Welcome back, Awards Season, my old friend. It’s time to stop watching movies for pleasure, and start watching them for the sake of being able to aptly offer your opinion at awards shows. The Gotham Independent Film Awards celebrated its 24th annual awards show at Cipriani Wall Street in NYC this past Monday, December 1st. The Gotham Awards are but one event under the larger umbrella of the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), which nurtures the artistry of storytelling in independent film productions. Other IFP sponsored events include Independent Film Week, Filmmaker Magazine, and the Made in NY Media Center by IFP incubator space.
Stars seemed to show up by the busload for the event. The red carpet looked like a commemorative gathering of some of the most beloved film stars: Meryl Streep, Steve Carell, Jon Hamm, Ethan Hawke, Jake Gyllenhaal, and a slew of others who all graced the red carpet with their presence. Some presented, others were nominated, but all showed up to lend their support and enjoy an evening. Not that you can blame them—the whole city seemed to be in agreement. Among some of the sponsors were The New York Times, Calvin Klein Euphoria, Bloomberg, Maestro Dobel Tequila, and Line 39.
Uma Thurman hosted, but got plenty of help presenting from her fellow actors and actresses, including Scarlett Johannsson, Will Arnett, and Amy Schumer. While the show has but seven prestigious honors to bestow, it managed to cast a wide net of appreciation across the directors, producers, writers, and actors alike.
Oscar-hopefuls Birdman and Boyhood predictably battled it out for top spot, but came to something close to a draw. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) walked away with Best Feature, but Boyhood got quite the compensatory honor of winning the Gotham Independent Film Audience Award. Some of the other big winners from the event included Michael Keaton for Best Actor in Birdman, Julianne Moore for Best Actress in Still Alice, and the Edward Snowden picture Citizenfour for Best Documentary. And while Foxcatcher didn’t quite fit the bill for any of the night’s awards, the film certainly didn’t go unappreciated. Director Bennett Miller was the recipient of a career tribute, and Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo wooed audience’s hearts straight to a special jury prize. And let’s not forget when Amy Schumer presented Tilda Swinton with a career tribute by reminding everyone that she “can scare the shit out of you, break your heart, and give you a boner all at the same time.”
All in all, a lovely dip of the toe into the ocean that is awards season. Bring it on.
Written by Ryley Johnson