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Gotham Independent Spirits Kick Off Awards Season

Gotham Independent Spirits Kick Off Awards Season

It’s that time of year folks — Christmas trees go up, resolutions are made to be broken, and the hungry hungry hippo Hollywood machine feeds itself into an awards frenzy. Last night, the Gotham Independent Spirit Awards, one of the first out of the gate, handed out its top prizes.

Held at an annual dinner in lower Manhattan, the Gotham awards comprise a large group of industry insiders with a focus on funding and promoting filmmaking outside the studio system. This year, the top honor went to the gay love story Call Me By Your Name, a critics darling since its premiere earlier this year at Sundance. Get Out, the horror thriller by Jordan Peele that took the cineplex by storm earlier this year, also did well, nabbing Best Director and Screenplay as well as the popular vote audience award. Timothee Chalamet, the young star of Call Me, won for best breakthrough performance.

In somewhat of a surprise, James Franco took home the Gotham for Best Actor, a win that could cement his status as an Oscar nominee in January. Don’t expect him to take down Gary Oldman but a win has to be welcome by fans of his spoof film The Disaster Artist. Saorsie Ronan, the star of Lady Bird, won Best Actress, which portends well for the rising young star in an otherwise crowded field for actresses this year.

Awards with a limited contenders field are by definition, well, limited in their value as Oscar harbingers. But don’t dismiss the Gotham awards out of hand just yet. Their last three Best Feature winners are Moonlight, Spotlight, and Birdman. Even the most casual Awards observer will quickly notice that those are the exact same movies that eventually won Best Picture at the Oscars. Will they make it four in a row, or will strong studio fare from Dunkirk to The Post break the spell?

About The Author

J. Don Birnam

J. Don Birnam, a voting member of the New York Film Critics Online, has been a movie lover since he saw the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film in theaters at a tender age, and has been a devoted student of American film history every since. His favorite films range from Back to the Future to West Side Story, depending on the time of day, and has a mildly unhealthy obsessions with the Academy Awards. Any similarity with the slightly unstable writer in the seminal 1944 film 'The Lost Weekend' is pure coincidence

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