Feb. 24, 2007 | 11:00 PM EST

Ryan Gosling, Sunshine Win Big Indie Love

Ryan Gosling at the Independent Spirit Awards Photo by: Tony Barson / Wireimage
Ryan Gosling, Sunshine Win Big Indie Love | Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling may have won Saturday at the Independent Spirit Awards, where Little Miss Sunshine also shone brightly, but he's betting on Forest Whitaker to take home the Oscar.

"I've got a lot of money riding on Forest," Gosling tells PEOPLE of his fellow Academy Award nominee, who's up for The Last King of Scotland. "I know he's going to pull through for me."

Gosling, who got the surprise Independent Spirit Award for best actor for Half Nelson, says he'll be accompanied by his mother and sister when he heads to the Kodak Theatre on Sunday, as girlfriend Rachel McAdams will be spending Oscar night working.

His Half Nelson costar, Shareeka Epps, who plays his student protégée, was also named best actress at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Little Miss Sunshine, the dysfunctional family road picture, was the big winner with four prizes.

"If my mother was here today, if she was alive, she would think: 'Is he going to find something to fall back on, like a teacher's license?' " best supporting actor winner Alan Arkin, 72, joked during his victory speech for Sunshine.

The movie also was honored as best picture and for its screenplay (by first-timer Michael Arndt) and for its directors, the husband-and-wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.

Frances McDormand, who plays a fashion designer done in by newfound wealth, was named best supporting actress for Friends with Money.

The casual ceremony, hosted by Sarah Silverman, was held under a tent next to a Santa Monica beach. One of the in-jokes came in a quip from presenter Illeana Douglas, who said that after the show there would be a drawing "to see who'll be in charge of next year's Truman Capote movie."

Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Spirit Award and the Oscar last year for Capote' the new James Bond, Daniel Craig, was nominated for a Spirit Award for his supporting role in this year's Capote bio Infamous, but lost to Arkin.

More on the Awards: Red carpet photos of Heath & Michelle, Josh Hartnett, America Ferrera and more!