The Gotham Awards, put on by the Independent Filmmaker’s Project, are one of the earliest movie awards ceremonies of any year, officially kicking off a season of ceremonies and speeches and bitter arguments. The star-studded function was held the first Monday of December, and though the Gothams are geared specifically towards the indie world, they tend to be a good predictor of what titles and names we’ll be hearing a lot over the next few months. Which is to say: Get ready to hear about Marriage Story and Awkwafina a lot.
The comic actress and rapper flexed her talents for the drama The Farewell, playing a young woman who travels to Changchun, China to visit her grandmother before she passes. And it paid off: The film became one of the highest grossing indies of the year, and now Awkwafina has a Gotham for Best Actress — the first of probably many.
Meanwhile, Adam Driver won Best Actor for Marriage Story, which also bagged Best Screenplay for Noah Baumbach, who also directed, as well as the Audience Award. The film, funded (like Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories) by Netflix, follows a couple, played by Driver and Scarlett Johansson, undergoing a painful and messy divorce, involving their young son, countless trips between coasts, and a small number of angry lawyers, one of them played by Laura Dern, who herself received one of the night’s four honorary tributes. (The others were Sam Rockwell, Ava DuVernay, and producer Glen Baswell.)
The Gothams only hand out nine prizes, including for documentary and television. Other nominees, which will also no doubt figure heavily during the rest of awards season, included Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems, Elisabeth Moss in Her Smell, and Alfre Woodard in Clemency.
The full list of winners is below:
Best Documentary: American Factory
Best Screenplay: Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Breakthrough Actor: Taylor Russell, Waves
Audience Award: Marriage Story
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award: Laure De Clermont-Tonnerre, Mustang
Breakthrough Series, Short Form: PEN15
Breakthrough Series, Long Form: When They See Us
Best Actor: Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Best Actress: Awkwafina, The Farewell