Izzard to host the Independent Spirit Awards

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The Independent Culture

Following the Golden Globes' choice of a British comic as host, the Film Independent Spirit Awards has selected Eddie Izzard as Master of Ceremonies for its 25th annual event, scheduled for March 5 in Los Angeles.

Organizers selected the comedic actor for his "absurd and bizarre" qualities, his creativity, wit and daring which suit the irreverent style of the Spirit Awards, which champion filmmakers who embody independence and originality.

The annual show offers a contrasting alternative to the glitz of the Oscars over the same weekend. This year it moves to Friday night at 8:00 pm PST/11:00 pm EST from its long-standing spot on the Saturday afternoon before the Academy Awards. It will be televised in the US on IFC (Independent Film Channel).

Izzard, who appeared in Valkyrie, Ocean's Thirteen, and Across the Universe, is completing his "Big Intimacy Stripped Too" arena comedy tour of the US and Europe, heading to South Africa in February. Also known for his acclaimed cable series with Minnie Driver, The Riches, his upcoming films include Every Day, with Liev Schreiber, Helen Hunt and Carla Cugino, and the documentary Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story.

In the spirit of recognizing films that are not often considered against studio blockbusters up for the Oscars, the 2010 Best First Feature nominees are Crazy Heart, A Single Man, The Messenger, Easier With Practice, and Paranormal Activity. The Best Feature nominees are Precious, Sin Hombre, (500) Days of Summer, The Last Station, and Amreeka.

A Serious Man by Ethan and Joel Coen will be the recipient of The Robert Altman Award.