Gotham Awards: ‘Moonlight’ Scores Best Feature & Screenplay – Winners List

By Anthony D'Alessandro, Amanda N'Duka


The IFP Gotham Awards were handed out at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City tonight, and A24’s Moonlight was off to a good award-season start, taking home Best Feature and Best Screenplay to go with its previously announced special jury ensemble award. Casey Affleck won Best Actor for Manchester by the Sea, and Isabelle Huppert took Best Actress for Elle besting out award doyens Natalie Portman and Annette Bening. Check out the full list of winners below.


In addition to 10 competitive awards being handed out tonight to independent films and series, Amy Adams (who had Arrival and Nocturnal Animals in the mix this awards season), Ethan Hawke, Snowden) director Oliver Stone, who urged young filmmakers to fight oppression during his acceptance speech, and Regency Enterprises owner/producer Arnon Milchan were lauded with Industry tributes.

Manchester By The Sea Casey Affleck
Roadside Attractions/Amazon

Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea, which busted out of the gates at Sundance in January, was up for four noms including feature, screenplay, actor Affleck and breakthrough actor Lucas Hedges.

The Gothams aren’t always an Oscar bellwether, but they surely set the table. On one hand, Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight took best picture and screenplay at the Gothams, wins it would replicate at the Oscars in February. But discrepancies abound. Case in point last year: Brie Larson, who would ultimately win best actress for Room at the Oscars, lost out in her category to The Diary of a Teenage Girl‘s Bel Powley. Paul Dano won best actor for Love & Mercy, but he, along with his fellow nominees in his category–Michael Shannon (99 Homes), Kevin Corrigan (Results), Peter Sarsgaard (Experimenter) and Christopher Abbott (James White) — didn’t steamroll their way through awards season last year.

So, it goes to show how the Gothams aren’t necessarily impacted greatly by the buzz generated by the awards media.  Four-to-five person committees of actors, directors, and other indie notables are responsible with deciding on the winners.

Deadline was live-blogging the awards, and here is how we saw them (all times PT):

7:30 PM  Holy sh!t-balls, I’m freezing my ass off in here.” Danny DeVito’s opening line while onstage to present New Regency founder and Oscar-nominated producer Arnon Milchan with the last Industry Tribute of the evening. Milchan reminisced about his earlier days in the business,”I very lucky. In the beginning in knew nothing”, to his classic films like L.A. Confidential and Natural Born  Killer directed by Stone, which Michan said “took two crazy men” to do. He closed with “this is the first time I get an award that I know I get it in advance.. so thank you.”

7:22 PM A visibly overwhelmed and surprised Isabelle Huppert took the stage to accept the award for Best Actress. “They told me it was a very American award.. and you’re French and you’ll never get it. I feel very American right now.”

7:15 PM Casey Affleck nabs the Best Actor award and admits, “This feels really good, I didn’t think I would care that much.”

7:02 PM  Facebook live stream is back up.

6:55 PM Facebook live stream is down.

6:41 PM Ethan Hawke was awarded  one of the two the Actors Tribute awards, which was presented to him by and emotional Winona  Ryder. He recalled when Matt Damon received the same award when Good Will Hunting came out.  “That was the second time that I was absolutely 100 percent convinced that I was washed up.” He lauded the filmmaking community,  “We are planting a forest of ideas that will open up the access to compassion and the dept to our vision… so it is 100 percent unnecessary to give me a prize for this.”

6:27 PM Moonlight cast take the stage to receive the Special Gotham Jury Award and thank Berry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney for creating such a profound story.  “The experiences of both their pain and joys became a gift to us the actors, said Mahershala Ali. “We are forever changed as a result of this extraordinary experience.”

6:20 PM Key starts off the second half of the ceremony, giving kudos to Stone for taking the “time off from writing [his] Trump screenplay…Please tell me you’re doing that.” He offers some suggestions for potential titles. “JFKKK (Oliver didn’t take to this one), Natural Born Killers 2, W Wasn’t That Bad Afterall” and his personal fave Wall Tweet,” (that one fell flat).

