‘Moonlight’ Roars Out of Awards Gate With Big Wins at 2016 Gotham Awards
Awards season, that glorious time of year when works of moving art are made to fight for our amusement and betting-pool glory, lurched into gear last night with the Gotham Independent Awards. A sort of east coast counterpart to Los Angeles’ Independent Spirit Awards, the program recognizes the finest achievements in indie film over the previous year, as selected by the members of the Independent Filmmaker Project. For the past two years, the IFP’s Best Feature designation has effectively predicted the film that will receive the Best Picture Academy Award a couple months later. If that happens to be the case again this year, the Oscar future looks bright — and refreshingly black.
Moonlight was the big victor during last night’s proceedings, waltzing away with the Best Feature prize as well as Best Screenplay, Best Ensemble, and the coveted Audience Award. Barry Jenkins’ openhearted coming-of-age story struck a chord with critics and industry insiders alike, and while it would be just gravy if that enthusiasm translated to more high-profile awards gold down the road, for the moment, it’s nice to see such a superlative film (not to mention one touting black bodies and queer love) getting the love it so richly deserves.
Elsewhere, actors who couldn’t give less of a damn about awards dog-and-pony shows got their moment in the spotlight. The perpetually too-cool-for-this Isabelle Huppert was surprised to hear her name announced as Best Actress for her acidic, vulnerable performance in Paul Verhoeven’s rape-comedy Elle; the French actress was certain a performer from the States would take the prize, but her turn as a video game developer on the hunt for her masked attacker was too much to resist. Same goes for Casey Affleck’s shattering turn as a traumatized janitor in Manchester by the Sea, for which he earned the Best Actor prize. The bearded actor has been playing it cool on the awards circuit, but this win suggests that he could have what it takes to amass much more hardware.
The full list of winners can be found at Variety.