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Izzard Gears up to Host Spirit Awards

Eddie Izzard has a cure to awards-season blues amid the seemingly endless string of ceremonies leading up to the Academy Awards.

Izzard, the host of one of the season's final shows, Friday's Spirit Awards honoring independent film, suggests that Hollywood simply add more ceremonies.

The logic is akin to making children caught smoking light up an entire pack of cigarettes one after another, so they'll lose their taste for tobacco.

Photos: Independent Spirit Awards 2009
Spirit Awards Turn 25 in Style

"There's too many of these things. Either too many or not enough, I think. Maybe another 100. I think they should have compulsory ones, compulsory awards that everyone has to go to. They'll be going, 'Oh, another awards ceremony,' and people are really ticked off when they win another one," British comic Izzard said.

If that does not cure Hollywood's awards addiction, Izzard has a more extreme idea.

"I like the idea that people who win awards, they get killed," Izzard said. "And then people would be so good at not winning."

Izzard said he had never seen the Spirit Awards, whose 25th anniversary show airs live on IFC from downtown Los Angeles. He also had not seen any of the nominated films, though he was hoping to fit in a marathon session and watch as many as he could before the show.

Nominated for best feature film at the Spirit Awards are the Harlem drama "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," the romance "(500) Days of Summer," the Leo Tolstoy tale "The Last Station" and the immigrant stories "Amreeka" and "Sin Nombre."

"Precious" also is nominated for best picture at Sunday's Academy Awards, while Mo'Nique is the favorite to win for supporting actress at both the Spirit Awards and the Oscars.

Other Oscar nominees in the running at the Spirit Awards include best-actor front-runner Jeff Bridges for "Crazy Heart," "A Single Man" star Colin Firth, "The Messenger" co-star Woody Harrelson and "The Last Station'" co-stars Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer.

Since Izzard is clearly not a fan of awards shows, why is he hosting this one?

"Because it's independent. It's about the independence, which is what America was about, what 1776 was about," said Izzard.

The timing of the show also helps him throw the spotlight on "Eddie Izzard: Believe," a documentary that debuted Tuesday on DVD.

Izzard, 48, has forged an idiosyncratic career well-suited to the spirit of the independent-film awards. His credits range from standup comedy and stage drama to indie film and big studio productions to the TV show "The Riches," in which he played the patriarch of a traveling clan of grifters that assumes other families' identities.

He co-starred in the heist romps "Ocean's Twelve" and "Ocean's Thirteen," the Beatles musical "Across the Universe" and Tom Cruise's World War II saga "Valkyrie."

Izzard's standup routines are verbal explosions in which Izzard often has worn dresses. People often assume he is gay, which he says he is not. Izzard calls himself a "straight transvestite" or a "male lesbian," and he is quick to correct people who say he wears women's clothes.

"They're not women's clothes. They're my clothes, because I bought them," Izzard said. "This girly thing, I have that. Straight transvestite, I have that. I don't know why I have it, but I have it, and that's just genetically inbuilt. I have girlydom there. So I have all this boy stuff and extra girl stuff, and it's just a gift from God, who doesn't exist. So it's a genetic handout in the card game of life."

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