Minutes after the Gotham Independent Film Award nominations were revealed this morning, the Hollywood Elsewhere Gotham Award winners were announced.
Best Feature: Why did we have to choose between Birdman and Boyhood? Why couldn’t the HE Gothams split the difference and give a Best Soulful If Abusive Family Film With a Time-Gimmick Award to Boyhood and Best Middle-Aged Creative Anguish Floating Steadicam Dark Comedy Award to Birdman? Why does it have to be an either-or? Okay, fine….Birdman.
Best Documentary: Sorry, Steve James, but it has to go to Citizenfour. I’m not being facile because I really am sorry, hombre, but…you know. The Academy pudgheheads (some of whom, trust me, are shrugging their shoulders as some of them always do whenever a truly momentous doc comes along) have to be instructed that Citizenfour is an instant classic. I’d like to say there was a lot of anguish and deliberation involved in deciding this but there wasn’t. Honest, non-hostile question: Why wasn’t Rory Kennedy‘s Last Days in Vietnam at least nominated? Is it because she’s a West Coast gal?
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award: Dear White People‘s Justin Simien, not because the film is anything special (I barely got through my viewing at Sundance ’14) but because every critic on the face of the globe thought it was great and because Simien is cappucino and…well, you know, we don’t want to make the wrong call. My real choice is Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy for delivering a seriously clean, sharp and malignant melodrama, and for creating the most original monster of the year in Jake Gyllenhaal‘s video-hound Lou. HE’s Runner-up award goes to Coherence‘s James Ward Byrkit, a good fellow who made a highly gripping, zero-FX horror film.
Best Actor: Tie between Bill Hader, The Skeleton Twins (Lionsgate/Roadside) and Miles Teller, Whiplash. If I had to choose I’d give it to Hader. I’m sidestepping Keaton as he’ll probably win the Best Actor Oscar and doesn’t need the Gotham hug as much as Hader or Teller.
Best Actress: I haven’t seen Julianne Moore in Still Alice but she’s got the headwind, no? Patricia Arquette is affecting and even penetrating in Boyhood but in a sense she’s playing a kind of monster who subjects her children to not one but two abusive alcoholic stepdads. One asshole is a mistake, two assholes are unforgivable.
Special Kris Tapley Award for Breakthrough Actor: Macon Blair (who?) in Blue Ruin. Seriously, my choice is Jenny Slate in Obvious Child, which I came late to.