Samuel L. Jackson named Spirit host

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Actor Samuel L. Jackson will host the Independent Film project's upcoming 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards, organizers announced Tuesday.

Jackson hosted the awards ceremonies in 1996 and 1997.


"The Spirit Awards have always been a cool, laid-back celebration and a great way of getting actors together who embrace the independent film genre," Jackson said.

"Sideways," a road trip comedy by writer-director Alexander Payne, leads the field with six Spirit Award nominations -- including Best Feature and acting nominations for Paul Giamatti, Thomas Hayden Church and Virginia Madsen, a directing nomination for Payne and a screenplay nomination for Payne and his writing partner Jim Taylor.

"Maria Full of Grace," a drama about a young woman who agrees to smuggle drugs as a way of escaping from Colombia to the United States, has five nominations. Four films -- including the biography of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey -- have four nominations each.

The IFP Independent Spirit Awards will be presented Feb. 26 in Santa Monica, Calif.


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