‘Nomadland’ Named Best Film at Gotham Awards

Acting awards went to Riz Ahmed, Nicole Beharie and Kingsley Ben-Adir

Frances McDormand in fox Searchlight's film NOMADLAND
(Joshua Richardson/Searchlight)

“Nomadland” has been named the best independent film of 2020 at the 30th annual Gotham Awards, which were handed out on Monday night at a hybrid ceremony from New York City.

The film won in a category in which all five nominated films were directed by women: Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland,” Kitty Green for “The Assistant,” Kelly Reichardt for “First Cow,” Eliza Hittman for “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” and Natalie Erika James for “Relic.”

The win made Zhao the first director to have two films take the top prize at the Gothams. She won in 2018 for “The Rider.”

Acting awards went to Riz Ahmed from “Sound of Metal” for best actor, Nicole Beharie for “Miss Juneteenth” for best actress and Kingsley Ben-Adir from “One Night in Miami” for breakthrough actor.

The screenplay category resulted in a tie between Radha Blank for “The Forty-Year-Old Version” and Dan Sallitt for “Fourteen.” The documentary category also ended in a tie, with “A Thousand Cuts” and “Time” sharing the honors.

“Identifying Features,” a thriller set on the border between the U.S. and Mexico and probably the least-known of the six nominees for the international feature award, was the winner in that category.

The two television categories for breakthrough series went to “I May Destroy You” for programs under 40 minutes, and “Watchmen” for programs longer than 40 minutes.

“Nomadland” won the audience award, the only Gotham honor not chosen by one of a group of small juries.

Winners of the Gotham Best Feature award have gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture only four times in 16 years, three of those coming in a three-year streak with the consecutive wins of “Birdman” in 2014, “Spotlight” in 2015 and “Moonlight” in 2016. (The only other match was “The Hurt Locker” in 2009.)

The ceremony, which had been delayed from its normal late-fall date, took place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, with a small group of presenters and a skeleton crew in the room, guests occupying virtual interactive tables and winners experiencing the usual array of sound and video problems. Prior to the ceremony, the Independent Filmmaker Project, which has produced the Gotham Awards, announced that it was changing its name to the Gotham Film & Media Institute, or The Gotham for short.

Special tributes were given to director Steve McQueen, director-producer Ryan Murphy, the cast of “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” actress Viola Davis and, posthumously, actor Chadwick Boseman. The New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment presented the “Made in NY” Award to actor Jeffrey Wright, whose Brooklyn for Life! Organization has served meals to first responders, hospital workers and residents of public housing during the pandemic.

The winners:

Best Feature: “Nomadland”
Best Documentary: (TIE) “A Thousand Cuts” and “Time”
Best International Feature: “Identifying Features”
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award: Andrew Patterson for “The Vast of Night”
Best Screenplay: (TIE) “The Forty-Year-Old Version,” Radha Blank, and “Fourteen,” Dan Sallitt
Best Actor: Riz Ahmed in “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
Best Actress: Nicole Beharie in “Miss Juneteenth” (Vertical Entertainment)
Breakthrough Actor: Kingsley Ben-Adir in “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)

Breakthrough Series – Long Format (over 40 minutes): “Watchmen”
Breakthrough Series – Short Format (under 40 minutes): “I May Destroy You”

Audience Award winner: “Nomadland”

Actor Tribute: Chadwick Boseman
Actress Tribute: Viola Davis
Director Tribute: Steve McQueen
Industry Tribute: Ryan Murphy
Ensemble Tribute: “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Made in NY Award: Jeffrey Wright


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