Chris here. Did you catch the Gotham Awards last night? The ceremony is always streams online for easy access - this year on Facebook to glitchy results. It always serves a spunky start thanks to a lack of jadedness that the just beginning season will bring and the idiosyncratic results from separately juried categories.
However, this year those juries were almost unanimous in their love for Barry Jenkins's Moonlight...
The love in the room for the film was vocal as it swept Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and the Audience Award. The Audience Award may be the most telling for its Oscar chances considering the dozen or so films it was up against (and since the Gothams rarely foretell the Oscars). The ensemble was also awarded a special prize, but it was Barry Jenkins who felt like the star.
But the biggest delight of the evening was a somewhat surprising win for Isabelle Huppert for Elle, to which she adorably was the most shocked. Huppert may be beloved for her chilliness but here she was all giddy breathlessness, all but launching into a French version of Sally Field's "You like me!" speech.
The other winners...
O.J.: Made in America
The episodic, multi-installment documentary doesn't seem to be ruffling any feathers for its consideration in the documentary race. It's quite stellar, but I'm still curious if Oscar voters will sit for its sprawling eight hours.
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award
Trey Edward Shults - Krisha
Shults was also somewhat flummoxed by his win against stiff competition like Robert Eggers (The Witch) and Anna Rose Holmer (The Fits), sending lots of love to his fellow nominees. He's just as deserving and if you haven't caught up to Krisha's brilliance, it's currently on Amazon Prime.
Casey Affleck - Manchester By The Sea
Manchester felt the most overshadowed by Moonlight's wins but Affleck was warmly received, giving a humble speech that praised writer/director Kenneth Lonergan.
Anya Taylor-Joy - The Witch
Hooray for The Witch not leaving awards season empty handed! Kate Beckinsale presented the award praising independent cinema's dedication to female-led narratives and how the category's nominees reflected that - oops, you forgot Manchester's Lucas Hedges was nominated.
Breakthrough Series - Long Form
Breakthrough Series - Short Form
Spotlight on Women Directors "Live the Dream" Grant
Rory Toporowych - Julia Blue
This cash prize went to the delightful Toporowych, who joked that that morning she only had $13 in her bank account because everything went towards her film. Where is her Kickstarter and how can we buy her lunch?
Oliver Stone - Stone kept things refreshingly brief, calling on directors to stay independent, remember that we can question our goverments ("we've forgotten that"), and to think internationally. Remember Snowden?
Arnon Milchan - Nothing was quite so staggering in the evening as producer Milchan's tribute reel, featuring some of the over 130 films he has made. He insisted that he was shy, but gushed his love for fellow tributee Stone.
Ethan Hawke - Hawke joked about his long career, stating the first time he was washed up was at the age of 14. He was presented by Winona Ryder (Reality Bites reunion!), who choked up describing his performance as Chet Baker in this year's Born to Be Blue - a brilliant performance everyone missed that's worth choking up over.
Amy Adams - Ryder got emotional for Hawke, but Cate Blanchett got truly gushy when presenting Adams's tribute, shedding love on the actress's listening in particular. Adams returned in kind, mostly spending her speech in "I'm not worthy" awe of Blanchett. Roundtable performances be damned, because her reel was also a reminder of her formiddable and versatile talents.