Actress Melissa Leo arrives at the 24th annual Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California on February 21, 2009. Mickey Rourke and "The Wrestler" won top honors at the Spirit Awards here Saturday, the annual eve-of-Oscars salute to the best of independent cinema. (UPI Photo/Jim Ruymen) | License Photo
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 21 (UPI) -- "The Wrestler" was named best feature at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, Calif., Saturday night.
The movie about a former pro wrestling icon who can't let go of his glory days also earned the award for cinematography, while star Mickey Rourke picked up the trophy for best lead actor.
"I went out and found the best actors I could find -- Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood and the legend Mickey Rourke," director Darren Aronofsky told the audience as he collected the evening's top prize. "And I really got to sit back and watch them work and it was a real pleasure every day to go to work. This is for my actors."
As he accepted his award, Rourke gave a shout out to Eric Roberts, calling him the best actor he'd ever worked with and imploring filmmakers to give him a job since, "Like I got, he deserves a second chance."
Rourke -- who is nominated for a best actor Oscar -- dedicated his Spirit Award to his dog, who died this week at age 18.
"Loki, this is for you baby," he said.
Melissa Leo won the award for best lead actress for her work in "Frozen River."
"Whoo!" Leo said. "You are my people. You know you are my people. Thank you so much Film Independent."
Penelope Cruz earned the best supporting actress honor for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," James Franco won the best supporting actor gong for "Milk" and Tom McCarthy won the award for best director for heading up "The Visitor."