Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ Wins Best Feature at Gotham Film Awards

"Beasts of the Southern Wild" director wins two awards

The Gotham Independent Film Awards kicked off honors season in New York on Monday night with the best feature film honor going to Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom."

"Beasts of the Southern Wild" was nominated in three different categories but after Jared Leto's "Artifact" claimed the Audience Award at the start of the evening, the Fox Searchlight Pictures release wouldn't sweep. First-time feature director Benh Zeitlin still managed to have a pretty good night, though.

Also read: Gotham Independent Film Awards Nominations: 'Moonrise Kingdom,' 'Bernie' Up for Top Prize

"I feel like 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' should be up here," Leto quipped during his acceptance speech for the Audience Award. And just moments later, it was. Zeitlin won Best Director before taking the stage one more time to be honored with the Bingham Ray Award.

Comedian-turned-filmmaker Mike Birbiglia ("Sleepwalk With Me") hosted the show, but was beaten in the Best Actor category by Emayatzy Corinealdi for her breakthrough performance in "Middle of Nowhere."

Perhaps the biggest shock of the night was the fact that Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" — a strong critics favorite since the fall festivals — and  David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" — a critical and audience favorite since its debut at the Toronto Film Festival — didn't take home any awards.  Both are expected to have a presence in this year's Oscars race.

"Silver Linings Playbook" lost in the Best Ensemble Performance category to Emily Blunt, Rosemarie Dewitt, Mark Duplass for "Your Sisters Sister."  "The Master" lost in the Best Feature category to "Moonrise Kingdom," which had been seen as a longshot contender for the Academy Awards.

Russell received a fervent round of applause when he took the stage during the annual ceremony for a tribute to his work over the years. Similarly, Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard and philanthropist Jeff Skoll of Participant Media were also honored.

David France's "How to Survive a Plague" took home top honors for Best Documentary and Terence Nance's "An Oversimplification of Her Beauty" won Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.

Check out all of the worthy nominees at the 22nd Annual Gotham Awards, presented by the Independent Feature Project (IFP) and held at the Cipriani Wall Street.  Winners are bolded.

Audience Award:

"Artifact" — Bartholomew Cubbins, director; Jared Leto, Emma Ludbrook, producers.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" — Benh Zeitlin, director; Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, producers.
"Burn: One Year on the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit" — Brenna Sanchez, Tom Putnam, directors; Brenna Sanchez, Tom Putnam, producers.
"The Invisible War" — Kirby Dick, director; Amy Ziering, Tanner King Barklow, producers
"Once in a Lullaby: The PS22 Chorus Story" — Jonathan Kalafer, director; Steve Kalafer, Jonathan Kalafer, Bao Nguyen, producers.

Best Feature:

"Bernie" — Richard Linklater, director; Richard Linklater, Ginger Sledge, Celine Rattray, Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer, Matt Williams, David McFadzean, Judd Payne, Dete Meserve, producers (Millennium Entertainment).
"The Loneliest Planet" — Julia Loktev, director; Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Helge Albers, Marie Therese Guirgis, producers (Sundance Selects).
"The Master" — Paul Thomas Anderson, director; Joanne Sellar, Daniel Lupi, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison, producers (The Weinstein Company).
"Middle of Nowhere" — Ava DuVernay, director; Howard Barish, Ava DuVernay, Paul Garnes, producers (AFFRM and Participant Media).
"Moonrise Kingdom" — Wes Anderson, director; Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, Jeremy Dawson, producers (Focus Features).

Best Documentary:

"Detropia" — Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, directors; Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady, Craig Atkinson, producers (Loki Films).
"How to Survive a Plague" — David France, director; Howard Gertler, David France, producers (Sundance Selects).
"Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present" — Matthew Akers, director; Jeff Dupre, Maro Chermayeff, producers (HBO Documentary Films and Music Box Films).
"Room 237" — Rodney Ascher, director; Tim Kirk, producer (IFC Midnight).
"The Waiting Room" — Peter Nicks, director; Peter Nicks, Linda Davis, William B. Hirsch, producers (International Film Circuit).

Best Director:

Zal Batmanglij — "Sound of My Voice" (Fox Searchlight Pictures).
Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky — "Francine" (Factory 25 and The Film Sales Company).
Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin — "Now, Forager" (Argot Pictures).
Antonio Méndez Esparza — "Aquí y Allá" ("Here and There") (Torch Films). 
Benh Zeitlin — "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Fox Searchlight Pictures).

Best Actor:

Mike Birbiglia — "Sleepwalk with Me" (IFC Films).
Emayatzy Corinealdi — "Middle of Nowhere" (AFFRM and Participant Media).
Thure Lindhardt — "Keep the Lights On" (Music Box Films).
Melanie Lynskey  — "Hello, I Must Be Going" (Oscilloscope Laboratories).
Quvenzhané Wallis — "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Fox Searchlight Pictures).

Best Ensemble Performance:

Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey — "Bernie" (Millennium Entertainment).
Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban — "Moonrise Kingdom" (Focus Features).
Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Jenica Bergere, Kristen Bell, Jeff Garlin, Mary Lynn Rajskub — "Safety Not Guaranteed" (Film District).
Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, Shea Wigham, Julia Stiles, John Ortiz, Dash Mihok, Paul Herman — "Silver Linings Playbook" (The Weinstein Company).
Emily Blunt, Rosemarie Dewitt, Mark Duplass — "Your Sisters Sister" (IFC Films)

Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You:

"Kid-Thing" –David Zellner, director; Nathan Zellner, producer.
"An Oversimplification of Her Beauty" — Terence Nance, director; Terence Nance, Andrew Corkin, James Bartlett, producers.
"Red Flag" — Alex Karpovsky, director; Alex Karpovsky, Michael Bowes, producers.
"Sun Don’t Shine" — Amy Seimetz, director; Kim Sherman, Amy Seimetz, producers.
"Tiger Tail in Blue" — Frank V. Ross, director; Adam Donaghey, Drew Durepos, producers.