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IFP kudos lean ‘Sideways’

Buddy comedy beats 'Mind', 'Heart', 'Primer', 'Sunset'

NEW YORK — Fox Searchlight’s “Sideways” continued its awards-season run Wednesday night when the IFP’s New York branch named the pic the year’s best at its 14th annual Gotham Awards.

Earlier this week, Alexander Payne’s arty update on the buddy comedy, starring Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church, dominated nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards, handed out by the IFP’s Los Angeles org, with six.

“Sideways” beat out “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “I Heart Huckabees,” “Primer” and “Before Sunset” to win its Gotham honor.

The Gotham Award for docu went to Jonathan Demme’s “The Agronomist,” which centers on Haitian journalist and activist Jean Dominique.

Demme was on hand to accept the honor with producer Peter Saraf and Dominique’s widow, Michelle Montas. Pic, which beat out “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “Bright Leaves,” “Tarnation” and “In the Realms of the Unreal,” was released by ThinkFilm and HBO.

This year the Gothams were relaunched as an awards-season show, with best pic and docu categories. Ceremony, held at Chelsea Piers, aired on cable net IFC; Bob Balaban was emcee.

“Maria Full of Grace” star Catalina Sandino Moreno won the Gotham for breakthrough actor, and that film’s helmer, Joshua Marston, took breakthrough directing honors.

Pic is an HBO and Fine Line rollout.

Tribute awards were also handed out to Michael Moore, Don Cheadle, Dan Talbot and the creative team behind Focus Features’ “Eternal Sunshine.”

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