Executive director of Gotham Jeffery Sharp stands before a golden backdrop. The word ‘award’ sits in big block letters behind him. He expresses gratitude towards Gotham’s and independent artists’ accomplishments. He thanks celebrities in attendance, like Adam Sandler and Gina Prince-Bythewood. He welcomes editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair Radhika Jones to present the first Gotham Award.
The Gotham Film and Media Institute provides important access, resources, and recognition for students and creators. Gotham hopes to elevate untold cultural stories across TV, film, and audio. The Gotham Awards annually showcase the best in independent film entertainment. For 2022, Vanity Fair served as premiere sponsor. Greenslate served as a platinum sponsor. Other sponsors included JetBlue, Justin Wines, Cadillac and Fiji Water. Companies in the tribute circle included Netflix, Apple TV+, Audible, and Universal.
The Knockturnal had the pleasure of sitting at Blue Moon beer’s table. Attendees at the gala enjoyed Blue Moon’s all night. We were especially honored to be sitting with legendary actor Brian d’Arcy James, who was Blue Moon’s VIP guest. Brian was there celebrating The Cathedral that was nominated for Best Picture as a guest of Blue Moon beer. It was surreal to be back there as last time he was there was when he won the Ensemble award for the feature film Spotlight as part of the cast. He was also on a huge high as just last week he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in the category of Best Supporting Performance, his first individual nod as actor in a film and those awards will be given out in March of next year. You can see him for six more weeks starting in Into The Woods on Broadway!
Celebrity guests including Adam Scott, Brendan Fraser, and Gabrielle Union. Joel Kim Booster, Bryan Tyree Henry, and Janelle James attended. Blue Moon’s backstage winners’ room features winners, honorees, and guests. Solvan “Slick’ Naim, Mo Amer, and Ramy Youssef (from Ramy) toasted to their success. Daniel Scheinart, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jonathan Wang, and Daniel Wang (from Everything, Everywhere All at Once) celebrated their win. Honoree Adam Sandler partied as well.
Jennifer Lawerence presents the Best Feature award to Everything, Everywhere All At Once. She notes how independent film creates “intimate stories that demand we pay attention.” The creative team thanks A24 and producers for the technicality behind the movie. He says, “Behind all the glitz and glamor, there is a desk and a person.” Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert receive praise for their film.
Adam Sandler accepts the Performer Tribute award. His teenage daughters allegedly wrote his speech. Sanders explains his reason: “I said ‘Daddy’s tired.’” A hilarious, crowd-rousing speech ensues. His daughters describe what they think of Sandler: “a 56-year-old uncut gem” with “an iconic Southern accent.” Sandler smiles wide at the adjectives. His daughters thank Gotham for selecting Sandler.
Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Furgeson presents the Ensemble Tribute to ‘Fire Island.’ He discusses the real Fire Island as an LGBTQIA+ pride. He says, “It’s the gayest, sexiest, most fun summer party.” Tyler notes that Pride and Prejudice inspired the screenplay. Upon accepting the award, the cast applauds director Andrew Ahn. The cast says, “We could not have been The Ensemble that we were without him.”
CODA Actress Emilia Jones presents the Best Supporting Performance award to Ke Huy Quan. Jones notes the importance of strong characters in film. She says they allow us to “invest in their relationships, the people around them.” In his acceptance speech, Quan notes his love for Adam Sandler. Additionally, he references his career’s progress. Quan says, “This time last year all I was hoping for was just a job.” He thanks Gotham for the award.
Jonathan Majors and Derik Murphy present the Icon Tribute for Sidney Poitier. Poitier’s daughters— Anika, Pamela, and Sherri— accepted the award on his behalf. Majors and Murphy discuss the origin of the Icon Tribute: to call attention to minority filmmakers’ works. The speakers say Poitier’s “work and activism changed the way we see movies and the way we see ourselves.” Majors shares a personal letter he wrote to Poitier early in 2022. Poitier’s daughters spoke about his passion for independent film.
The breakthrough performer category featured international actors, gritty dramas, and cultural commentary. Winner Gracija Filipovic the influence of American entertainment in Croatia. She remembers wandering through a Croatian theater and dreaming big. “I told myself I was going to come to New York.” Filipovic credit to her film’s director. “She taught me everything I know about movies, art, and life.”
Audible.com founder Don Katz receives a tribute for his company’s success. Julianne Moore discusses Katz’ brief biography and business ventures. She says, “Audible’s mission was to celebrate words as performance art and take spoken word into the media.” In his speech, Katz describes his company’s unique audiobook creation process. He invites actors to record the book as a script. He notes the creative liberation of not needing special hair or makeup.
Winner of three 2021 Gotham Awards Maggie Gyllenhaal underlines a great screenplay’s importance. She asks the audience to applaud every screenplay nominee. “It’s really hard to write a script,” she says. Winner Todd Field opens his speech with the definition of ‘best.’ He says the word should have no meaning in creative contexts. “We pray for it so the things we made will be seen and heard.” He says that writing a screenplay involves a self-critical eye.
