The Gotham Awards are some of the first prizes handed out in the winter movie awards jaunt, and typically honor the smaller, independent films that don't necessarily get the attention of the Oscars, or even the critic's groups. Last night they awarded two of their top prizes to just that kind of indie, Winter's Bone, Debra Granik's grim drama about a young woman hunting for her father in the meth-addled backwoods of Missouri. The film took home the Best Feature and Best Ensemble Performance statues, the only film to win two prizes-- and definitely the only winner with a shot at making it in for Best Picture at the Oscars.
Even though Winter's Bone has gotten plenty of buzz since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January-- including winning several of the top prizes there-- it had some stiff competition at the Gothams, including fellow Sundance successes The Kids Are All Right and Blue Valentine and the hugely buzzed Darren Aronofsky film Black Swan (which had the added benefit of a New York setting). There was another upset in the Documentary category as well, where Laura Poitras's The Oath beat out heavy hitter and Oscar favorite Inside Job. The Academy, in their infinite wisdom, didn't even shortlist The Oath for their own documentary category, so don't worry about seeing that showdown again at any point.
The full list of winners is below. Independent film fans now have a few more titles to look out for in the crowded fall movie season.
The 20th Anniversary Gotham Independent Film Award™ Recipients: Best Feature presented by actors Steve Buscemi and Melissa Leo.
Directed by Debra Granik; Produced by Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin
Released by Roadside Attractions
The Best Feature Jury included: actors Ethan Hawke and Parker Posey; producer Christine Vachon; director Melvin Van Peebles and editor Tricia Cooke.
Best Documentary presented by actor Sam Rockwell and documentarian Barbara Kopple
Directed and produced by Laura Poitras
Released by Zeitgeist Films and American Documentary/POV
The Best Documentary Jury included: actor Alec Baldwin; composer Terence Blanchard; documentarians Barbara Kopple and Robert Kenner and editor Mary Lampson
Breakthrough Director Award presented by actors Julianna Margulies and Paul Rudd
Writer and director, HOLY ROLLERS
Released by First Independent Pictures
The Breakthrough Director Jury included: actor Zooey Deschanel; cinematographer Maryse Alberti; composer Carter Burwell; producer Frida Torresblanco.
Breakthrough Actor Award presented by actors Michelle Williams and Jesse Eisenberg
Actor, DADDY LONGLEGS
Released by IFC Films
The Breakthrough Actor Jury included: actor Josh Brolin; filmmakers David Gordon Green and Peter Sollett; actress Amber Tamblyn; and producer Monty Ross.
Best Ensemble Performance Award presented by actors Ethan Hawke and Ethan Coen.
Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Lauren Sweetser, Garret Dillahunt, Devin Breznahan
in WINTER’S BONE
Released by Roadside Attractions
The Best Ensemble Performance Jury included: actors Anthony Mackie and Lili Taylor; producer Lisa Cortes; writer Larry Gross; and filmmaker Miguel Arteta.
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You Award presented by actor Rosie Perez and RBC CEO, Mark Standish
Mike Ott, director; Frederick Thornton, Laura Ragsdale, Sierra Leoni, producers
The recipient of The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You™ award was determined by the editors of Filmmaker magazine, a publication of IFP, and a curator from The Museum of Modern Art.
The Festival Genius Audience Award presented by actors Anthony Mackie and Leighton Meester
WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN”
Davis Guggenheim, director; Leslie Chilcott and Michael Brietal, producers
The Festival Genius Audience Award was voted on line by filmgoers who love movies.