monica. Michelle Williams won best female lead for "My Week With Marilyn," Shailene Woodley won best supporting female for "The Descendants," Jean Dujardin won best male lead for "The Artist" and Christopher Plummer won best supporting male for "Beginners." List of winners with videos
Best acceptance speech: Michelle Williams.
Nice touch: Patricia Clarkson lifted a glass of red wine and led a toast from the stage to Bingham Ray, the indie film champion who died during this year's Sundance Film Festival.
Screen grab of Seth Rogen