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Gotham Awards Go to Coens, McConaughey, Larson, and Coogler, '12 Years a Slave' Gets Zip, Daniels Fights Back

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 2, 2013 at 10:48PM

The Independent Feature Project's Gotham Awards are truly New York indie, just as Film Independent's Indie Spirits are very Los Angeles. Thus Monday night's awards benefited feature winner "Inside Llewyn Davis," a portrait of the 60s New York folk scene from New York's own Coen brothers, "Fruitvale Station," which won best rising director and artist for Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan, respectively, and actor winners Brie Larson ("Short Term 12") and Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club").
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Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake in "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake in "Inside Llewyn Davis"

The Independent Feature Project's Gotham Awards are truly New York indie, just as Film Independent's Indie Spirits are very Los Angeles. Thus Monday night's awards benefited feature winner "Inside Llewyn Davis," a portrait of the 60s New York folk scene from New York's own Coen brothers, "Fruitvale Station," which won best rising director and artist for Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan, respectively, and actor winners Brie Larson ("Short Term 12") and Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club"). (Livestream is here.)

"Fruitvale Station."
TWC "Fruitvale Station."

Also getting an award season boost were tributees Forest Whitaker, who produced "Fruitvale Station" and starred in "The Butler," the late James Gandolfini, whose supporting role in "Enough Said" is gaining traction, and Richard Linklater, whose collaborators Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy lauded him over a noisy room. That rattled Lee Daniels enough that he tried to quiet things down during his Whitaker tribute, saying, "Shut the fuck up." As he talked about Whitaker, he thanked him for telling him to hold his anger: "Forest lives on a higher plane." 

"Forest Whitaker is very serious and zen, very quiet," said Daniels, pointing out that he was the first --and last, so far --African American to win Best Actor at Cannes. "He auditioned for me with a sense of humility," he said. "The deal was horrible, we had no money to do this film. I became angry at white people as I researched 'The Butler.'" When Daniels heard titters, he snapped, "That shit ain't funny."

Matthew McConaughey in "Dallas Buyers Club"
Matthew McConaughey in "Dallas Buyers Club"

"The truth continues to expand, and I grow and grow and grow," said a serene Whitaker during his spacey acceptance speech. "We're all connected."

Morgan Spurlock promoted his own movies as he presented best doc, to Josh Oppenheimer's "The Act of Killing." 

Jared Leto accepted for McConaughey, who said "all right all right all right" over the iPhone to a big laugh. 

Best Actress winner Brie Larson said, "This may be the only time I'm accepting an award," and thanked her "Short Term 12" writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton. 

"We miss you Bingham!" said director and one-time breakthrough winner Mira Nair, as she announced the winner of the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award, "Fruitvale Station"'s Ryan Coogler, who thanked his star, Breakthrough Artist Jordan, who also thanked their mentor, Whitaker.

The awards are listed below.

This article is related to: Awards, Gotham Awards, Awards, Awards Season Roundup, Fruitvale Station, Lee Daniels' The Butler , Brie Larson, Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan, Forest Whitaker, James Gandolfini, Richard Linklater, Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.