6:05 PM Barry Jenkins wins best screenplay for Moonlight. He’s a Gotham Award alum having been nominated for breakthrough director for Medicine for Melancholy. He thanks distributor A24 for taking a chance on Moonlight “because it doesn’t scream marketability”. Jenkins also gave props to Tarell Alvin McCraney, who couldn’t be at the ceremony tonight “because he’s teaching students…This is a story that couldn’t originate with me and I can’t thank Tarell enough for trusting me with his story.” To date, Moonlight has been on fire at the arthouse B.O. collecting $8.5M through six weeks, close to 200% ahead of last year’s Room at the same point in time.

5:47 PM: All Is Lost helmer J.C. Chandor is presenting Oliver Stone with his career achievement award. Chandor recalled watching Platoon with his father, also a vet, in silence. “That movie allowed me to understand something greater about the world and my father. It brought us together,” said Chandor. “No matter where you stood politically, his movies forced you to confront the issues of the day,” added the filmmaker.

Oliver Stone

Taking the podium, Stone addressed young filmmakers “staying independent is the hard part. You can be critical of your government and we’ve forgotten that.”

“The 1970s can come back if you embody that in your own work. So don’t go easy on what you think is wrong, think internationally, there are other values aside from the echo bowl that we have.”

“(Edward) Snowden said clearly that the mechanism is in place so that when there is another terrorist attack, which inevitably there will be, the next president will have the authority to close  down the system in most oppressive way than it’s ever been. This is a major issue in our time and I hope young people won’t forget this in your work.”

5:24 PM: There’s a sizzle reel playing about moviemaking in NYC as the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is collecting the Appreciation Award. Commissioner Julie Menin who was appointed by Mayor de Blasio in February is picking up the award, along with Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. 130K New Yorkers are employed by film and TV with the industry contributing $9 billion to the city. The city also launched a $5M fund for female filmmakers. Menin is handing out the ‘Made in New York’ award to Aziz Ansari for shooting his Netflix series Master of None in the Big Apple. “This is a small award,” joked Ansari about the logo-coin-like kudo, “we need to make this better for future recipients. This is a coaster. I shoot the show in New York, spend a little bit of the money on the award!” Ansari spoke about going to college at NYU, how he’s an out-of-towner from South Carolina, and how he cut his teeth doing stand-up around the city. “So much shoots here…do you know how much I steal from Mr. Robot‘s crafts services, how many bags of chips?” exclaimed Ansari. Award-winning actress and LGBT activist Judith Light, who stars on Transparent, also received the Made in New York award.

5:00pm: Keegan-Michael Key, whose indie pic about comedy improvisers Don’t Think Twice owns the 2nd best theater average of the year, is hosting the ceremony tonight. He peeled (no pun intended) through and crossed off a slew of opening remarks that would have been appropriate in a Hillary Clinton-won presidency (i.e. “We are very fortunate that we have a voice where the government doesn’t judge or stifle our freedom of speech…nope, can’t use that one). “Our voices need to be heard now more than ever,” said Key, “Sharing stories that happened to you personal can have a profound effect.”

Here is the complete list of winners at the 26th annual Gotham Awards:


Barry Jenkins, director; Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, producers (A24)


Casey Affleck
Manchester by the Sea (Amazon Studios)


Isabelle Huppert
Elle (Sony Pictures Classics)


Cast Of Moonlight


O.J.: Made in America
Ezra Edelman, director; Caroline Waterlow, Ezra Edelman, Tamara Rosenberg, Nina Krstic, Deirdre Fenton, Erin Leyden, producers (ESPN Films)


Trey Edward Shults
Krisha (A24)


Anya Taylor-Joy
The Witch (A24)


Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney; Screenplay by Barry Jenkins (A24)


Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Rachel Bloom & Aline Brosh McKenna, creators; Marc Webb, Rachel Bloom, Aline Brosh McKenna, Erin Ehrlich, executive producers (The CW)


Her Story
Jen Richards and Laura Zak, creators (






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