‘Spotlight’ Wins Big at Gotham Awards

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Awards season began last night—a full month before the year’s end, natch—with the presentation of the 2015 Gotham Awards, and if you’re drawing connections between these pace-car honors and the big one in February (which I suppose we’ll do now), things are looking very good for Spotlight.

The first-rate newspaper drama from director Tom McCarthy came in to the evening already holding a special award—honoring its ensemble cast, which includes Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup and Brian D’Arcy James—and added honors for Best Screenplay and Best Picture (facing Carol, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Heaven Knows What, and Tangerine in the latter category).

Diary’s 23-year-old marvel Bel Powley beat out such legends as Cate Blanchett, Blythe Danner, and Lily Tomlin for Best Actress, while Paul Dano took Best Actor honors for Love & Mercy . Ceremony hosts Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson noted the dark subject matter of the nominated films wasn’t exactly universal: Variety reports Jacobson joked, “You know what’s not too dark? The nominees for best actor and best actress,” to which Glazer added “That’s right. Eleven white people!”

Tangerine’s Mya Taylor took the evening’s Breakthrough Actor honors, and Jonas Carpignano won the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award for Mediterranea. Joshua Oppenheimer’s stunning The Look of Silence was named Best Documentary, while Mr. Robot won the inaugural Breakthrough Series — Long Form prize, with “Shugs and Fats” taking the Short Form award.

The Gothams, presented by the New York-based Independent Film Project, announced their nominees on October 22, which seems mighty early to access the year in film, though a voter privately assured me, “I don’t think there was any indie of note that wasn’t ready for us — and we saw several that haven’t opened,” noting “no major indies open in the competitive Nov/Dec slot unless they’ve launched at a festival.” Fair enough.