Oscar 2007: Javier Bardem Honorary Chair of Spirit Awards

February 13, 2008–Film Independent announced today that Javier Bardem will serve as Honorary Chair at the 2008 Spirit Awards held on February 23 in Santa Monica. As Honorary Chair, Bardem will be a presenter at the ceremony, which is being hosted this year by Rainn Wilson. A Spirit Award winner in 2001 for Best Male Lead for his role as Reinaldo Arenas in Julian Schnabels Before Night Falls, Bardem joins a list of previous Honorary Chairs that include Maggie Gyllenhaal and Terrence Howard, who served as co-Chairs in 2007, as well as Halle Berry, Tom Cruise, Benicio Del Toro, Jodie Foster, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and Naomi Watts.

Honorary Chairs are selected for their outstanding achievements in film as well as their commitment to Film Independents overall mission to celebrate the wide spectrum of independent filmmaking. The announcement was made today by Dawn Hudson, Executive Director of Film Independent.

Javier's passion as an artist who makes daring choices and his commitment to telling meaningful stories make him a wonderful representation of the filmmakers we champion at Film Independent,” said Hudson. “In a time when filmmakers must work harder than ever to find a platform for their films, we are thrilled to have such a diverse representation of presenters and supporters who aid us in putting the spotlight on the endeavors of this year's Spirit Awards nominees.”

Additional presenters for this years show include Alan Arkin, Jason Bateman, Kate Beckinsale, Maria Bello, Cate Blanchett, Zach Braff, Maggie Cheung, Patricia Clarkson, Bryan Cranston, Shareeka Epps, Jon Hamm, Josh Hartnett, Felicity Huffman, Allison Janney, Lisa Kudrow, Eva Mendes, Ellen Page, Ryan Reynolds, Keri Russell, Julian Schnabel, Kerry Washington, Dennis Quaid, John Waters, Forest Whitaker, Tom Wilkinson, and Steve Zahn.

Other highlights in this years ceremony include the Spirit Awards signature musical performances of nominated songs and films including, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (Once), Kimya Dawson of the Moldy Peaches (Juno), and Metal Skool.

The 2008 Film Independents Spirit Awards will take place in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica on Saturday, February 23, 2008. As previously announced, Rainn Wilson will serve as Master of Ceremonies. The show airs live beginning at 5:00pm ET and 2:00pm PT on IFC (Independent Film Channel) with an edited re-broadcast later that evening on AMC at 10:00pm ET. Special footage of the events red carpet festivities will begin streaming live exclusively on IFC.com at 11:30am PT.

Currently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the chilling Anton Chigurh, in “No Country for Old Men,” Bardem made history in 2001 when he was the first Spaniard to be nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actor for his portrayal of the Cuban poet and dissident Reinaldo Arenas in Julian Schnabels Before Night Falls, for which he was also named Best actor at the Venice Film festival as well as garnering Best Actor honors from the National Society of Film Critics, the Spirit Award and the National Board of Review, and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. In his current role, Bardem has already received numerous accolades including a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and NY Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor, as well as sharing with the rest of the cast, which also includes Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin and Woody Harrelson, in a Screen Actors Guild award for Best Ensemble.

In 2004 Bardem won another Best Actor Award from the Venice Film Festival (only one other actor has won the Best Actor Award twice in Venice) for his performance in Alejandro Amenabars film The Sea Inside, a role for which he also won a Goya Award and received a Golden Globe nomination. Bardems other film credits include Lunas Golden Balls, Leon De Aranoas Mondays in the Sun (Best Picture winner, San Sebastian Film Festival and Goya, Best Actor), Dias Contados (Best Actor, San Sebastian), Mouth to Mouth, Ecstasy, Almodovars Live Flesh, Dance with the Devil, Washington Wolves, Second Skin and John Malkovichs Dancer Upstairs.

Bardem was honored with the Montecito Award at this years Santa Barbara Film Festival and has also received a total of seven nominations and four wins for the Goya Award, which is the Spanish equivalent of an Oscar.

ABOUT THE SPIRIT AWARDS

This years ceremony is sponsored by Premier Sponsors IFC, Netflix, ELLE, AMC, and Piaget, as well as Principal Sponsors Acura, Pop Secret, Biolage Professional Hair Care and Heineken. The official spirits of the Spirit Awards will be provided by Stolichnaya Vodka and Mumm Champagne. Casa Del Mar, Oceana Santa Monica, Sheraton Delfina and Shutters on the Beach are the Official Host Hotels. Wire Image is the Official Photographer of Film Independent. American Airlines is the Official Airline Partner of Film Independent. ON 3 Productions is the Official Presenter Gift Lounge producer.

Film Independents Spirit Awards is a celebration honoring films made by filmmakers who embody independence and who dare to challenge the status quo. Televised in millions of homes and covered internationally by the press, the Spirit Awards has become the vanguard event in independent film, recognizing the achievements of independent filmmakers and promoting independent film to a wider audience.

Selected from more than 250 submissions, awards are given in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, Best Screenplay, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Film, and Best Documentary.

Spirit Awards winners are chosen by Film Independent members with voting privileges extended to IFP members. Voters attend nominee screenings and view nominated films online through a partnership with B-Side before selecting Spirit Awards winners. Additionally, voters who are Netflix subscribers can still access already released nominated films on DVD.

For more information, go to SpiritAwards.com.