Awards season got off to a very starry start on Monday evening at the 2023 Gotham Awards, held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York.
Talent from this year’s most notable film and television works were in attendance, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, Penélope Cruz, Laura Dern, Greta Lee, Carey Mulligan, Charles Melton, Michelle Williams, Bella Ramsey, A.V. Rockwell, Andrew Scott, Steven Yeun, Cailee Spaeny, Greta Gerwig, Willem Dafoe, Colman Domingo, Bob Odenkirk, Ali Wong, Danielle Brooks, Rebecca Hall and Nicole Beharie.
The night’s best feature was awarded to Celine Song and her debut film “Past Lives,” which stars Greta Lee. Charles Melton took home the best supporting performance award, while Lily Gladstone was recognized with the leading actor award and Ali Wong for television.
“This is actually the first film I’ve ever made,” Song told the room upon accepting the night’s final award, “and a very personal film about an extraordinary feeling I had in an ordinary bar in the East Village, not too many blocks away from here.”
Several of the year’s big blockbuster films were recognized as well, including “Barbie,” “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Maestro.”
“We had the absolute best time from beginning to end making this film, [where] every day felt like the most euphoric collective expression of creativity I’ve ever been part of,” Gerwig said alongside producer and star Robbie while onstage for “Barbie.”
“Having audiences around the world wear pink and show up to the movie theater has literally been a dream come true,” Robbie said.
Gladstone, onstage with the “Killers of the Flower Moon” cast, challenged the filmmakers of the room with a sizable budget to “invest it in the people that you are telling the story about. Your film will be better for it, your lives will be better for it.”
The night’s big story was De Niro’s introduction to the “Killers of the Flower Moon” cast, in which he stopped himself mid-speech to declare his original speech had been edited down to exclude comments on Donald Trump, censorship and treatment of Native Americans.
“History isn’t history anymore. Truth is not truth. Even facts are being replaced by alternative facts and driven by conspiracy theories and ugliness,” De Niro read from his phone, breaking from the teleprompter. “The entertainment industry isn’t immune to this festering disease. The Duke, John Wayne, famously said of Native Americans, ‘I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them.’”
The room was on De Niro’s side, cheering as he went off script. The most touching moment of the night was easily Melton’s win for supporting actor (it’s worth nothing that in the past two years, the recipient of the Gotham for this award has gone on to win the Oscar: Troy Kotsur and Ke Huy Quan).
“This is heavy, this is awesome. I just think about the 23 days in Savannah, Georgia that we spent filming and it’s the greatest experience of my career,” said a flustered Melton from the stage. “And I love you, mom.”