The Gotham Awards kicked off Monday night in lower Manhattan honoring the best independent films of 2021 with a vaccinated, Covid-tested, in-person ceremony at its longtime Cipriani Wall Street home. It’s a big deal as the first, and the first live, major awards event at a time when the industry has struggled to gather together. It may also be a pivotal time as interesting films for grownups are finally seeing some traction at the box office after a dismal year.
Already, Emilia Jones has won the Breakthrough Performer award for her starring role in Apple’s CODA, and Maggie Gyllenhaal won Best Screenplay for Netflix’s The Lost Daughter. Drive My Car, the Cannes screenplay winner and Japan’s submission to the International Feature Oscar race, won Best International Film.
Lost Daughter and Rebecca Hall’s Passing, also from Netflix, swept the top nominations, which were announced last month in 12 categories. In an interesting shift by organizer Gotham Film & Media Institute (formerly IFP), acting awards are no longer defined by gender; the Best Actress and Best Actor categories are now combined in Outstanding Lead Performance and Outstanding Supporting Performance with double the nominees – to 10, from five.
Tonight’s show also includes four television categories with Netflix’s international sensation Squid Game up for its first wins in Breakthrough Series – Long Format (over 40 minutes), and Outstanding Performer in a New Series for star Li Jung-jae.
The event can be an industry bellwether coming early in awards season and following fall festival buzz. Last year’s Best Feature Gotham went to Nomadland, which went on to win the Oscar. (Other winners at the Gothams last year included Riz Ahmed as best actor for Sound of Metal and Nicole Beharie as best actress for Miss Juneteenth.)
Films released from March 1-December 31, 2021 and TV series from October 1, 2020-September 30, 2021 were eligible for this year’s 31st edition. Budgets are capped at $35 million, which eliminated some interesting indies from contention including Tick..tick…boom!, The Harder They Fall, The French Dispatch and The Tragedy of Macbeth.
The show will also recognize an array of independent talent with honorary awards including Magnolia Pictures’ Eamonn Bowles, Industry Tribute; Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), the Directors Tribute; Netflix’s The Harder They Fall cast, Ensemble Tribute; Peter Dinklage (Cyrano) and Kristen Stewart (Spencer), Performer Tributes; late filmmaker/activist Kathleen Collins, inaugural Gotham Icon Award; and The Actors Fund, the Gotham Impact Salute.
Follow along below as we update with winners as they are announced as well as other coverage from inside the venue:
GOTHAM AWARDS 2021 WINNERS
Best International Feature
Drive My Car
Ryusuke Hamaguchi, director; Teruhisa Yamamoto, producer (Sideshow and Janus Films)
The Lost Daughter
Maggie Gyllenhaal (Netflix)
Emilia Jones in CODA (Apple)
Outstanding Lead Performance
Outstanding Supporting Performance
Best Documentary Feature
Breakthrough Series (under 40 minutes)
Breakthrough Series (over 40 minutes)
Breakthrough Nonfiction Series
Outstanding Performance in a New Series