Casually dressed stars (including nominee Michelle Williams debuting a pixie cut) and unknown actors walked the ‘blue carpet’ together at the Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, an event meant to honor films outside the mainstream. But the big winner of the night was far from obscure: crossover hit Little Miss Sunshine (which went on to win Oscars) garnered four awards, including Best Feature, Best Director, Best First Screenplay, and Best Supporting Male (Alan Arkin). Returning host Sarah Silverman peppered the show with her irreverent humor as stars like Frances McDormand (Best Supporting Female for Friends With Money) picked up their awards. Best Male Lead went to Ryan Gosling for his portrayal of an urban teacher with a drug problem in Half Nelson, the night’s other big winner (and also an Oscar nominee). Gosling’s co-star, newcomer Shareeka Epps won Best Female Lead. An honorary Spirit Award went to the late director Robert Altman for his career in independent filmmaking.

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