2016 Gotham Awards Winners
Now in its 26th year, the annual Gotham Independent Film Awards were held on Tuesday night in New York City, honouring the best of independent filmmaking in America and abroad. While the event does not get as much attention from film fans as the Academy Awards or the Golden Globes, it does represent a significant touchstone in the annual awards race, and in the past, recognize films and give them the necessary momentum to be carried throughout the rest of the season.
This year appears to be no different on that standpoint, as Barry Jenkins' film Moonlight, a tender triptych tale a young black man's coming of age in Miami during the war on drugs era, claimed the night's top prize of Best Feature, along with winning Best Screenplay, the Audience Award and the Special Jury Award for its ensemble. Moonlight has captivated audiences since premiering at the Telluride Film Festival in September, and has gained monumental support from audiences since opening theatrically in October. While the film stands to do reasonably well in other awards shows focusing mainly on indie filmmaking, the question still stands if the AMPAS voters will consider it for their top prizes in the new year.
Elsewhere, major prizes were handed out to a slew of strong performances that have been on the minds of many filmgoers over the past year. Casey Affleck was honoured with a Best Actor trophy for his work in Kenneth Lonergan's masterfully grief-driven Manchester by the Sea, and Isabelle Huppert took home Best Actress for her role in Paul Verhoeven's pitch-black revenge story Elle. The Breakthrough Actor award went to the young Anya Taylor-Joy for Robert Eggers' The Witch, an interesting distinction for being a dark genre film which still has a chance to get some Academy recognition if distributor A24 plays its cards right.
Krisha, another A24 release, was honored with the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director for its filmmaker Trey Edward Schults, in an interesting (but rightfully earned) decision. In the past, the award has been given to such directors as Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) and Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), so it will be interesting to see where Schults career goes from here.
Elsewhere, the Best Documentary award was bestowed to Ezra Edelman's near eight-hour opus O.J.: Made in America, which despite its gargantuan length, seems poised to continue to dominate throughout the season for providing an unshakable portrait of its titular subject.
The full list of winners can be found below:
Best Feature: Moonlight
Best Documentary: O.J.: Made in America
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award: Trey Edward Shults – Krisha
Best Screenplay: Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney – Moonlight
Best Actor: Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Best Actress: Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Breakthrough Actor: Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch
Audience Award: Moonlight
Special Jury Award – Ensemble Performance: Moonlight