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Ah, the Gotham Awards. New York's smaller cousin to the Independent Spirit Awards. Part tribute show, part awards showcase, the Gothams are if nothing but entertaining.
The program is being streamed by IFP here, but feel free to enjoy this live blog of the evening's highlights. The audience may already be buzzed, but we won't be.
8:13 PM EST - Jimmy Kimmel comes out (via tape) and tells everyone to be quiet. "You are there to celebrate the best independent films of 2012 and Matt Damon" and then rips all his commercial hits. "No one embodies the spirit of independent film like Matt Damon."
Mike Birbiglia comes out as tonight's host. I honestly have no idea who he is. Maybe I'll recognize him in a bit. Not a good sign. Eke.*
*Turns out he was in "Sleepwalk With Me" which I never saw and he appears to be "big" in the NYC Metro area.
"We are here tonight because if we don't give ourselves these awards, who will?" Splattering of applause.
Birbiglia decides that David O. Russell's infamous, profane laced rant is worth a comic bit. I'm sure Russell loved it.
"This is the hardest audience I've ever played in front of my life. I can't imagine what it's like for these twitter followers." (who supplied some jokes). Yes, they are Mike. Get ready for a long night.
Mike Birbiglia - "The joke has become we're not laughing and I'm OK with it." (He continues to read twitter supplied jokes).
Mike Birbiglia - "It's going to be a long and exciting evening." I hope so Mike, I might be skipping the gym for this.
8:21 PM - The head of IFP, Joana Vicente, comes out. She's very pretty and does a fine job of listing all the non-"glamorous" work. IFP has been chosen to develop the city's new "Made in NY" media center and she calls it a great honor (honestly sounds cool).
[At this point, we're a good 10 min in and I'd say a blank screen on C-SPAN is more entertaining.]
A nice moment remembering Bingham Ray.
8:25 PM - Melanie Lynskey and - crap I can't remember his name.Titles would be so nice. They are here to announce the Audience Award. Can pretty much predict "Beasts of the Southern Wild" will win this one, hands down.
Um, OK then. This was voted by members and the audience is shocked. Was there a limit to the number of times you could vote? The director says "This movie, which many of you haven't seen is a very, very personal film. It was made by a small group of people over a few years. It talks about being an artist and art and commerce. I'd like to thank everyone who voted for us online. I know some people are upset that 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' isn't up here and it's a phenomenal film." He adds, "Don't hate me because I won. I love that other film too."
8:30 PM - Gent from RBC and J.C. Chandor ("Margin Call") come out to give the award for Breakthrough Director.
Winner: Benh Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Whew, Fox Searchlight would have collectively had a heart attack if "Beasts" lost two awards tonight. Zeitlin says "I just wanna say that making this movie I had an unprecedented creative freedom given to me by my producers." "We took risks that no first time filmmakers get to take." "Thank you all who have supported it." Note: Zeitlin's received quite a makeover. No more glasses. Nice haircut. Better suit. Someone wants an Oscar nod!
8:41 PM - Birbiglia is back to introduce a video featuring films that sponsor RBC has sponsored. They really throw the sponsor love on thick here.
8:43 PM - Jack Black and Emily Blunt come out for breakthrough actor. Black says, "This award was fine back in the days of 'High Fidelity' and 'The Devil Wears Prada.' Leave the prize winning to us vet!" Blunt - "You better change your tone or I'm gonna have you dragged out by your neck!" Eh, that bit didn't work.
Winner: Emayatzy Corinealdi, "Middle of Nowhere"
That's a surprise. She beat Quevenzhané Wallis from "Beasts" and Melanie Lynskey from "Hello, I Must Be Going.
Ha, the stream went down. Will we be back?
8:54 PM - Feed is still down. This is entertaining, isn't it? How about those "Zero Dark Thirty" reviews? Everyone excited to see it?
9:00 PM - HitFix may have to offer to sponsor and run the video production of the Gothams next year. This streaming problem is so 2002.
9:01 PM - And we appear back! Mark Duplass and Rosemarie DeWitt are here to award the Best Film Not Playing At A Theater Near You.
Winner: "An Oversimplification of Her Beauty"
It appears the director (Terence Nance) and the star or producer accept. They um, are very happy.
9:06 PM - Oliver Platt comes out to award the inaugural Bingham Ray Award. Platt gives a nice tribute about his friend Bingham and how he'd have enjoyed all the tributes following his passing. The new honor is given to a filmmaker along with a filmmaking package from Panavision.
Winner: Ben Zeitlin of "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Zeitlin says he never got to meet Bingham, but he says the San Francisco Film Society was a big supporter of the film and that he'd read about the project when it was just a sketch on a piece of paper.
