Gotham Awards: Ava DuVernay, Sam Rockwell Set for Tributes

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Ava DuVernay, Sam Rockwell

The honors will be presented Dec. 2 during the independent film ceremony.

Ava DuVernay and Sam Rockwell will receive the director and actor tributes, respectively, at this year's Gotham Independent Film Awards.

Writer-director-producer DuVernay received an Oscar nomination and won two Emmys for her criminal justice documentary 13th. Her latest work, the four-part series When They See Us, is nominated for 16 Emmys and tells the true story of five Harlem teens of color who were wrongfully convicted of the rape of a white female jogger in the 1989 Central Park case. DuVernay's other credits include the films Middle of Nowhere, Selma and A Wrinkle in Time and, on the TV side, Queen Sugar and the upcoming Cherish the Day.

Rockwell won an Oscar, SAG Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA Award, Critics' Choice Award and Independent Spirit Award for best supporting actor for his role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. He was nominated for an Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA Award for his role as George W. Bush in Vice. Rockwell most recently starred as Bob Fosse in the limited series Fosse/Verdon, for which he received an Emmy nomination, and will next be seen in Taika Waititi's Nazi Germany satire Jojo Rabbit, which is set to hit theaters Oct. 18.

“Ava DuVernay is a groundbreaking and influential filmmaker whose work casts an overdue and much needed light on the history of our nation’s systemic racism embedded in our institutions of justice today. She is enlightening and impactful to a new wave of filmmakers and her films are profoundly consequential to our nation’s continued endeavor to provide equal justice for all,” Jeff Sharp, executive director of IFP, which presents the Gotham Awards, and the Made in NY Media Center said Thursday in a statement. “We are equally delighted to present the deeply talented Sam Rockwell with the actor tribute. Sam simply brings brilliance to every role he plays — whether an anti-hero in an auteur-driven film, a hero in a studio tentpole or a legendary icon in a limited series. His compelling and genuine performances are a gift to us all. Both Ava and Sam are leaders and champions for independent film. Their support and dedication to the craft, community and IFP continue to inspire this generation.”

Additional tribute recipients will be announced in the coming weeks. Previous Gotham Awards honorees include Willem Dafoe, Paul Greengrass, Jon Kamen, Rachel Weisz, former Vice President Al Gore, Jason Blum, Nicole Kidman, Ed Lachman, Oliver Stone, Amy Adams, Ethan Hawke, Arnon Milchan, Robert Redford, Helen Mirren, Todd Haynes, Steve Golin, Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron, Kate Winslet, Bennett Miller, Richard Linklater, Spike Lee, David O. Russell, Ted Sarandos, Jeff Skoll, Tom Rothman and James Schamus.

The Gotham Awards event traditionally marks the official start of Oscar season, recognizing the best in independent film. Recent previous winners have included Oscar nominees and winners Call Me by Your Name, Moonlight, Spotlight, Birdman, Boyhood, Citizenfour, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Act of Killing, Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Beginners, The Tree of Life, Winter’s Bone and The Hurt Locker.

The 2019 Gotham Awards will be handed out Dec. 2 at New York's Cipriani Wall Street. Nominations will be announced Oct. 24.