It was clearly "Winter's Bone's" night at the 20th Anniversary Gotham Awards.  The Sundance Film Festival dramatic jury prize winner won both the best film and best ensemble awards.  The Gothams certainly have a place in the heart of New York's independent film community, but you could easily argue the Independent Spirit Award nominations themselves (not even the winners) have a bigger impact on most of the year end races.   Here's a rundown of this year's list of winners and some quick reaction.

FESTIVAL GENIUS AUDIENCE AWARD

"Waiting for Superman"  - WINNER

Analysis: Beating out "Winter's Bone" is no easy feat.  Nice coup for the Paramount Sundance pickup that's hoping to win the best doc award at the Oscars.

BEST FEATURE
 
"Black Swan"
Darren Aronofsky, director; Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin, producers (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
 
"Blue Valentine"
Derek Cianfrance, director; Jamie Patricof, Lynette Howell, Alex Orlovsky, producers (The Weinstein Company)
 
"The Kids Are All Right"
Lisa Cholodenko, director;  Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray, Jordan Horowitz, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Philippe Hellmann, producers (Focus Features)
 
"Let Me In"
Matt Reeves, director; Simon Oakes, Alex Brunner, Guy East, Tobin Armbrust,  Donna Gigliotti, John Nording, Carl Molinder, producers (Overture Films)
 
"Winter’s Bone"  - WINNER
Debra Granik, director; Anne Rosellini, Alix Madigan-Yorkin, producers (Roadside Attractions)

Analysis: Not necessarily unexpected, but not sure it helps the film get anywhere close to the top 10 in the best picture race.  The Spirit Award nominations (tomorrow) will be more indicative of the film's chances there. Would have been nice for "Swan" or "Kids" to have a night to celebrate, but they may just have to make due with singular acting wins along the way.
 
BEST DOCUMENTARY
 
"12th & Delaware"
Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, directors/producers (HBO Documentary Films)
 
"Inside Job"
Charles Ferguson, director; Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)

"The Oath" - WINNER
Laura Poitras, director/producer (Zeitgeist Films and American Documentary/POV)
 
"Public Speaking"
Martin Scorsese, director; Martin Scorsese, Graydon Carter, Margaret Bodde, Fran Lebowitz, producers (HBO Documentary Films)
 
"Sweetgrass"
Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash, directors; Ilisa Barbash, producer (Cinema Guild)

Analysis: Somewhat of a surprise, but critically acclaimed documentary about two accused terrorists upsets Charles Ferguson's "Inside Job."  And, it's not on the Academy's shortlist.  Sigh.
 
 
BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE
 
"The Kids Are All Right"
Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson (Focus Features)
 
"Life During Wartime"
Shirley Henderson, Ciarán Hinds, Allison Janney, Michael Lerner, Chris Marquette, Rich Pecci, Charlotte Rampling, Paul Reubens, Ally Sheedy, Dylan Riley Snyder, Renée Taylor, Michael Kenneth Williams (IFC Films)
 
"Please Give"
Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Ann Guilbert, Lois Smith, Sarah Steele, Thomas Ian Nicholas (Sony Pictures Classics)
 
"Tiny Furniture"
Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham, Rachel Howe, Merritt Wever, Amy Seimetz, Alex Karpovsky, David Call,  Jemima Kirke, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Garland Hunter, Isen Hunter (IFC Films)
 
"Winter’s Bone" - WINNER
Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Lauren Sweetser, Garret Dillahunt, Kevin Breznahan
(Roadside Attractions)

Analysis: This helps "Winter's Bone's" cause for SAG and might even help with some critic's groups.  Certainly makes up for Lawrence's loss in the Breakthrough Actor category.  "Kids" losing is not that much of a surprise since it's such an LA-centric film. 
 
 
BREAKTROUGH DIRECTOR
 
John Wells for "The Company Men" (The Weinstein Company)
Kevin Asch for "Holy Rollers" (First Independent Pictures) - WINNER
Glenn Ficarra and John Requa for "I Love You Phillip Morris" (Roadside Attractions)
Tanya Hamilton for "Night Catches Us" (Magnolia Pictures)
Lena Dunham for "Tiny Furniture" (IFC Films)

Analysis: Um, OK.  Not sure, why this happened. Easily the least critically popular film among the group.  I hate to say it, but maybe this was one of those times Mr. Asch had more friends on the committee than anyone else.  Truth hurts.


BREAKTHROUGH ACTOR
 
Prince Adu in "Prince of Broadway" (Elephant Eye Films)
Ronald Bronstein in "Daddy Longlegs" (IFC Films) - WINNER
Greta Gerwig in "Greenberg" (Focus Features)
Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter’s Bone" (Roadside Attractions)
John Ortiz in "Jack Goes Boating" (Overture Films)

Analysis: Surprise.  This is not so good for Lawrence who is hunting for a best actress nod and who faces an uphill battle in doing so. Even Gerwig winning would have made more sense.  Again, looks like the committee of IFP rewarded a colleague.


BEST FILM NOT PLAYING AT A THEATER NEAR YOU
 
"Kati with an i"
Robert Greene, director; Douglas Tirola, Susan Bedusa, producers
 
"Littlerock" - WINNER
Mike Ott, director; Frederick Thornton, Laura Ragsdale, Sierra Leoni, producers
 
"On Coal River"
Francine Cavanaugh and Adams Wood, directors; Jillian Elizabeth, Adams Wood, Francine Cavanaugh, producers
 
"Summer Pasture"
Lynn True and Nelson Walker, directors/producers; Tsering Perlo, co-director/co-producer
 
"The Wolf Knife"
Laurel Nakadate, director/producer

Analysis:  Gotta be happy for anyone who gets recognition for their film.  If you live in New York the film will soon have a one-week theatrical run.

Follow Gregory Ellwood and Awards Campaign on Twitter @HitFixGregory

Get Instant Alerts - Awards Campaign with Gregory Ellwood
By subscribing to this e-alert, you agree to HitFix Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and to occasionally receive promotional emails from HitFix.

Follow Gregory Ellwood and Awards Campaign on

RSS Facebook Twitter