Along with Mr. Skin's annual listing of the Top Nude Scenes, the year truly begins winding its prolonged, masturbatory way to a close with the announcement of the Gotham Independent Film Awards, which officially kicks off the season of self-congratulation. As it has for 22 ceremonies now, a rogues' gallery of Gotham's most twisted, dastardly independent film producers met by moonlight to concoct their needlessly elaborate master plan to honor the year's best in independent film and be the instrument of the multiplex's liberation, daring someone to swoop in and stop them. And for the 22nd year, no one did, so they handed Moonrise Kingdom the Best Feature prize—an honor that has in the past gone to eventual Oscar nominees The Tree Of Life, Winter's Bone, and The Hurt Locker, suggesting Wes Anderson's film could possibly be on the same trajectory. None shall interfere!
Other winners included Beasts Of The Southern Wild's Benh Zeitlin winning Breakthrough Director; Emayatzy Corinealdi taking Breakthrough Actor/Actress for her role in The Middle Of Nowhere; Best Documentary going to How To Survive A Plague; Best Film Not Playing At A Theater Near You going to An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty; and Your Sister's Sister winning the Best Ensemble Award—which was something of a surprise, given that Silver Linings Playbook seemed the favorite. Still, that was nothing compared to Sundance darling Beasts Of The Southern Wild losing the Audience Award to Jared Leto's documentary Artifact, an upset that even Leto acknowledged didn't feel right. That the film concerns the making of a 30 Seconds To Mars album—and given the fact that voting for the Audience Award takes place entirely online, the natural habitat of 30 Seconds To Mars fans—leads us to only one conclusion: Artifact must be really, really good.