Politely-tolerating-awards season officially began last night with the Gotham Awards, presented each year to independent filmmakers by a group of terrified citizens—citizens who are such constant pawns in the schemes of costumed madmen, they can’t wait until after December. (Who knows what lurks in the darkness?!) And this year, Gotham decided that 12 Years A Slave may be the Best Feature winner it deserves, but not the one it needs right now.
That would be the Coen Bros.’ Inside Llewyn Davis, which won over the New York-based committee by playing right into affections for their city’s own depressing history. In fact, Steve McQueen’s widely touted Oscar favorite—despite having the most overall nominations—was completely shut out, making way for other wins that likely won’t do much to help predict the big game in March, other than shoring up probable nominees like Best Actor winner Matthew McConaughey and Best Documentary winner The Act Of Killing.
Although Llewyn Davis took top prize, it was arguably Fruitvale Station’s night, as the film received Breakthrough Actor for Michael B. Jordan and Breakthrough Director for Ryan Coogler—the most awards of any movie, in a night of limited honorees. Though it was also sort of Lee Daniels’ night, as he presided over a tribute to Forest Whitaker by first telling the room to “shut the fuck up,” then—after a comment on how his Butler research made him “angry at white people” was greeted with nervous laughter—snapped, “That shit ain’t funny.” Also, Matthew McConaughey accepted his award over an iPhone held up by Jared Leto. You definitely won’t see any of that at the Oscars.
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Act Of Killing
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Brie Larson, Short Term 12
Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station
Ryan Coogler, 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