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Gotham Award Winners: What Impact Will They Have?

Photo of Anne Thompson 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.
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Patton Oswalt and Tributee Charlize Theron at the Gothams
Patton Oswalt and Tributee Charlize Theron at the Gothams

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." 

This article is related to: Awards, Oscars, Awards


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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.