Indie Jones

If it's any consolation to Kevin Bacon, the backers of the Phoenix Film Festival believe he's worthy of recognition, even if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doesn't.

Bacon's taken the Oscars snub -- the Academy ignoring his leading-role performance in The Woodsman, one most critics said was the best of Bacon's long and eclectic career -- relatively well, he tells New Times. After all, if the Academy's members haven't even seen the film, in which Bacon plays a convicted pedophile going home after 12 years in prison, how can he blame them?

"I think we underestimated, I underestimated, how difficult a subject this was going to be for people," Bacon says in a phone interview from Los Angeles. "We did as much as we could, since this was a low-budget film, to get screeners out to all the right people, the executives and the committees, and the people that count stuff. And still, to this day, I have folks from the Screen Actors Guild, other actors who come up to me on the street and say, 'Hey, I heard the movie was great, but I haven't seen it.'

"That's what's disappointing."

The Woodsman is on a par with Bacon's career of late: He's exhibited a penchant for low-budget indie flicks, playing strong leading and supporting characters in stories that push the envelope -- blockbusters be damned -- a major reason Phoenix Film Festival organizers are presenting Bacon (as well as his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, and Lions Gate president Tom Ortenberg) with the Copper Wing Tribute Award.

Bacon receives his award on Friday, April 8, at the festival's headquarters, Harkins Scottsdale 101, before Loverboy, Bacon's directorial debut in which Sedgwick plays a mother a little too devoted (read: obsessive) to raising her child, played by Dominic Scott Kay, is screened.

While the film premièred with mostly positive reviews at Sundance in January, it's another film Bacon doesn't expect to get much play in terms of the number of screens it shows on nationally. So he's taken it on the road, including Phoenix.

"I'll tell you, man, there are a lot more butterflies as a director than there are as an actor. It doesn't matter if it's Sundance or Phoenix," he says. "No matter what, though, we're proud of it. Kyra's proud of it, I am. These are the kind of movies I'm gonna try to keep making, awards or not.

"I don't make movies for these awards committees," Bacon adds. "I make them for the people who get a baby-sitter, pay their fucking $10, and sit down with a bunch of other people and eat some popcorn."

Bacon might not be bothered by the lack of recognition -- save for one supporting-actor nod in 1995 from the Golden Globes for his role in The River Wild -- but Ortenberg, who will be presented with his Copper Wing by actor/comedian Tom Arnold the festival's opening night, Thursday, April 7, is pretty miffed.

"How these committees can overlook Kevin's work just boggles me," says Ortenberg. "But I think in a way it's a tribute to the fact that you can't pigeonhole Kevin. Each role is better and different from the last."

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Joe Watson