Awards: “Moonrise” Wins Gotham, ZDT Buzz

Monday night saw the holding of one of the first shows of awards season – the Gotham Independent Film Awards. The New York gala focuses on the best of independent film for the year.

Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” took the Best Picture award, beating out the likes of “Bernie,” “The Loneliest Planet,” “The Master” and “Middle Of Nowhere” for the honor.

“How To Survive A Plague” won Best Documentary ahead of “Detropia,” “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present,” “Room 237” and “The Waiting Room”.

“Beasts Of The Southern Wild” director Benh Zeitlin took home both the Bingham Ray Award and the Breakthrough Director Award. Stacie Passon scored the Female Filmmaker award for “Concussion”, and the Jared Leto-themed “Artifact” took the Gotham Independence Film Audience Award.

On the acting front, “Your Sister’s Sister” won the Best Ensemble Performance Award while Emayatzy Corinealdi won the Breakthrough Actor Award for her work in “Middle Of Nowhere”.

In the grander scale of the awards race however, the talk was still all about what happened the night before – the first screenings of Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty”.

Along with “Les Miserables”, this hunt for Osama bin Laden project has suddenly emerged as a serious contender. Reviews cite it as better than “The Hurt Locker” and it sounds like it will get numerous nominations and appear high on many Top 10 lists at the end of the year.

Just like Anne Hathaway’s turn in Les Mis looks to be the clear favorite in the Best Supporting Actress award, word is Jessica Chastain’s turn in ‘Zero’ could do the same for the Best Actress category. Though they likely won’t win, Bigelow and the film itself are very likely nominees.

Where ‘Zero’ may miss out is that it’s reportedly a cold and clinical take on the hunt for bin Laden, thus isn’t as emotionally immediate or engaging as the likes of “Les Miserables” or “Argo”. Quite a few of critics cite it as the stronger film but seem aware that it could struggle to engage with Academy members.