Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name” received the top prize as best feature film Monday Night at the 27th Annual IFP Gotham Awards at Cipriani Wall Street.
This was a stunning upset since Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” received trophies for Breakthrough Director and Screenplay, along with the Audience Award, and was considered the evening’s big favorite.
The best feature film award is the one to watch since the three previous winners — Spotlight, Birdman and Moonlight — later took home Oscars.
Another big winner Monday evening was Timothée Chalamet, who was named breakthrough actor for his role as Elio, a love struck 17 year-old who falls for Olivier, the 24-year-old visitor (Armie Hammer) who arrives at his family’s Italian estate for the summer to be an academic assistant to his father (Michael Stuhlbarg).
James Franco won Best Actor for his role in “The Disaster Artist” as Tommy Wiseau, the real-life story of the man who directed and starred in the cult movie “The Room,” arguably the worst movie every made. Franco’s win was also an upset; he was in a strong field that included Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”), Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”), Robert Pattinson (“Good Time”), Adam Sandler (“The Meyerowitz Stories”) and the late Harry Dean Stanton (“Lucky”). (Lucy Liu was the presenter.)
The Irish actress Saoirse Ronan was named Best Actress for her role as a Sacramento teenager in “Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut. (Armie Hammer presented her with the trophy.)
Both actors are in A24 films and both were announced to be hosting Saturday night Live in December. Now both are also on track to be Oscar nominees.
Career tributes, which were announced previously, went to Jason Blum, the founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions, who told me in the press room that Spike Lee had just wrapped on “Black Klansman, another movie that seems like it lends itself to a twist like his hit “Get Out.”
Other career tributes went to Al Gore, Sofia Coppola, Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman, and the legendary cinematographer Ed Lachman.
The cast of Dee Rees’ “Mudbound” took home the Special Jury Award for Ensemble Performance. Mary J. Blige, who was in the running for breakthrough actor, received a shout out from winner Timothée Chalamet, who mentioned how much he admired her talent in both arts. (In the press room later he told me he hadn’t yet met his idol and that music was as important to him as acting.)
No one seemed happier to be receiving a tribute than Michael Kenneth Williams, born in Brooklyn, who received the Made in NY Award. He is the first recipient of this award.
Host John Cameron Mitchell made numerous political references and like hosts before him at the Gotham, they mainly tanked.
Other interesting side notes:
On the red carpet Michael Stuhlbarg told me — before “Call Me By Your Name” won best feature of course— that Luca Guadagnino had already approached the cast about doing a sequel. Chalamet told me in the press room that he would be happy to continue Elio’s story.
Nicole Kidman came to the podium barefoot to accept her trophy in the spirit of independent film she said and at what should therefore be a “cool” event. In the press room before she arrived without her shoes on, photographers were told not to photograph her feet.
James Franco arrived in the press room with a large cream colored stain on his jacket, so Lucy Liu, who was the presenter, leaned into him strategically to cover the stain while photographers took photographs of the two of them.
Other awards went to:
Best Documentary: Strong Island Yance Ford, director (Netflix).
Breakthrough Series – Long Form
Atlanta, Donald Glover, creator; Donald Glover, Dianne McGunigle, Paul Simms, executive producers (FX Networks).
Breakthrough Series – Short Form
The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes, Nancy Andrews, creator (YouTube).