Easily the emotional climax of Friday night's 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards, Roger Ebert received a standing ovation from the star studded crowd. The rousing applause came just before the award he and his wife Chaz sponsored was introduced.

Presenter Matt Dillon called Ebert "a tireless champion of independent film."

After a montage of his most memorably biting criticisms, the famed critic slowly stood up at his table as industry heavyweights and fans -- including Helen Mirren, Pierce Brosnan, Jeff Bridges and Peter Sarsgaard -- got to their feet. With a huge smile on his face, Ebert soaked in the respectful applause of the crowd.