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31st Annual 2021 Gotham Awards Winners Announced
- Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021
THE LOST DAUGHTER Wins Four Awards Including Best Feature; SQUID GAME and RESERVATION DOGS Win Series Awards
The Gotham Film & Media Institute (The Gotham) announced the winners of the 31st Annual Gotham Awards at a ceremony held last night at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
Winning Best Feature and three additional awards was The Lost Daughter, director and screenwriter Maggie Gyllenhaal’s assured screen adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s novel about a solitary vacationing professor and mother of two grown daughters whose encounters with a different young mother provoke haunting memories of her own past. Maggie Gyllenhaal also scored two additional individual awards for Best Screenplay and the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director award given to a director for their first fiction feature film. Gyllenhaal had previously won a Gotham Award nineteen years ago in 2002 as Breakthrough Actor for her performance in Secretary. And for her performance as Leda, the complex central character of The Lost Daughter, Olivia Colman received the Outstanding Lead Performance award, having previously received a special Ensemble Performance award in 2018 as part of the lead trio of The Favourite.
Also receiving an Outstanding Lead Performance award was Frankie Faison for his brilliantly varied and devastating performance in The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, based on the true story of the resulting tragedy when police were sent to check on an elderly veteran with physical and mental health issues after his medical alert link was accidentally triggered.
Receiving the Breakthrough Performer award was Emilia Jones for her sensitive–and musical –lead role as a child of Deaf parents torn between her responsibility to her family and the possibility of a future of her own in CODA, for which actor Troy Katsur won the Outstanding Supporting Performance award for playing her funny, opinionated dad who is fearful of losing her but yearning to connect and understand her.
The award for Best Documentary Feature was presented to Flee, the stirring, mostly animated documentary by Danish filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen which recounts the multi-year history from childhood until now of Amin Nawabi (a pseudonym), who with his mother and siblings became refugees fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan, through Russia, and eventually to Denmark where, despite trauma and a hidden past, there’s possibility for Nawabi of a new home and lasting love.
Winning the award for Best International Feature was Drive My Car, directed by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, adapted from a short story by Haruki Murakami into a gently emotional epic in which an actor/director harboring an unspoken grief and anger embarks on directing a multi-language production of Uncle Vanya in another city and gradually opens to his assigned driver, who has losses of her own.
With the awards for television the Gotham Awards for debut series are given annually to those that “enrich the landscape or push the boundaries of television.” Winning the award for Breakthrough Series (Over 40 minutes) was Squid Game, the late-breaking global sensation from Korean writer/director Hwang Dong-hyuk and Netflix that weaves themes of universal economic and social divide and aggressive capitalism with dazzling set pieces, ultra-violence, and even tender moments.
Breakthrough Series (Under 40 minutes) was awarded to Reservation Dogs, created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, which follows a group of teens living on a reservation in Oklahoma and whose petty crimes fuel dreams of escaping to a new life in California. The comedy series is a first to be majority written, directed, acted, and crewed by people of Indigenous descent.
Newly created this year was the first Gotham Award category for series acting – Outstanding Performance in a New Series. Following the Gotham Awards guidelines for gender neutral categorization, there were ten nominees. The jury chose to award two performances “equally undeniable in their craft and staying power” – to Thuso Mbedu, transcendent in the frequently silent central role of Cora in The Underground Railroad and Ethan Hawke in a possible career-best performance as abolitionist John Brown in The Good Lord Bird.
Also added as a new standalone category this year was Breakthrough Nonfiction Series. The winning series was Philly D.A., the propulsive, narratively driven, verité-shot series, created by filmmakers Ted Passon, Yoni Brook, and Nicole Salazar, that follows the first term of crusading Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, elected in 2017 determined to reform the system from within and with the goal of ending mass incarceration.
Career Tributes were also given during the ceremony to performers Kristen Stewart (presented by Julianne Moore and Pablo Larraín) and Peter Dinklage (presented by Ethan Hawke), director Jane Campion (presented by Mark Ruffalo), and the Industry Tribute to Eamonn Bowles (presented by Alex Gibney).
The inaugural Icon Tribute (presented by Kia Brooks, Deputy Director of The Gotham and Seret Scott) was awarded posthumously to poet, playwright, writer, filmmaker, director, civil rights activist, and educator Kathleen Collins and was accepted by her daughter, Nina Lorez Collins. Kathleen Collins’ most known film work is Losing Ground, one of the very first fictional features by an African-American woman filmmaker. The Icon Tribute has been created to call attention to the boldness, artistry, and impact of a filmmaker from a marginalized community whose work has not been previously recognized by the organization in its previous awards history.
An Ensemble Tribute (presented by Jeymes Samuel) was given to the cast of The Harder They Fall, including Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo, LaKeith Stanfield, Danielle Deadwyler, Edi Gathegi, R.J. Cyler, Damon Wayans Jr., Deon Cole with Regina King and Idris Elba.
An Impact Salute (presented by Michael Bloomberg) was given to The Actors Fund in recognition of their leadership role in providing resources, care and financial support to members of the entertainment community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Founded in 1882, the nonprofit serves all professionals—and not just actors—in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance through programs that address the community's unique and essential needs. Brian Stokes Mitchell accepted on behalf of The Actors Fund.
Additionally announced during the ceremony:
The Questlove Gotham EDU Scholarship
Questlove announced the creation of a $150,000 scholarship fund earmarked for HBCU students’ tuition and to allow participation in the Gotham EDU suite of programs and mentor support. The award is supported by iHeartMedia.
