“Winter’s Bone,” a movie about a young girl in the Ozarks trying to track her errant, drug dealing daddy, won the Gotham Awards last night in the category of Best Ensemble and Best Feature.
The Roadside Attractions film, as rural as it could be and cheap too with a $2 million budget, beat more sophisticated outings such as “The Kids Are All Right,” “Blue Valentine,” and “Please Give.”
But its win was a victory for extremely low budget films shot without stars or much soap. Strange as it may seem, New Yorkers love a banjo.
Otherwise, the 20th annual Gotham Awards, now delivered at Cipriani Wall Street for the last couple of years, were full of stars and New York glitz.
It was funny to survey the scene. In the 1980s, there was barely a movie business in New York. Warner, Fox, Paramount, Universal, and Disney were the only studios. They had small development offices in New York.
Then the Weinsteins at Miramax, and Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne at New Line, set up shop. Everything changed for the better.
Last night, everyone from Annette Bening to Natalie Portman, Robert Duvall to Jesse Eisenberg flooded Cipriani. Julianne Moore, Barbara Hershey, Hilary Swank, Tony Goldwyn. Mark Ruffalo, Darren Aronofsky, Anne Hathaway, Davis Guggenheim, Winona Ryder, Steve Buscemi, Ethan Hawke, and Anthony Mackie were among the stars who gathered as Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci hosted the show.
Lifetime achievement awards were handed out to Duvall, Aronofsky, Swank, and Focus Features leader James Schamus. The latter used the opportunity to deliver a professorial like address about how films legitimize pornography (I think). He used a white wipe-board and magic markers. It was very scholarly, and a nice break from the usual thank you speech.
Duvall–introduced by “Get Low” co-star Bill Murray with a freewheeling speech–joked about never being in New York and how much he liked Texas. He told one story about being mistaken down there by a fan for Terry Bradshaw.
Do the Gothams affect the Oscars? Not much really. Some voters may go out of their way now to check out “Winter’s Bone,” but Debra Granik’s carefully crafted film is really more for the Indie Spirit Awards.
Indie Spirit nominees will be announced this morning at 11AM Eastern.