“Capote” was named best feature at the 15th annual Gotham Awards on Wednesday, and Bennett Miller was hailed as breakthrough director for his critically acclaimed biopic about late author Truman Capote.
“The one thing I learned before I dropped out of film school was that everyone needs to be working on the same film,” said Miller, acknowledging the contributions of star Philip Seymour Hoffman, screenwriter Dan Futterman and executives at the film’s distributor, Sony Pictures Classics.
Kicking off the year-end awards season, the event, staged by the New York-based Independent Feature Project at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers, also singled out the gritty wheelchair gladiator film “Murderball” as best documentary.
Director Noah Baumbach’s domestic drama “The Squid and the Whale” took the prize for best ensemble cast. The film’s lineup includes Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, William Baldwin and Anna Paquin. The family drama about two divorcing New York intellectuals on Tuesday picked up a leading six nominations for the rival Independent Spirit Awards, including nods for Daniels, Linney and Eisenberg.
Amy Adams won breakthrough actor for her performance as a cheerful Southern wife in Sony Classics’ “Junebug,” a day after she also received an Independent Spirit nomination.
“I didn’t prepare anything because I’m kind of superstitious,” Adams said.
Caveh Zahedi’s autobiographical docudrama, “I Am a Sex Addict,” took home a prize carrying the title Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You, awarded to a film without theatrical distribution.
The annual IFP fund-raising gala also featured three previously announced awards: tributes to actor Matt Dillon and director Jim Jarmusch and a Celebrate New York award to director Marilyn Agrelo and writer Amy Sewell of “Mad Hot Ballroom.”
Steve Buscemi and Bill Murray offered irreverent and rambling words in introducing Jarmusch, who said, “Having Steve and Bill present me this, I feel a lot better knowing they are both certifiably insane.”
Kyra Sedgwick hosted the awards ceremony, which will be televised from 9-11 p.m. EST Dec. 8 and Dec. 10 in New York on NYC TV (Channel 25). In Los Angeles, LA36 will air the ceremony from 7-9 p.m. Dec. 8, from 8-10 p.m. Dec. 9 and from 10 p.m.-12 a.m. Dec 10.
The Gothams are striving to achieve a new prominence now that the Los Angeles-based Film Independent — formerly known as IFP/West, which sponsors the Independent Spirit Awards —has split from IFP.
In the effort to distinguish the Gothams from the Spirit Awards, the choice of Miller proved a prescient one, since though “Capote” received four Spirit nominations, Miller did not make the cut. Similarly, Gothams winner “Murderball” was not included among the Spirit Awards’ best documentary nominees.