In some ways, this year’s Gotham Awards couldn’t have been over yet. Vaccination cards and a recent negative Covid test were required for entry. The categories of actors have been stripped of gender binaries. And two sign language interpreters were stationed to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing attendees could celebrate in real time.
But the real meat of the show – the schmoozing, stargazing, and measuring the buzz – felt quite as usual. And that was perhaps the biggest win of the night.
The Gothams, presented by the Gotham Film & Media Institute, have always prided themselves on being the first major awards show of the season: they celebrate the winners even before most bands have announced their nominees. Last year, that meant the Gothams were the first to attempt a big awards show on Zoom, and like the TV shows that would follow, the ceremony was airless and full of bewildering clues. Instead of giving cheerful acceptance speeches, most of the winners sat motionless in front of a webcam and wondered if it was their time to speak.
This year the Gothams returned to Cipriani Wall Street, and you hardly knew there was a hiatus at all: While last year’s event was virtual and glitchy, this year’s event was in person. and watered. Before the show, several attendees commented on how surreal the reunion was, but once things got started the only disruptors recognized on stage were the usual coterie of producers, agents and streaming services.
In 2019, during the last Gothams held in person, Netflix’s “Marriage Story” won so many accolades that director Noah Baumbach appeared sheepish in the late evening; this year, it was the motherly melodrama of streamer “The Lost Daughter” that prevailed to such an extent that one of her stars, Dakota Johnson, called to present the award for best feature, said: “I bet that you’re really fed up with us, eh? “
But “The Lost Daughter” also triumphed in this category, in addition to winning screenplay and director awards for actress-turned-writer Maggie Gyllenhaal (adaptation of a work by Elena Ferrante) and a performance trophy. main for Olivia Colman, which she shared in a tie with Frankie Faison from “The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain”.
The Gothams have somewhat restrictive eligibility rules: Films made internationally or over $ 35 million cannot be in contention for top prizes. The ceremony routinely circumvents these rules, however, by paying special tributes to trendy films or performances that would otherwise be left out of controversy. This is how “The Power of the Dog” director Jane Campion and “Spencer” star Kristen Stewart ended up winning honorary trophies at the ceremony.
This makes the show a tricky Oscar barometer, as do the juries of five or six people who vote for each category. Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland” took the table at the Oscars and Gothams during last year’s smaller-scale season, but this year, with star-led studio films like “King Richard,” ” Dune “and” West Side Story, “Gotham’s value as a precursor may be more difficult to predict.
Still, it never hurts to be seen winning. Other notable Gotham winners include the animated documentary “Flee”, the winner of the international film “Drive My Car” and two notable breakthrough TV series, the Korean sensation “Squid Game” and the acclaimed FX series “Reservation Dogs. “.
For ‘CODA,’ a Sundance sensation that debuted on Apple TV + over the summer, Gothams offered a precious rebirth: This dramatic comedy about a deaf family won a groundbreaking performer award for its role principal, Emilia Jones, and trophy support for Troy Kotsur.
Was Kotsur speechless? Not enough.
“I’m just absolutely out of control right now,” he signed from the stage.