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Spirit Awards: Definitely NOT The Oscars

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Last night, about 15 miles west of the Kodak Theatre -- a veritable light year -- Taylor Dayne and Doogie Howser starred in film awards gala skits of their own.

Little Miss Sunshine took Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Male honors at Film Independent's Spirit Awards.

Half Nelson took consolation for losing Best Picture by capturing Best Male (Ryan Gosling) and Best Female Lead (Shareeka Epps) awards.

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And America Ferrera set the bar for Oscar presenters or winners who might want to use the podium to express themselves politically:

Taking the stage inside a tent on the Santa Monica beach, Ferrera was joined by actor Zach Braff, a star on NBC's Scrubs, to present the award for the “Best First Feature.” In the scripted exchange, Braff asked: “So do you think that you have any traits in common with the country that is your namesake?” Ferrera replied: “I guess I'm a free-spirited person and America's supposedly the 'land of the free,' right?” She then added, to loud applause from the left coast film industry audience: “Or at least we will be in 2008.” - Newsbusters

Gosling and Sunshine both have a shot at Oscar gold at tonight's Academy Awards. Which makes us wonder -- what exactly qualifies a film as "independent?"

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After all, these movies may have been produced largely on independently-raised funds, but nearly all of them were distributed by behemoths like Fox Searchlight and Sony Pictures Classics. On the other hand, I don't know how we failed to TiVo the reemergence of the diva (born Leslie Wunderman) who in 1988 begged us to "Tell It to My Heart." She mockingly portrayed a 45-year-old "Miss Sunshine," while Neil Patrick Harris -- once known as the first blogger ever -- played a crooning slinger in a skit based on American Gun (and, if it's fair to note innuendo in an awards show, provided metaphorical second thoughts on the breakout [of the closet] year for Hollywood B-listers, Harris included).

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Sarah Silverman hosted. Watch a clip of her Oscar bid -- "A Very Inconvenient Truth" -- and see the full list of Spirit Award winners after the jump.

AP photos by Reed Saxon