The Gotham Awards were the place to be last night, where crowds of hot young actors and directors jammed into Cipriani downtown at 55 Wall Street. The big winners were Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” director Benh Zeitlin of “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” and a charming, really small budget movie called “Your Sister’s Sister.” (It was made for $80,000.) But the star power made up for it all, with yours truly getting to sit at the table of dazzling honoree Marion Cotillard, who was toasted by actor Billy Crudup for her work in “Rust and Bone.” Also at the table, Marion’s hunky co-star in the film, Matthias Schoenaerts.
Oscar winner Cotillard and Crudup — versatile from “Arcadia” on Broadway to “Almost Famous” on film– turn out to be friends for some time. (Relax, tabloid fiends, they’re just friends.) Marion told me: “He is very frustrating. He doesn’t know how good he is.”
But it was Matt Damon’s table adjacent that really had some action, with John Krasinski and wife Emily Blunt, plus Damon and his wife Lucia, “Promised Land” director Gus van Sant, Rosemarie Dewitt and actor husband Ron Livingston, and occasional drop-ins from the table behind them from their “Promised Land” co-star Frances McDormand. (The movie, which comes out in December, is very good.)
When it was “Silver Linings Playbook” director David O. Russell’s turn to accept his career award (presented by Amy Adams and Jacki Weaver), Russell noted all the great actors he’d worked with. “And I’m hunting down you, Matt Damon.”
Damon returned the compliment. “You’re the wolf and I’m like Sarah Palin in the helicopter with a rifle, and I’m going to get you,” he said, jokingly, to Russell.
Krasinski got some of the best laughs of the night by reading imdb.com message board comments about Damon aloud. One of them, from rainbowdelacruz, posted in September was a big hit: “I must admit right now Im not a big fan of Matt Damon. It just seem like he only plays the clever one of the movies Ive seen with him. But I wanna try to give him a chance. Is there any recommendable movies that he made where he doesnt play the clever one?”
If Hollywood events are often notable for the, er, eclectic state of women’s formal wear, it was very interesting to see how the New York acting set spiffed up. Cotillard, Adams, and Blunt, as well as most of other women in the room including Famke Janssen and up and comer Mickey Sumner, acquitted themselves elegantly. I was very proud of the home team.
Cutest scene of the night: Matthias, who’s at least six foot 1, bending down to meet 9 year old Quvenzhané Wallis, star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” “I loved you in your film,” Matthias said. If he’d asked, she’d have him given him her first autograph.
Happy to see: Charlie Herman, older brother of Paulie Herman, who plays Robert DeNiro’s sidekick in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Charlie and Paulie used to run the famed and legendary Columbus Restaurant on Columbus Avenue back in the 80s. Charlie, still tall and handsome, told he’s retired to Santa Monica. He’s very proud of his brother, who really has a hilarious role in the Oscar buzzed “Silver Linings.” Also there from the Russell film: Shea Wigham, John Ortiz (who gave Billy Crudup a bear hug), and Jacki Weaver, who’s getting a lot of Best Supporting Actress heat for her role as Bradley Cooper’s mother.
Meantime, Harvey Weinstein cut out out a few minutes early to host a party for Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini and co for their film, “Killing Them Softly” at Bungalow 8. Harvey and Brad had no trouble pulling a hot looking crowd on a Monday night. I ran into old friends Vince Curatola (Johnny Sack from “The Sopranos”) and his beautiful wife Maureen. Big stars big security: bodyguards were almost one to one in proportion to guests last night. And that was in the club!