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The Gotham Awards: New York's Big Indie Party

Thursday, November 30----One of New York's biggest film parties was held last evening. The 16th Annual Gotham Awards were presented at New York's fashionable Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River. The star-studded program is a fundraiser for the Independent Feature Project (IFP), a not-for-profit filmmmaker association that helps novice indies throughout the year.

The Awards were recently reorganized to be half film celebration and half film tribute. While the Gothams have awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Cinematographer, the nominee list leans towards the independent film, although some auteur Hollywood films were included in the nomination process this year (a bit controversial, that).

However, the tastiest and, in my opinion, the most meaningful part of the festivities are the many talented people who are acknowledged for a body of work and for their influence and inspiration in the film world. In this sense, The Gotham Awards got it all right this year, with a truly worthy list of people to honor.

Kate Winslet, the type of actress who will still be at it in her 90s, was honored for her career achievements, including what many are calling the performance of her career in the current release LITTLE CHILDREN, directed by Todd Field. The film should be heavily recognized at all the major awards shows of the season, with Winslet certain to cop a nomination as Best Actress.

Edward Norton, a quirky "actor's actor" who leaves an indelible imprint on every character he plays, was also honored last evening. Easily the standout in everything that he does, he is a character actor who manages the be cast as the lead. He was outstanding in this year's true indie sleeper sensation, THE ILLUSIONIST, which is still playing in theaters months after its opening. Whether Oscar will recognize this subtle performance remains to be seen, but the film is a major success d'estime and could show up on some Ten Best Lists and have a surprise showing at the Golden Globe Awards.

The Gotham Awards did introduce its first World Cinema Tribute, this year presented to the Mexican writers/directors Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu, known for films like PAN'S LABYRINTH, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, AMORES PERROS, 21 GRAMS and the recently released BABEL, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, another Oscar hopeful.

On the industry side, producers/media moguls Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban, who through their innovative and influential entertainment companies such as 2929 Productions (Academy Award® nominated GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK); HDNet Films (Academy Award® nominated ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM); theatrical and home video distributor Magnolia Pictures, the Landmark Theatres; and high-definition cable channels HDNet and HDNet Movies, have changed the face of bringing independent cinema to mainstream America.

A full story on the Gotham Awards winners will be published on Friday on AWARDS WATCH,

Sandy Mandelberger
Film New York Editor


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Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

The Ultimate Guide to the New York Film, Video and New Media Scene.

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