Gotham Awards: The Winners' Reactions

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Meryl Streep and Steve Carell

Steve Carell, Ellar Coltrane, Julianne Moore, Michael Keaton and more reflected on their wins backstage at New York City's Cipriani Wall Street

After collecting their statuettes at the 2014 Gotham Independent Film Awards, the evening's winners headed backstage at New York City's Cipriani Wall Street to revel in their victory with reporters.

Tilda Swinton, actor tribute

The actress reveled in Snowpiercer's worldwide success, telling THR, "It still has to open in the U.K., but this is almost the last place it opens, so it's lreayd touched the world — for us, it's a truly international film. It's a great relief that American audiences have seen Bong's film because they deserve it and they love it — so we were right!" Of Amy Schumer's hilarious tribute speech to her, Swinton, a fan of her Comedy Central show, laughed, "My ears turned into jello! But she's phenomenal, and she's just full of shit."

Swinton also noted that showing off her best moves opposite Tom Hiddleston in Only Lovers Left Alive was nothing but natural — "Dancing, in our house, is pretty important, we tend to dance a lot. Dancing when cooking is always a good idea!" — and teased of her upcoming Coen Brothers film, Hail, Caesar!, "It's gonna be awesome. As a film fan, I know that, and they've already started, and I'm going out next week to play with them. It's gonna be amazing. It's got an exclamation mark in the title, it's gotta be great!"

Tessa Thompson, breakthrough actor award, Dear White People

Thompson nabbed the honor for her first of topical films this year, as she's also featured in Selma. "Upon doing both movies, it felt like a milestone just in the sense of doing films that had something to say — not to answer any questions, but at least to ask them, and that's the kind of film I find exciting," she told The Hollywood Reporter of the two titles' releases coinciding with the situation in Ferguson, Mo., despite them taking up to eight years to complete. "For people to say, 'God, how timely,' it says a lot about our nation, and that the films that become timeless and important are those that address things that are really deep within us and universal and in our fabric.… Not every movie can be a social phenomenon, but you want to continue to do work that moves you."

Read more 2014 Gotham Awards: Winners List

Bennett Miller, director tribute

The helmer of Capote, Moneyball and Foxcatcher admitted he was nervous when he heard that Catherine Keener would be presenting him the honor. "I was concerned it would go on too long, that it would get too personal and that it would be sloppy," he smiled. And? "I know her well."

Best feature, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Alejandro G. Inarritu called his Michael Keaton-starrer "a fighter in the time that we're living, so I think I'm very proud of having received the award from this group of people. … [Birdman] was an experiment, a laboratory of visual things defending our right to fail. Hopefully we didn't fail." While discussing the percussion-filled score with reporters, the director noted, "All those beats are the beats are the hearts of every actor there," just before shouting toward Keaton as he was exiting the winners' room, "Let's go together to get drunk!"

Special jury performance award — ensemble performance, Foxcatcher

Steve Carell hilariously accepted the award on behalf of the sports drama's ensemble, as Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo were absent from the ceremony. He admitted he doesn't have speeches prepared throughout awards season — "Preparing like that is probably a good way to jinx yourself," he said — yet noted that the key to the film's notable mix onscreen is "caring and trust. An ensemble, a sports team, an orchestra, it's a sum of the parts, and it is a matter of being selfless and being generous. Channing and Mark are incredibly generous actors, and we all just wanted to make each other as good as we can be, and I think it paid off. They're great guys, and there was a real bond between the three of us."

Michael Keaton, best actor, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

The actor, who admits he didn't have a speech planned, noted that the role in the Inarritu-directed feature had him nostalgic, telling reporters, "It made me really remember [previous stage roles] — I only did a few plays when I was a kid, but it made me remember how fun that is and how frightening that is."

Julianne Moore, best actress, Still Alice

The actress jubilantly shouted to reporters that she's overjoyed about the evening's win and its corresponding Oscar buzz. "I'm so happy to be in the conversation — this is a movie we made for four million last March that was mixed in August and got distributors in September. We can't even believe we're out!" She also noted, "I forgot to thank New York City – because of the tax credit, that's why I'm able to work here! … In my home!" and said of her Alzheimer's-inflicted character, "Traditionally in films, the trope is that you're gonna experience it from the caregiver's point of view, so this is really unusual and pretty moving because you actually experience her decline."

Gotham independent film audience awards, Boyhood

"It's incredible — I wasn't expecting it," said Ellar Coltrane of the win, adding that the film is resonating with audiences because "it's an epic about the little, common, 'boring' pieces that make up everyone's lives, and I think people really appreciate that. In a world where most movies are very fantastic — which, there's nothing wrong with that, but most of our lives aren't like that, so there's something really satisfying about seeing so much attention paid just to normal life. It's a weird movie. I hoped people would get it, but I certainly didn't expect it to be like this."

Best documentary, CITIZENFOUR

"There was a time when people were urging me not to travel to Hong Kong — talking to the people I care about, and making the decision to go and take that risk, was the hardest part, because there were people saying that the government has been going after journalists who've been reporting on these kinds of issues very aggressively," Laura Poitras told THR of making the Edward Snowden-centered doc. Of finally unveiling the secretly-made feature at this year's New York Film Festival, producer Mathilda Bonnefoy added, "To show it suddenly to more than 700 people at once, after we had such security protocols with everyone who had seen it, felt completely illegal to us."

Ted Sarandos, industry tribute, Netflix

"One thing we're trying to do is not be another outlet for cheap content, to push the bar and make better and better content, and give a platform for writers and creative of all kinds to tell their stories on a grand scale," said Netflix's chief content officer backstage of the platform's impact on audiences, including spurring digital competitors. "I don't think there's any shortage of places, and if we can make the world bigger for professional content owners, then we can have more points of entry for new storytellers too. There's lots to talk about the long tail, but to have a long tail, you have to have a strong body first, and you can pull that all along." 

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee

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