Good for a chilly day at the beach but little else, The Independent Spirit Awards are meaningless and forgettable. The Robert Altman Award is a sneaky, backhanded way to exclude a bunch of actors from the competitive categories.
The East coast equivalent of the Independent Spirit Awards, The Gotham Awards are a little more mainstream, a little more accessible and definitely more satisfying. The awards and nominations make sense. Unlike their West Coast cousins, they are not always desperately straining for credibility.