The 19th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards held last night at Cipriani Wall Street in downtown Manhattan brought out stars of the silver screen to honor the very best in independent film. The event was hosted by stand-up comedian Kumail Nanjani who kicked off the evening by reassuring the audience that he had never heard of himself either so he had to Google his own name which he misspelled! And the rocking tunes were provided by DJ Jauretzi Saizarbitoria who was perched high above the Stella Artois and Alize sipping crowd.
Among those honored was Breakthrough Director Robert Siegel for Lymelight and he was given his award by Brooklyn native Rosie Perez who thanked the IFP for “putting me first so I can drink wine for the rest of the night!” In fact, it was really fun to see many of the stars at ease and having fun with one another. Respected director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father, Brothers) presented Natalie Portman with a special tribute and jokingly introduced her by saying he didn’t know who she was dating, but it was often “actors and other intellectuals.” Another ribbing tribute came from one of the very best-Meryl Streep-who proclaimed “he made me the perfect martini every night while we worked together” before she bestowed Stanley Tucci with his special tribute. Also honored were Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner (Working Title Films) for producing some of the most notable films in recent history including Bridget Jones Diary, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Dead Man Walking, and Fargo-which was directed by the Coen Brothers who also introduced this tribute. And speaking of the Coen Brothers, one of their films, A Serious Man, was nominated for Best Ensemble Peformance and Best Feature and stars one of my friends from college at USC, Sari Lennick. Keep an eye on this one-not only is she hilariously funny, but she has some serious acting chops and has been named in Ioncinema’s Top 10 New Faces and Voices. No doubt you will be seeing much more of her very soon and don’t say I didn’t tell you she was awesome!
Other celebrities and notables in attendance were a solo Ryan Reynolds who sat with SNL funny girl Kristen Wiig and funny boy Bill Hader, the Executive Director of the Creative Coalition Robin Bronk who mingled with other guests, presenter Brooke Shields who was chatting with a friend as she exited the bathroom, 30 Rock and Lymelight star Alec Baldwin, Sam Rockwell and Patricia Clarkson who made each other laugh on stage, Willem Dafoe who presented director Kathryn Bigelow (Blue Steel, Point Break, and last night’s winner for Best Feature-The Hurt Locker) with a tribute, and executive producer of the nominated documentary Good Hair-Chris Rock who waited along side his wife Malaak Compton-Rock for their car at the end of the night.
Here is the list of winners from last night’s Gotham Independent Film Awards:
The Hurt Locker Kathryn Bigelow, director; Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro, producers (Summit Entertainment)
Food, Inc. Robert Kenner, director; Robert Kenner, Elise Pearlstein, producers (Magnolia Pictures)
Best Ensemble Performance
The Hurt Locker
Robert Siegel for Big Fan
Catalina Saavedra in The Maid
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You
You Won’t Miss Me; Ry Russo-Young, director/producer