Indie kudos show Gotham spirit

Leigh, Madsen show love in Big Apple

NEW YORK — U.K. helmer Mike Leigh was certainly in a New York state of mind when he landed in the Big Apple to accept a lifetime achievement honor at the IFP/New York’s Gotham Awards Wednesday night at Chelsea Piers.

“New York is a wonderful place,” enthused the tuxedoed “Vera Drake” helmer. “For me, it’s one of my favorite cities in the world, and it has one fantastic, special feature: that it isn’t Los Angeles.”

The event drew a high wattage crowd this year — Jim Carrey, Mark Wahlberg and Jonathan Demme were in the aud — as well as a who’s who of indie film execs.

At the Kodak-Indiewire after-bash, Virginia Madsen mulled the impact of “Sideways”‘ best film nod.

Clearly gratified by the early win, she said, “I hope there’ll be others to follow.” She noted that the last time she crossed a stage to accept a statuette was at the 1988 Cable Ace awards — when she won for her perf in a Showtime film, entitled, somewhat ironically, “Gotham.”

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