November 30, 2006 10:17 AM
A hard look at the Gotham Awards from Stu VanAirsdale at The Reeler:
If, as IFP executive director Michelle Byrd has been at pains to stress of late, "independence" is more abstraction than brand name, awards like Babel's and Norton's and Kate Winslet's likely confused the relative values of each quantity beyond calculation. Such ambiguity does more than make the room safe for majors, however; it imposes an authority vacuum that makes the organization's primary fundraiser an essentially irrelevant event. Worse yet, beyond the tide of unlikely red-carpet walkers (except that the carpet was blue, natch) like Bahrani and So Yong Kim, the Gothams "experience" itself isn't even that interesting. As more than one attendee asked me during and after the show, who can you root for in a rigged game? Half Nelson won three prizes not only because it's excellent, but because it had to -- for the same reason Babel couldn't leave empty-handed. IFP cornered itself into the unadulterated disgrace of stiffing the Shortbus cast, which staked its careers on a movie (a New York movie, by the way) that literally had no precedent before sitting and watching the derivative, deep-pocketed globe-trotter Gonzalez Inarritu walk away with their rightful recognition. What's left after that but a shrug and a yawn?