Film director of “Elvis,” Baz Luhrmann asks the audience to applaud Field’s sentiments again. Luhrmann notes the importance of award shows: “to remember what movies can do for us in a global interconnected society.” He presented the Best International Feature award to director Audrey Diwan. She thanks the film producer who fought against creative team layoffs.
Two-time Gotham Award winner Paul Dano highlights Michelle Williams’ accomplishments. He mentions Williams’ early success on ‘Dawson’s Creek.’ He credits her with roles in ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and independent film ‘The Station Agent.’ “I think there is the sense of bravery and searching that runs through Michelle William’s career.” In her speech, Williams wishes that Mary Beth Peil could attend the awards. She notes the early-career support from Peel.
The 32nd Annual Gotham Award recipients are:
For Best Feature, presented by Jennifer Lawrence
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
Produced by Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Mike Larocca, Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, and Jonathan Wang
Released by A24
The Best Feature jury included Colman Domingo, Mary Harron, Bill Holderman, Emily Mortimer, and Michael H. Weber.
For Best Documentary Feature, presented by Soledad O’Brien and Alina Cho
All That Breathes
Directed Shaunak Sen
Produced by Aman Mann, Shaunak Sen, and Teddy Leifer
Released by Sideshow & Submarine Deluxe in association with HBO Documentary Films
The Best Documentary jury included Jessica Beshir, Keiko Deguchi, Grace Lee, Jonas Poher Rasmussen, and Bassam Tariq.
For Best International Feature, presented Baz Luhrmann
Directed by Audrey Diwan
Produced by Edouard Weil and Alice Girard
Released by IFC Films
The Best International Feature jury included Michael Greyeyes, Brittany S. Hall, Talia Kleinhendler, Andrij Parekh, and Jeremiah Zagar.
For Outstanding Lead Performance, presented by Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong’o
Danielle Deadwyler in Till
Released by United Artists Releasing / Orion Pictures
The Outstanding Lead Performance jury included Richard Gladstein, Lily Gladstone, Aldis Hodge, Pamela Koffler, and Jay Van Hoy.
For Outstanding Supporting Performance, presented by Emilia Jones
Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All At Once
Released by A24
The Outstanding Supporting Performance jury included Thuso Mbedu, Simon Rex, Michael Sarnoski, Emma Seligman, and Katie Silberman.
For Breakthrough Performer, presented by Radhika Jones and Jeffrey Sharp
Gracija Filipovic in Murina
Released by Kino Lorber
The Breakthrough Performer jury included Ana Lily Amirpour, Jasmine Batchelor, Tristan Goligher, Jeremy O. Harris, and Alex Thompson.
For Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director, presented by Darren Aronofsky
Charlotte Wells for Aftersun
Released by A24
The Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director jury included Jayme Lemons, Payman Maadi, Crystal Moselle, Kristen Stewart, and Neil Creque Williams.
For Best Screenplay, presented by Maggie Gyllenhaal
Todd Field for Tár
Released by Focus Features
The Best Screenplay jury included Clea DuVall, David Henry Hwang, Marian Macgowan, Chris Messina, and Keenan Scott II.
For Breakthrough Series (Over 40 Minutes), presented by Stephanie March and Brian Tyree Henry
Created by Soo Hugh
Executive Produced by Soo Hugh, Michael Ellenberg, Lindsey Springer, Theresa Kang-Lowe, Richard Middleton, Kogonada, and Justin Cho.
The Breakthrough Series (Over 40 Minutes) jury included Nikole Beckwith, Roxann Dawson, Evan Hayes, Corbin Reid, and Bradley Whitford.
For Breakthrough Series (Under 40 Minutes), presented by Aubrey Plaza and Adam Scott
Created by Mohammed Amer and Ramy Youssef
Executive Produced by Mohammed Amer, Ramy Youssef, Ravi Nandan, Hallie Sekoff, Solvan “Slick” Naim, Harris Danow, and Luvh Rakhe.
The Breakthrough Series (Under 40 Minutes) jury included Ryan Cunningham, Leigh Davenport, Edi Gathegi, Carly Hugo, and Devery Jacobs.
For Outstanding Performance in a New Series, presented by Ramy Youssef and Mohammed Amer
Ben Whishaw in This is Going to Hurt
AMC+ in association with BBC
The Outstanding Performance in a New Series jury included Stephanie Allain, John David Coles, Rafael Casal, Nia DaCosta, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph.
For Breakthrough Nonfiction Series, presented by Devery Jacobs and Helena Howard
We Need To Talk About Cosby
Created and directed by W. Kamau Bell
Executive Produced by W. Kamau Bell, Andrew Fried, Katie A. King, Vinnie Malhotra, Dane Lillegard, Sarina Roma, and Jordan Wynn
The Breakthrough Nonfiction Series jury included Yoni Brook, Lisa Cortés, Michael Gottwald, Hasan Minhaj, and Caroline Waterlow.
In the winners room, we spoke with Adam Sandler and asked him how New York has impacted him as an actor and creative. See what he had to say below!