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Robert Siegel and Patton Oswalt Are Big Fans of the Independent Spirit Awards

Siegel, Oswalt

The dark, sports-obsessive drama Big Fan was up for the Independent Spirits’ John Cassavetes Award (for best first feature made for under $500,000) on Friday night. It lost to Humpday, the hilarious and poignant comedy from Lynn Shelton, but Big Fan writer-director Robert Siegel didn't let that stop him from having a blast at the L.A. ceremony. Perhaps it was the free food and drink.

“We paid for the movie out of our own checking account and we're close to broke,” said Siegel, whose film, while critically lauded, only grossed $233,908 in limited release. “We were hoping to buy an apartment off of Big Fan … there was an apartment on 20th Street between Broadway and Park across from Gramercy Tavern. It still haunts my wife. We had this notion that we would sell Big Fan for millions of dollars [at Sundance], come home, buy that apartment, and have a second child. Right now our family planning has been affected by the lack of financial success of the film … I'm out here trying to scrounge up more work so hopefully I can knock my wife up.”

His Big Fan star, Patton Oswalt, was impressed by the casual vibe of the ceremony, as compared to the high-pressure Oscars to come. Said Oswalt, “This is like when you're in high school and they have the prom and then the weird kind of Goth, poetry, Dungeons & Dragons kids, they get together and throw their own thing where they sniff ether and listen to This Mortal Coil albums. That's what this is. This is the drunken, sloppy anti-prom.”

Oswalt will soon be heading to New York to star in the Broadway revival of Terrence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart, with Megan Mullally and Lili Taylor. His first order of business: a diet. “I am in a towel for like a whole act,” he says. “I've gotta lose some weight. My torso looks like Walter Matthau's face.”

Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for IFP, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for IFP