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Gotham Award Winners

The awards season is officially on with the presentation last evening of the GOTHAM INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS in New York City. The Awards are sponsored by  the Independent Feature Project/IFP, a filmmaker organization that is at the forefront of the American independent film movement.

The Iraq war drama THE HURT LOCKER has solidified its chances at Oscar gold by winning two awards, was named Best Feature and captured the prize for Best Ensemble Cast (shared by Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, David Morse and Evangeline Lilly). Kathryn Bigelow, the film's director, received a Career Achievement prize for her body of work at the ceremonies held at the swanky Cipriani Wall Street in downtown Manhattan. Ironically, the film, which chronicles the tense lives of an army unit assigned to defuse bombs, will be shut out of any nominations this year for the INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS, since it was nominated last year (prior to its release).

The Best Documentary prize went to FOOD INC., a lacerating  expose of the corporate food industry that was directed by Robert Kenner and released by Magnolia Pictures. The film has been shortlisted for the Oscar and now becomes the frontrunner in the Best Documentary category.

Robert Siegel won the prestigious Breakthrough Director prize for his debut directorial passion project BIG FAN. Chilean actress Catalina Saavedra was awarded the Breakthrough Actor award for her intense performance as a servant who has served a Chilean family for more than 20 years in THE MAID,  directed by Sebastian Silva.

One of the more unique prizes given at the Awards is for Best Film Not Playing At A Theater Near You, honoring a quality independent film that has yet to secure theatrical distribution. The winner was YOU WON'T MISS ME, an intense drama starring Stella Schnabel as an out-of-control actress with self-destructive tendencies in New York. The film's director, co-writer and producer Ry Russo-Young acceppted the prize and the cash award of  $5,000 provided by Reiff & Associates, a brokerage firm specializing in arts and entertainment insurance.

In addition to Bigelow, tributes were bestowed on actors Natalie Portman and Stanley Tucci and Working Title co-chairmen Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. The ceremony was hosted by comedian Kumail Nanjiani.

Sandy Mandelberger, Awards Watch Editor

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All the Buzz on Film Festival Awards, Celebrity Tributes and the Film Awards Season.


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