The awards season has officially been kicked off as the 21st annual Gotham Independent Film Awards announced its winners on Monday, November 28. Coming out as the biggest winner of the evening was "Beginners" as it took home two kudos and beat its strongest competitor, Oscar hopeful "The Descendants".
In addition to winning Best Ensemble Performance, the Mike Mills-directed comedy-drama came out in tie with Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" for Best Feature. On the tie decision, juror Natalie Portman explained that the jury could not choose between the two dramatically different films without feeling as if they were shortchanging one of them.
Other winners at the Gothams included "Pariah" helmer Dee Rees and "Like Crazy" star Felicity Jones. The former outshone Vera Farmiga and three other filmmakers to win Breakthrough Director, while the latter best the likes of Elizabeth Olsen and Shailene Woodley to collect Breakthrough Actor.
Winning the first award of the evening was Justin Lerner's "Girlfriend". The movie about a young man with Down's syndrome wooing a small-town single mom received the most online votes from film festivalgoers, and thus took home the Audience Award. The award ceremony, which took place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, also included career tributes to actress Charlize Theron, actor Gary Oldman, director David Cronenberg and executive Tom Rothman. The hosts for the evening were Edie Falco and Oliver Platt.
Winners of 2011 Gotham Independent Film Awards: