The Independent Feature Project’s Gotham Awards are truly New York indie, just as Film Independent’s Indie Spirits are very Los Angeles. Thus Monday night’s awards benefited feature winner “Inside Llewyn Davis,” a portrait of the 60s New York folk scene from New York’s own Coen brothers, “Fruitvale Station,” which won best rising director and artist for Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan, respectively, and actor winners Brie Larson (“Short Term 12”) and Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”). (Livestream is here.)
Also getting an award season boost were tributees Forest Whitaker, who produced “Fruitvale Station” and starred in “The Butler,” the late James Gandolfini, whose supporting role in “Enough Said” is gaining traction, and Richard Linklater, whose collaborators Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy lauded him over a noisy room. That rattled Lee Daniels enough that he tried to quiet things down during his Whitaker tribute, saying, “Shut the fuck up.” As he talked about Whitaker, he thanked him for telling him to hold his anger: “Forest lives on a higher plane.”
“Forest Whitaker is very serious and zen, very quiet,” said Daniels, pointing out that he was the first –and last, so far –African American to win Best Actor at Cannes. “He auditioned for me with a sense of humility,” he said. “The deal was horrible, we had no money to do this film. I became angry at white people as I researched ‘The Butler.'” When Daniels heard titters, he snapped, “That shit ain’t funny.”
“The truth continues to expand, and I grow and grow and grow,” said a serene Whitaker during his spacey acceptance speech. “We’re all connected.”
Morgan Spurlock promoted his own movies as he presented best doc, to Josh Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing.”
Jared Leto accepted for McConaughey, who said “all right all right all right” over the iPhone to a big laugh.
Best Actress winner Brie Larson said, “This may be the only time I’m accepting an award,” and thanked her “Short Term 12” writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton.
“We miss you Bingham!” said director and one-time breakthrough winner Mira Nair, as she announced the winner of the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award, “Fruitvale Station”‘s Ryan Coogler, who thanked his star, Breakthrough Artist Jordan, who also thanked their mentor, Whitaker.
The awards are listed below.
Best Feature: “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Best Documentary: “The Act of Killing”
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award: Ryan Coogler, “Fruitvale Station”
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Best Actress: Brie Larson, “Short Term 12”
Breakthrough Actor: Michael B. Jordan, “Fruitvale Station”
Film Audience Award: “Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings,” Tadashi Nakamura
Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ Grant: Gita Pullapilly, director, “Beneath the Harvest Sky”