BEGINNERS and THE TREE OF LIFE Tie for Best Feature at the 2011 Gotham Awards

     November 29, 2011


It’s not even December, but awards season has officially with the handing out of awards.  Last night, the Gotham Independent Film Awards had a tie for Best Feature Film with Mike MillsBeginners and Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life taking the top prize.  Other winners last night included Breakthrough Director for Dee Rees (Pariah), Breakthrough Actor for Felicity Jones (Like Crazy), Best Documentary for Better This World and Best Ensemble for Beginners.

While the Gotham isn’t a bellwether of how the Oscar race will shake out, it can give an indie picture a welcome boost.  Best Feature winners from the past several years include Frozen River, Winter’s Bone, and eventual Best Picture Oscar-winner The Hurt Locker.  Hopefully, the Gothams have given Beginners and Pariah some awards season momentum (I think The Tree of Life is already on everyone’s radar in terms of awareness).  Hit the jump for the full press release.

beginners-movie-poster-1Here’s the press release:



New York, NY (November 28, 2011) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, announced today the winners at the 21st Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards ceremony in New York City’s Cipriani Wall Street. Presented by IFP, the Gotham Independent Film Awards™ is one of the leading awards for independent film and the first major honors of the film awards season. As previously announced, the awards ceremony streamed live in its entirety to a global audience at

A total of 29 films received nominations in seven competitive categories, including: Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Performance, Audience Award and Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You®.

For the second year, IFP will honor the recipient of the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You award with a theatrical release package so the winner WILL show at a Theater Near You. The package includes a one-week run at Cinema Village in New York City, advertising support in the New York Times, and a cash award of $15,000 from The Royal Bank of Canada.

New this year, IFP is proud present the inaugural euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ grant, a $25,000 cash award for an alumnus of IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs. This grant aims to further the careers of emerging women directors by supporting the completion, distribution and audience engagement strategies of their first feature film. In addition to the competitive awards, career tributes were given to actors Gary Oldman and Charlize Theron (Theron tribute sponsored by euphoria Calvin Klein), director David Cronenberg and Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairman and CEO, Tom Rothman.

The 21st Annual Gotham Independent Film Award™ Recipients:

Best Feature presented by Tilda Swinton

A Tie between:


Directed by Mike Mills

Produced by Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech, Miranda de Pencier, Jay Van Hoy, Lars


Released by Focus Features

the-tree-of-life-movie-poster-02TREE OF LIFE

Directed by Terrence Malick

Produced by Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Grant Hill

Released by Fox Searchlight

The Best Feature Jury included: Anne Carey, Jodie Foster, Nicole Kidman, Lee Percy, and

Natalie Portman

Best Documentary presented by director Bennett Miller and documentarian Chris



Directed and produced by Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega

Produced by Mike Nicholson

The Best Documentary Jury included: Jonathan Caouette, Keiko Deguchi, Rachel Grady,

Chris Hegedus and Stanley Nelson

Breakthrough Director Award presented by Alexander Payne and Felicity Jones


Writer and director of Pariah

Released by Focus Features

The Breakthrough Director Jury included: Ellen Kuras, Anthony Mackie, John Cameron

Mitchell, Mike S. Ryan, Mira Sorvino

Felicity-Jones-Like-Crazy-movie-imageBreakthrough Actor Award presented by actors Stanley Tucci and Melissa Leo.


Actor in Like Crazy

Released by Paramount Vantage

The Breakthrough Actor Jury included: Chris Eyre, Melissa Leo, Anne Rosellini, Ira Sachs

and Jeffrey Wright

Best Ensemble Performance Award presented by actor/director Vera Farmiga and

actor Peter Facinelli

Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic, Kai Lennox,

Mary Page Keller, Keegan Boos


Released by Focus Features

The Best Ensemble Performance Jury included: Lena Dunham, Ryan Fleck, Peter Hedges,

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Emily Watson.

Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You Award presented by actor Judy Greer

and RBC CEO, Mark Standish


Blue Hadaegh & Grover Babcock, Directors and Producers

The recipient of The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You™ award was

determined by the editors of Filmmaker magazine, a publication of IFP, and a curator

from The Museum of Modern Art.

Gotham Independent Film Audience Award sponsored by Heineken USA and presented

by actors Sarah Paulson and Zachary Quinto.


Justin Lerner, Director

Produced by Jerad Anderson, Kristina Lauren Anderson, Justin Lerner, Shaun O’Banion

The Audience Award was voted on line by filmgoers who love movies.

euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ grant

presented by Shailene Woodley.


for upcoming film UNA NOCHE

The euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers’ ‘Live the Dream’ grant jury

included: Zoe Cassavetes, Katherine Dieckmann, Judy Greer and Jon Kilik.

The Premier Sponsors of the Gotham Independent Film Awards™ are Royal Bank of

Canada (RBC) and The New York Times, Presenting Sponsor euphoria Calvin Klein,

Official Partners: Heineken USA (sponsor of the Gotham Independent Film Audience

Award); Russian Standard Vodka; charitybuzz; MoMA; Andaz Wall Street; Official

Haircare Partner BaBylissPRO and Official Wine Partner Mionetto Prosecco.

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