By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 28, 2011 at 11:06PM
So who came out ahead at the Gothams? Tributes offer a boost to potential award contenders by reminding folks of all the films these people have done over the years. "Young Adult"'s Charlize Theron charmed in her acceptance speech, saying, "all I ever wanted was to be able to do this and not have a second job to pay the rent." She graciously thanked Jason Reitman "for giving me the opportunity to play such a bitch." (See the live stream here.) Presenter Patton Oswalt helped his own cause as a supporting actor candidate for "Young Adult" by killing his intro.
Alec Baldwin called tributee Gary Oldman, who he once replaced in a play at The Public Theatre, "the greatest film actor of his generation," and what a reel: "Sid & Nancy," "Serious Money," "The Dark Knight," "State of Grace," "True Romance," "Bram Stoker's Dracula," "The Book of Eli," "Immortal Beloved," "Prick Up Your Ears," "The Professional," "Hannibal." So far, Oldman hangs at the back of the best actor pack for his perhaps too subtle performance in Focus Features' Brit spy thriller "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."
Focus had a big night: "Beginners'" got a big boost by winning best ensemble and sharing best feature with Terrence Mallick's "The Tree of Life" (Fox Searchlight). Indiewire's Eric Kohn reports that the feature jury led by Natalie Portman argued for 2.5 hours before deciding to give it to two films. According to Portman in a video, they simply couldn't choose between the two. Searchlight didn't win anything for its other high-profile offering, "The Descendants."
"Beginners" could move forward in the Oscar race for director Mike Mills' original screenplay and veteran Christopher Plummer for supporting actor; he gave a sweet speech, explaining that costar Ewan McGregor was in Uganda "working, and I hate him."
Rising actress Felicity Jones' breakthrough actor win for "Like Crazy" basically helps to move up the micro-budget Sundance indie, which was picked up by Paramount, in voters' screener piles. "Oh golly," said Jones, who is slated to star opposite Warren beatty in his upcoming Howard Hughes picture. "Here's to cheap films."
Focus can promote, for what it's worth, Dee Rees' win as breakthrough director for indie gay drama "Pariah," which they acquired out of Sundance.
Clearly Sony Pictures Classics orchestrated having Corey Stoll, who they are promoting as a long shot supporting actor nominee for Ernest Hemingway in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris," introduce the tribute to "A Dangerous Method"'s David Cronenberg, who has directed more than 20 films over 40 years. That move just left people scratching their heads over the connection between the two. "I'm here because I'm a failure," Cronenberg said. "I failed to sell out." In a first, the director quoted Jean-Paul Sartre: "I am condemned to be free."
The Gotham win for documantary "Better This World," which I highly recommend, won't have any impact at all on the Oscar race, as it did not make the short list of 15--probably because it functions too much as a thriller as an investigation inside the FBI's fight against domestic terrorism.
Tributee Tom Rothman, co-chairman of Twentieth Century Fox, who came up through the indies, was introed by Ang Lee and used his podium to promote Lee's upcoming film for Fox, "Life of Pi."