“Spotlight” was named best feature at the 2015 Gotham Awards, capping an evening of wins for the film that also included the award for screenplay and a previously announced special jury prize for its acting ensemble.
Actress Bel Powley beat out heavyweight competition — including Cate Blanchett, Blythe Danner and Lily Tomlin — to win the award for best actress for her work in “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” while Paul Dano snagged best actor for his performance in “Love & Mercy.” The Gothams also singled out “Mr. Robot” as the winner of its first award for breakthrough longform series.
The Gotham Awards marked the start of film industry’s awards season with a Nov. 30 ceremony in New York, honoring winners drawn from a pool of independent contenders including “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” which earned four nominations, as well as “Carol” and “Tangerine,” which picked up three apiece. Hosted by the “Broad City” duo of Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, the evening also included the inaugural winners in new serialized content categories, which encompassed nominees from TV and digital.
The screenplay award for “Spotlight” went to Tom McCarthy, who also directed, and co-screenwriter Josh Singer. The film went into the ceremony with one award already under its belt, having previously been named the recipient of a special ensemble award for a cast that includes Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup and Brian D’Arcy James.
The whole crew showed up to collect the award. “To get one actor to give an ego-sublimated, selfless performance is an achievement,” Ruffalo said. “To get a whole group of actors do it together is a frickin’ miracle!”
“Tangerine” won the audience award, with the film taking the trophy not long after its win in the breakthrough actor category for star Mya Taylor.
Taylor wasn’t there to accept her award (she’d missed a flight), but “Tangerine” director Sean Baker spoke on behalf of the trans actress. “My hope is that the industry embraces Mya and embraces Kiki,” he said from the podium, referring also to Taylor’s co-star in the film, Kitana Kiki Rodriguez. “They’ve proven there’s trans talent out there. It’s just up to us to look, and up to us to cast.”
Nadia Manzoor and Radhka Vaz’s indie web series “Shugs and Fats” picked up the honor for breakthrough shortform series, and Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence” won the honor for best documentary.
Glazer and Jacobson kicked off the ceremony with a little gentle ribbing of the Gothams, which earned a few jabs for a lineup of nominees full of dark subject matter. “You know what’s not too dark? The nominees for best actor and best actress,” Jacobson cracked. “That’s right. Eleven white people!” Glazer added.
The evening encompassed career tributes to figures including Anonymous Content chief Steve Golin — who had a good night, with wins for Anonymous Content titles “Spotlight” and “Mr. Robot” — as well as Helen Mirren and Robert Redford. Mirren gave a particularly memorable speech, while Redford told a story about keeping humble in the face of success.
“Just at the moment when I was beginning to think, ‘Yeah, maybe I am a big deal,’ I was crossing Wilshire Boulevard and was just about to step off the curb and a car with a bunch of teenagers came roaring towards me,” he remembered. “I see them going ‘Robert Redford! Robert Redford!’ And then they go, ‘You are such an a–hole!’ And from then on I realized where my place was.”
The full list of 2015 nominees is below, with winners marked in bold.
Todd Haynes, director; Elizabeth Karlsen, Tessa Ross, Christine Vachon, Stephen Woolley, producers (The Weinstein Company)
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Marielle Heller, director; Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit, Miranda Bailey, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)
Heaven Knows What
Josh and Benny Safdie, directors; Oscar Boyson, Sebastian Bear-McClard, producers (RADiUS)
Tom McCarthy, director; Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Blye Pagan Faust, producers (Open Road Films)
Sean Baker, director; Darren Dean, Shih-Ching Tsou, Marcus Cox & Karrie Cox, producers (Magnolia Pictures)
Approaching the Elephant
Amanda Rose Wilder, director; Jay Craven, Robert Greene, Amanda Rose Wilder, producers (Kingdom County Productions)
Matthew Heineman, director; Matthew Heineman, Tom Yellin, producers (The Orchard and A&E IndieFilms
Heart of a Dog
Laurie Anderson, director; Dan Janvey, Laurie Anderson, producers (Abramorama and HBO Documentary Films)
Listen to Me Marlon
Stevan Riley, director; John Battsek, RJ Cutler, George Chignell, producers (Showtime Documentary Films)
The Look of Silence
Joshua Oppenheimer, director; Signe Byrge Sørensen, producer (Drafthouse Films)
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award
Desiree Akhavan for Appropriate Behavior (Gravitas Ventures)
Jonas Carpigano for Mediterranea (Sundance Selects)
Marielle Heller for The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sony Pictures Classics)
John Magary for The Mend (Cinelicious Pics)
Josh Mond for James White (The Film Arcade)
Carol, Phyllis Nagy (The Weinstein Company)
The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Marielle Heller (Sony Pictures Classics)
Love & Mercy, Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner (Roadside Attractions, Lionsgate, and River Road Entertainment)
Spotlight, Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Open Road Films)
While We’re Young, Noah Baumbach (A24)
Christopher Abbott in James White (The Film Arcade)
Kevin Corrigan in Results (Magnolia Pictures)
Paul Dano in Love & Mercy (Roadside Attractions, Lionsgate, and River Road Entertainment)
Peter Sarsgaard in Experimenter (Magnolia Pictures)
Michael Shannon in 99 Homes (Broad Green Pictures)
Cate Blanchett in Carol (The Weinstein Company)
Blythe Danner in I’ll See You in My Dreams (Bleecker Street)
Brie Larson in Room (A24 Films)
Bel Powley in The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sony Pictures Classics)
Lily Tomlin in Grandma (Sony Pictures Classics)
Kristen Wiig in Welcome to Me (Alchemy)
Rory Culkin in Gabriel (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
Arielle Holmes in Heaven Knows What (RADiUS)
Lola Kirke in Mistress America (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in Tangerine (Magnolia Pictures)
Mya Taylor in Tangerine (Magnolia Pictures)
* The 2015 Best Actor/Best Actress nominating panel also voted to award a special Gotham Jury Award jointly to Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci and Brian D’Arcy James for their ensemble work in Spotlight. (Open Road Films).
Breakthrough Series – Long Form
“Jane the Virgin,” Jennie Snyder Urman, Creator (The CW)
“Mr. Robot,” Sam Esmail, Creator (USA Network)
“Transparent,” Jill Soloway, Creator (Amazon)
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, Creators (Netflix)
“UnREAL,” Marti Noxon, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, Creators (Lifetime)
Breakthrough Series – Short Form
“Bee and PuppyCat,” Natasha Alllegri, Creator (Cartoon Hangover)
“The Impossibilities,” Anna Kerrigan, Creator (seriesofimpossibilities.com)
“Qraftish,” Christal, Creator (Blackgirldangerous.com)
“Shugs and Fats,” Nadia Manzoor and Radhka Vaz, Creator (ShugsandFats.TV)
“You’re So Talented,” Sam Bailey, Creator (Open TV)