NEW YORK — Mike Birbiglia kicked off the IFP Gotham Film Awards with a monologue drafted from the work of others. Without a writing staff, he turned to his Twitter followers for jokes, and in a move that left the audience equally in stiches and on edge, he recited — word for word — honoree David O. Russell‘s infamous rampage against Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees.
Having worked at the Gotham Awards in the coat check when he first arrived to start a comedy career in New York, it was a manifest destiny… or something like that.
Alex Karpovsky and Melanie Lynskey presented the night’s first award: the Gotham Independent Film Audience Award.
The trophy, which was voted for online, went to the documentary film Artifact by director Jared Leto, who said as he accepted his award, “I feel like Beasts of the Southern Wild should be up here.”
Immediately after, Beasts got its moment on stage, as Margin Call director JC Chandor presented the Sundance favorite’s helmer Benh Zeitlin with breakthrough director. “It feels like you’re on the yellow brick road sometimes,” Zeitlin said following his win.
Emily Blunt and Jack Black — one-time co-stars in Gulliver’s Travels and part of Gotham-nominated films — bantered a bit before offering up the breakthrough actor Award, which went to Emayatzy Corinealdi from The Middle of Nowhere. Corinealdi beat out Birbiglia (Sleepwalk With Me), Lynskey (Hello I Must Be Going) and Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts).
The winner of the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You Award went to An Oversimplication of Her Beauty, directed by Terence Nance and produced by Nance, Andrew Corkin and James Bartlett. The film tells the love story between two young African Americans.
Presenter Oliver Platt gave out the inaugural Bingham Ray Award — in honor of the indie veteran who died in January — to Zeitlin.
Amy Adams introduces the first tribute of the evening to Silver Linings Playbook director Russell. “We met at the Early World Cafe,” recalled Adams, who starred in Russell’s The Fighter. “I think he takes all his meetings there, not sure if he still does. I believe he had the chicken enchiladas.”
The best ensemble cast award went to Your Sister’s Sister, which stars Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt and Rosemarie Dewitt, all of whom shared in accepting the award. Duplass, who produced the film, thanked his co-stars for working for $100 a day.
Director David France‘s How to Survive a Plague, about how AIDS became a manageable condition, won best documentary feature following a tribute to Marion Cotillard presented by Billy Crudup.
Wes Anderson‘s Moonrise Kingdom, which made $65 million at the worldwide box office according to Box Office Mojo, took home the evening’s biggest prize: best feature. Stars Jared Gilman and Kaya Howard accepted on the film’s behalf.
Philiana Ng contributed to this report.
For the complete list of winners, go on to the next page.
For Best Feature, presented by Willem Dafoe:
Directed by Wes Anderson
Produced by Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, Jeremy Dawson
Released by Focus Features
The Best Feature jury included: Willem Dafoe, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Jesse Peretz, Jay Rabinowitz and Meg Ryan
For Best Documentary, presented by producer Ira Glass and documentarian Marshall Curry:
HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE
Directed and produced by David France
Produced by Howard Gertler
Released by IFC Films
The Best Documentary jury included: Marshall Curry, Rob Epstein, Laura Poitras, Lori Silverbush and Jean Tsien
For Best Ensemble Performance (award sponsored by euphoria Calvin Klein), presented by actors Ethan Hawke and Juliet Rylance:
Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass in YOUR SISTER’S SISTER
Released by IFC Films
The Best Ensemble Performance jury included: Sacha Gervasi, David Gordon Green, George Tillman, Christine Vachon and Shailene Woodley
For Breakthrough Actor, presented by actors Jack Black and Emily Blunt:
EMAYATZY CORINEALDI in MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
Released by AFFRM and Participant Media
The Breakthrough Actor Jury included: JC Chandor, Neil LaBute, Emily Mortimer and Juliet Rylance
For Breakthrough Director, presented by Mark Standish, CEO of The Royal Bank of Canada (the presenting sponsor of the award) and director JC Chandor:
BENH ZEITLIN for BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Released by Fox Searchlight Pictures
The Breakthrough Director Jury included: Oscar Isaac, Oren Moverman, Ruba Nadda, John Slattery and Susan Stover
For Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You™, presented by actors Mark Duplass and Rosemarie DeWitt:
AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY
Directed and produced by Terence Nance
Produced by Andrew Corkin and James Bartlett
The recipient of The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You™ award was determined by the editors of Filmmaker magazine, a publication of IFP, and a curator from The Museum of Modern Art.
For the Gotham Independent Film Audience Award powered by Festival Genius, presented by actors Alex Karpovsky and Melanie Lynskey:
Directed by Bartholomew Cubbins
Produced by Jared Leto and Emma Ludbrook
The Audience Award was voted for on-line by filmgoers worldwide.
For the euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ Grant, presented by actor/director Famke Janssen and actor Mickey Sumner:
STACIE PASSON for the upcoming film, CONCUSSION
The euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers’ ‘Live the Dream’ grant jury included: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Debra Granik, Mary Jane Skalski and Mickey Sumner.
For The Bingham Ray Award, presented by actor and friend of Bingham Ray, Oliver Platt:
BENH ZEITLIN, director of BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
The recipient of this award was chosen by a close group of Bingham’s friends and colleagues.