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'Translation' Sweeps Indie Oscars

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Sofia Coppola’s quirky travelogue “Lost in Translation” swept the Independent Spirit Awards Saturday, winning best feature, best direction and screenplay (both by Coppola), and best male lead, Bill Murray.

Charlize Theron — who, like Murray, is also up for an Oscar — was named best female lead for her portrayal of the real-life serial killer and prostitute Aileen Wournos in director Patty Jenkins’s “Monster,” which also was named best first feature.

Speaking separately to the press after their Saturday victories, Theron and Murray both said they were “not organized enough” to be ready for Sunday’s big Oscar show.

“I have a dress, I have a date,” said Theron, referring to her boyfriend, actor Stuart Townsend. “I’m going to wake up, have my makeup and hair done ….” After that, she shrugged.

As for playing Wournos, Theron may have been under heavy makeup (she also gained 30 lbs. for the role), but director Jerkins said that the actress was so gifted that she didn’t need props. Said Theron: “The good thing was, Aileen wasn’t very subtle, so there was a lot of room that she gave me … She let everyone know when she was in the room.”

Murray, who plays a lethargic but observant visitor to Tokyo in his movie, already has an observation of the Oscars. “I just know it’s going to be a long time in a monkey suit,” he said, “a long time in a car, a long time in a theater, a long time in a banquette eating so-so food, then a long time in a car again. I’ll have a lot of time to digest what’s going on.”

As for having an acceptance speech for Sunday, Murray said, “Yeah. I have one. I have my losing speech prepared.” Asked how’s he’s dealing with the current rush of recognition and adulation, he replied, somewhat sarcastically: “That’s such a big question, and my answer won’t do it justice. You know, I think there’s a place for false modesty, so I’ll just drag it out right now.”

Meanwhile, he said, he and his “Lost” team are viewing the Spirit Awards as “the last day before the grades come out. We’re feeling pretty good.”

Other multiple winners at Saturday’s ceremony — which took place over lunch under a large white tent alongside Santa Monica beach, with cult filmmaker John Waters hosting and Tom Cruise serving as honorary chairperson — were “The Station Agent” for first screenplay (by writer-director Thomas McCarthy), the John Cassavettes Award (the best feature shot for under $500,000) and the Producers Award; and “In America,” which won for supporting actor Djimon Hounsou and its cinematography.

Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo was named best supporting female for “House of Sand and Fog,” though she is expected to receive stiff competition from “Cold Mountain”‘s Renee Zellweger come Sunday night. The Iranian-born Aghdashloo graciously declined to comment on the race, other than to reiterate what an honor it is to be nominated — and to say that ABC has hired her as the head of the American Secret Service in a new series, to be called “Secret Service.”

“How’s that for an independent spirit?” she said of the network’s casting decision.

Nikki Reed gave the best debut performance in “Thirteen,” while New Zealand’s “Whale Rider,” was named best foreign film. Its young star, Keisha Castle-Hughes, who is up for a Best Actress Oscar, told the press that she only attended the Independent Spirit Awards “as a diversion” until Sunday.

“I’ve tried not to talk about tomorrow night,” said the teen, adding, “I was told to take some food, because you have to sit there forever. I wanted to take a burger, but my Mom wouldn’t let me.” She’ll probably settle for nuts and raisins, she said.

Reed, on the other hand, said of the Oscars: “I’m not going to any parties. I’m going to stay home and eat pizza.”