Independent Spirit Awards Pave the Way to Oscar Night

Feb 26, 2011 8:19pm

Hollywood's biggest party of the year happens tomorrow, but that doesn't mean the town's A-list is laying low today. 

Oscar nominees James Franco, Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman and more stars hit the beach for the Independent Spirit Awards Saturday afternoon, which honors the best in indie film. "Black Swan" twirled away with the ceremony's top prize, best picture, while Portman and director Darren Aaronofsky picked up trophies for best actress and best director.

Best actor went to "127 Hours" star Franco, aka the man with a million jobs — he'll helm the Oscars tomorrow night with Anne Hathaway.

"I just went through film school at NYU and finished my thesis film," he said, "so independent film means a lot to me."

Franco's also up for best actor at the Oscars. (And he just did a cameo on "General Hospital," and his exhibitation at Los Angeles' Gagosian Gallery opened last night — does this guy ever sleep?) Emceeing the Independent Spirit Awards, "Community" star Joe McHale poked fun at the man of the hour, saying, "Someone is giving exposure to the criminally under-used James Franco."

There's more exposure to come for stars of all sorts Saturday night at the pre-Oscar parties popping up across L.A. Rally, Hollywood: just a few more red carpets before the big one.

– Sheila Marikar

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