9:13 PM - Joana Vicente introduces Amy Adams who is on hand for our first tribute for David O. Russell. Adams remembers the first time the two met and the passion he had for his work. On her character in "The Fighter," "It was as if David knew her secrets and shared them with me." The audience now sees a tribute the only viewers cannot watch due to licensing restrictions. (Instead we get a reporter who appears to be talking with no sound. Poor woman. She has no idea we can't hear her.)
Now, "Silver Linings Playbook's" Jacki Weaver comes out to present Russell with his honor. She says "to work with him is to step out of your comfort zone" but it's "exhilarating" and "the results speak for themselves."
Russell comes out and gives a fine speech. I'd love to tell you what he said, but my business partner called and I had to take it. Watching the video though, he did seem quite intense. I'm hoping the speech was heartfelt and humorous.
9:24 PM: Claire Danes and Famke Janssen come out to give an honor women filmmakers and I'm still on the phone with my business partner.
9:28 PM: Ethan Hawke comes out to give the Best ensemble honor. This will be very interesting to see who wins this. "Silver Linings Playbook"? "Bernie"? "Moonrise Kingdom"? "Safety Not Guaranteed"? "Your Sister's Sister"?
Winner: "Your Sister's Sister"
Oh, Gothams. You so don't want to play the awards season game. Duplass thanks DeWitt and Blunt for sleeping on the floor on an island to make the movie. Something tells me the trio didn't think they would take home an award tonight.
9:34 PM: Billy Cudrup comes out to introduce Marion Cotillard for another one of tonight's tributes. The actors have worked together three times since Tim Burton's "Big Fish" back in the day. As the audience in NYC watches some of her highlights, we once again get a female reporter who we cannot hear and is lit like she's walking through a basement in "The Blair Witch Project."
Marion Cotillard comes to the stage. Note: she's working the ponytail like something fierce. She says to Cudrup, "Thank you 'you.' You know what I think of you." She wants to thank the storytellers, the independent storytellers. (Also worth noting: her husband is a film director). She thanks IFP for supporting filmmakers and waxes about their commitment to "the story" even through the "extraordinary efforts they need to get financing." She thanks two people whose names she says so fast - one is French - that I can't get it down. She also thanks "Rust and Bone's" director Jaques Audillard, her co-star Matthias Schoenaerts and Sony Pictures Classics.
9:43 PM: Ira Glass and Marshall (?) come out to present the best documentary honor.
Winner: "How To Survive A Plague"
The filmmakers have very prepared remarks. Did they know they were going to win? Hmmm. Great movie though. Would be wonderful if they could make Oscar's final five.
9:53 PM: John Krasinski comes out to give the career tribute to Matt Damon. "I've been a big fan of Matt's for a long, long time. Let's just say I have 'how do you like those apples' tattooed in some painful place." "I realized that I shouldn't be up here. Ben Affleck should be up here." "I decided to go to the IMDB message boards for the people who knows him the best." (Good bit, but the audience isn't laughing much. Perhaps this would be better with an LA crowd?)
9:59 PM: This poor reporter. They keep cutting back to her and NO sound is coming through. For the third time. Now it's just sad.
10:00 PM: Matt Damon comes to the stage. "Alright sit down, everyone's tired. Everyone wants to go home." "Thank you John. That's really great. It's really weird to see your firend and you come up here and you hug and you're like 'I just saw you. We just had dinner together.'" "I was here 15 years ago at the Gotham Awards and I remeber that because it was right before 'Goodwill Hunting' came out and it was the first time my live became surreal because Calvin Klein gave me a suit for free." "I realized I was putting it on and I added up all the clothes I had ever owned in my life they wouldn't be worth as much as the suit I as putting on." "The rest of it is that 15 years later I'm married to this incredible person and I have these great kids and I make movies and that's what I do. I get to make them with people like Gus still. He still returns my call which is great and John and Fran and Rosemarie and Hal Holbrook who is here tonight." "And David O. Russell, I heard what you said before. You're like a wolf and I'm like Sarah Palin in a helicopter. It's only a matter of time motherfucker." "I feel very privileged to do what I do. I have never taken it for granted and I never will. Thank you very much."
10:05 PM: Willem Dafoe comes out to give out the final award of the night, best feature. The nominees: "Bernie," "The Master," "Middle of Nowhere," "The Loneliest Planet" and "Moonrise Kingdom."
Winner: "Moonrise Kingdom"
Nice boost for Focus Features' campaign for "Kingdom." The picture needed this to stay relevant in the race.
Well, Mike Birbiglia comes out and thanks everyone for coming and correctly notes, "good luck getting a cab."
Mr. Kris Tapley will have more perspective and analysis from the Gothams later tonight on HitFix. One lesson learned? Never watch the Gothams anywhere sober.
What did everyone else think?