Focus Features & JetBlue Student Short Film Showcase
Tessa Thompson announced the winners of the third annual showcase supported by sponsoring partners Focus Features and JetBlue. The program is designed to discover and empower a diverse group of emerging filmmakers and foster multi-platform distribution of their work. Each winner receives a $10,000 grant and have their films shown for twelve months on JetBlue’s seatback entertainment systems under the “Gotham Selects” movie category and on Focus Features digital streaming platforms. Throughout 2022, winning filmmakers will also receive ongoing mentorship and workshopping opportunities from The Gotham.
The winning filmmakers and shorts were:
- Evan Bode, Thine Own Self, Syracuse University
- Jorge G. Camarena, Spaceship, American Film Institute
- Akanksha Chawla, Close Ties to Home Country, Columbia College
- Jun Hee Han, Uncle, University of California, Los Angeles
- J. Sean Smith, #Whitina, University of Southern California
The Gotham Awards ceremony was streamed on Facebook Live and on The Gotham’s YouTube channel.
For photo selects from the event, visit https://dam.gettyimages.com/assignments/2021-gotham-awards
The 31st Annual Gotham Award recipients are:
For Best Feature, presented by Dakota Johnson
The Lost Daughter
Directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal
Produced by Osnat Handelsman Keren, Talia Kleinhendler, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Charles Dorfman
Released by Netflix
The Best Feature jury included Jason Mitchell, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Adele Romanski, Peter Saraf, and Cathy Yan.
For Best Documentary, presented by Devery Jacobs and Michael Greyeyes
Directed Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Produced Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen, and Charlotte De La Gournerie
Released by NEON
The Best Documentary jury included Bonni Cohen, Ramona Diaz, Kirsten Johnson, Roger Ross Williams, and Hao Wu.
For Best International Feature, presented Thandiwe Newton
Drive My Car
Directed by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Produced by Teruhisa Yamamoto
Released by Sideshow and Janus Films
The Best International Feature jury included Jimmie Fails, Eliza Hittman, Orion Lee, Jonathan Raymond, and Catalina Sandino Moreno.
For Outstanding Lead Performance, presented by Dan Levy
To two performers:
Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter, Released by Netflix and Frankie Faison in The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, Released by Gravitas Ventures
The Outstanding Lead Performance jury included Aldis Hodge, Tamara Jenkins, Avy Kaufman, Lisa Kjerulff, and KiKi Layne.
For Outstanding Supporting Performance, presented by Daveed Diggs
Troy Kotsur in CODA
Released by Apple TV+
The Outstanding Supporting Performance jury included Michael Beach, M. Blair Breard, Blythe Danner, Rob Morgan, and Crystal Moselle.
For Breakthrough Performer, presented by Moses Ingram
Emilia Jones in CODA
Released by Apple TV+
The Breakthrough Performer jury included Matt Bomer, Yolonda Ross, Isabel Sandoval, Shari Springer Berman, and Katherine Waterston.
For Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director, presented by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Maggie Gyllenhaal for The Lost Daughter
Released by Netflix
The Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director jury included Anne Carey, Helena Howard, Famke Janssen, John Turturro, and Phillip Youmans.
For Best Screenplay, presented by Joe Wright
Maggie Gyllenhaal for The Lost Daughter
Released by Netflix
For Breakthrough Series (Over 40 Minutes), presented by Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur
Executive Produced by Kim Ji-yeon and Hwang Dong-hyuk
The Breakthrough Series (Over 40 Minutes) jury included Jasmine Batchelor, Eli Goree, Mike Harrop, Amy Koppelman, and Paul Mezey.
For Breakthrough Series (Under 40 Minutes), presented by Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur
Created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi
Executive Produced by Taika Waititi, Sterlin Harjo, and Garrett Basch
The Breakthrough Series (Under 40 Minutes) jury included Adam Goldman, Anna Konkle, Jenni Konner, Victoria Mahoney, and Jonathan Majors
For Breakthrough Nonfiction Series, presented by Jung Ho-yeun
Created by Ted Passon, Yoni Brook, and Nicole Salazar
Executive Produced by Dawn Porter, Sally Jo Fifer, Lois Vossen, Ryan Chanatry, Gena Konstantinakos, Jeff Seelbach, and Patty Quillin
Topic, Independent Lens, PBS
The Breakthrough Nonfiction Series jury included Andrew Jarecki, Laura Ricciardi, Bernardo Ruiz, Elyse Steinberg, and Tracy Heather Strain.
The Premier Sponsor of the 2021 Gotham Awards is The New York Times and the Platinum Sponsors are GreenSlate and AV Club. The Official Auto Partner is Cadillac, the Official Water Partner is FIJI Water, the Official Airline Partner is JetBlue, the Official Wine Partner is Robert Hall Winery, and the Official Tequila Partner is Komos Tequila.
About the Gotham Film & Media Institute
The Gotham celebrates and nurtures independent film and media creators, providing career-building resources, access to industry influencers, and pathways to wider recognition. The organization, under the leadership of Executive Director and award-winning producer Jeffrey Sharp, fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through its year-round programs, which include Gotham Week, Gotham Labs, Filmmaker Magazine, the Gotham Awards, Gotham EDU, Owning It, and Expanding Communities.
About the Gotham Awards
The Gotham Awards, one of the leading honors for independent film and television, provides early acknowledgement to groundbreaking independent films and television series. Selected by distinguished juries and presented in New York City, the home of independent film, the Gotham Awards are the first honors of the film awards season. This public showcase honors the filmmaking community, expands the audience for independent films, and supports the work that The Gotham Film & Media Institute does behind the scenes throughout the year to bring such films to fruition.
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