I had the privilege of serving on two nominating committees for the Gotham awards this year: Best Breakthrough Performance and Best Ensemble. That meant I played a role in narrowing the field down to five contenders in each of those categories, although I didn't know who won until the names were announced at last night's ceremony. I would say it doesn't really matter, that everyone nominated was a winner and equally deserving and should feel like they got a prize just by winding up in those category...but I'm already on the record as a huge fan of "Beginners," Mike Mills' delicate sophomore feature that landed both the ensemble prize and tied for Best Feature with "Tree of Life." Without saying much more, I will say that I'm glad that worked out.
Still, the real performance worth celebrating at this year's Gothams ceremony had nothing to do with any of the nominated films. Patton Oswalt, onstage to introduce his "Young Adult" co-star Charlize Theron for a tribute award, owned the evening.
It was everything people talked about at the afterparty, even more than the usual banter about who won what: Oswalt's mixture of self-effacement and unruliness briefly elevated a somewhat awkwardly scripted evening. More than that, it also perfectly showcased why this terrific comedian should host any number of awards ceremonies in the immediate future. He's smarmy without getting on your nerves, friendly but still irascible. The guy made a "Donkey Kong" reference and geeked out about David Cronenberg's presence in the audience, called himself "a weird bridge troll" when dwarfed by Theron--who insisted he remain next to her while she stood onstage--and then remarked that it looked she was accepting him as her award. Oswalt embodied comedic inspiration with a combination of slapstick hilarity and nerve, tapping into the exact type of sarcastic humor that has currency these days. Somebody get this guy a hosting gig or at least his own TV show.
Until that happens, of course, there's always his Twitter feed.
Here's Melena Ryzik from the NYT with more about Oswalt's performance.