At the 31st Gotham Awards, the annual New York indie cinema festival that serves as a raucous beginning to Oscar season, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Elena Ferrante adaption “The Lost Daughter” received four Gotham Awards, including best feature picture.
“The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain,” a drama based on the 2011 police killing in White Plains, New York, won breakout director and best script, while actor Olivia Colman split the prize for outstanding lead performance with Frankie Faison. “The Lost Daughter,” a Netflix film, will be released in cinemas on December 17th.
The Gothams, as one of the first stops on the long road to the Oscars, were the first major attempt since the epidemic began to summon all of the season’s typical glamor and grandeur on Monday evening. Kristen Stewart, Tessa Thompson, and Dakota Johnson were among the celebrities that walked the red carpet.
Attendees were forced to provide evidence of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test inside the packed banquet venue. Last year’s Gotham Awards (where “Nomadland” took home the top prize) were hosted remotely, with victors collecting their prizes through Zoom and an online poker platform that digitally seated visitors at tables.
Despite the recent discovery of the omicron strain spooking a film industry still recovering from the epidemic, the Gothams returned to usual this year — even if they tweaked certain customs.
The Gothams were shown without gendered acting categories for the first time. While the season’s biggest award ceremonies — the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys — haven’t yet made the switch, the Gothams are among a growing number of organizations that have done so, including the Grammys and the MTV Film and TV Awards.
This was praised many times throughout Monday night’s event. Ethan Hawke, a co-winner for his role in the series “The Good Lord Bird,” admitted that he had no idea what the other categories meant in the first place.
“True talent shines through the divides created to divide us,” said Asia Kate Dillon, a presenter who identifies as nonbinary on the show “Billions.”
At the Gothams, which was originally a more focused celebration of independent film, other lines started to blur. Netflix’s “Squid Game,” a pop-culture smash that has been watched for more than 2 billion hours, was one of the series winners. Speeches at the Gothams have frequently lauded indie film’s hard labor and sometimes unseen benefits.
“CODA,” the acclaimed coming-of-age drama about a deaf family’s hearing daughter, earned multiple honors. Troy Kotsur, the experienced deaf actor who plays the film’s fisherman father, took up the award for best supporting actor. Emilia Jones, who plays the daughter, was named best newcomer.
Following an award-winning premiere at a virtual Sundance Film Festival, the film’s chances of winning an Oscar looked to dwindle after a quiet streaming launch on Apple TV+ in August. The Gothams, on the other hand, gave “CODA” a lift.
“First and foremost, I’m extremely handless right now,” Kotsur remarked, shaking his hands in sign language.
The Gothams’ nominees and winners (save for best film) are determined by juries. They chose multiple winners in a few categories, such as outstanding lead performance, when Colman and Faison both won from a pool of ten nominations.
Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s personal epic “Drive My Car” won best foreign picture, while Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s animated feature “Flee,” portraying the life of an Afghan migrant, won best documentary.
However, the Gothams also present a number of homage prizes, some of which are given to a select group of directors and actors who are expected to have prominent roles during awards season. Jane Campion, director of “The Power of the Dog,” Stewart for her portrayal of Princess Diana in “Spencer,” Peter Dinklage for “Cyrano,” and the cast of Jeymes Samuel’s Black Western “The Harder They Fall” were among those honored.
The introductions to the tributes are sometimes as spectacular as the acceptance speeches. Along with Julianne Moore, director Pablo Larrain of “Spencer” told Stewart that she transformed his life and dubbed her “a wonder of film.”
Stewart stated, “I feel so visible to him.”
Dinklage, who was introduced with zeal by Hawke (“If he were British, he’d be a knight”), took a step back and gave his speech “off-podium” since the lectern was too high for him.
“Not me,” he responded, referring to the podium. “Although…”
However, Dinklage, who plays Cyrano de Bergerac in the film, waxed lyrical about his career in the movies and his affection for “you tribe of weirdos.”
“It’s not precious when it’s excellent,” Dinklage remarked of acting. “It’s a job.”