The told-in-reverse film noir ''Memento'' may have been snubbed in Oscar's major categories, but it triumphed at the IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards, held Saturday night (March 23) in Santa Monica to honor the best in indie films. ''Memento'' won Best Feature, and its writer/director Christopher Nolan took home Best Director and Best Screenplay prizes, with ''Matrix'' veteran Carrie-Anne Moss grabbing Best Supporting Female for her ''Memento'' role.
The domestic melodrama ''In the Bedroom,'' nominated for Best Picture in the Oscars, took home three Spirit Awards: Best First Feature (the movie marked Todd Field's directorial debut), Best Female Lead for Sissy Spacek (nominated for a Best Actress Oscar), and Male Lead for Tom Wilkinson (nominated for Best Actor). The critically acclaimed comedy ''Ghost World,'' meanwhile, won Best Male Lead for star Steve Buscemi, and Best First Screenplay for writers Terry Zwigoff (also the film's director) and Daniel Clowes (who also wrote the graphic novel that inspired the movie).
Though the awards ceremony, broadcast on Bravo and IFC, had its share of star power (Nicole Kidman, Christina Ricci, Benjamin Bratt, Heather Graham), the event was in little danger of being confused with the Academy Awards. It was held not in an elegantly appointed Hollywood theater, but in a temporary beachfront tent in Santa Monica, and Beastie Boys DJ Mix Master Mike, not Sting, provided the music.
The ceremony included numerous jibes at the Hollywood mainstream. ''Without you, we'd have only the entertainment industry -- wretched, predictable, spineless and driven by one goal: return on investment,'' IFP/West executive director Dawn Hudson told the audience. ''But with you, we have American movies with heart and vision and spirit.'' The night's other winners included ''Amélie'' for Best Foreign Film, and the drama ''Jackpot'' for the John Cassavetes Award (honoring the best movie made for under $500,000).
Here is the complete list of winners.
Female Lead Sissy Spacek, ''In the Bedroom ''
Male Lead Tom Wilkinson, ''In the Bedroom''
Supporting Female Carrie-Anne Moss, ''Memento''
Supporting Male Steve Buscemi, ''Ghost World''
Debut Performance Paul Franklin Dano, ''L.I.E.''
Director Christopher Nolan, ''Memento''
Screenplay Christopher Nolan, ''Memento''
First Feature Todd Field, ''In the Bedroom''
First Screenplay Daniel Clowes & Terry Zwigoff, ''Ghost World''
John Cassavetes Award (best feature under $500,000) ''Jackpot''
Cinematography Peter Deming, ''Mulholland Drive''
Foreign Film ''Amélie''
Documentary ''Dogtown and Z-Boys''
Motorola Producers Award René Bastian and Linda Moran, ''Martin and Orloff'' and ''L.I.E.''
Turning Leaf Coastal Reserve Someone to Watch Award Debra Eisenstadt, ''Daydream Believer''
DirecTV/IFC Truer Than Fiction Award (documentary filmmaker) Monteith McCollum, ''Hybrid''