Gotham Awards Honors 'Spotlight', Bel Powley, and More

Well, here we go. The awards season is upon us; no avoiding it now whether we want to or not. We here in DC have our WAFCA Awards this weekend, and other guilds and critics groups are starting to roll out their nominees and winners with regularity. With each new announcement some will be calculating how this impacts the Academy Awards. The truth is that they probably won't, but the fun is in the speculation. And so let the speculation begin because the Gotham Awards have made some interesting choices for the year's best indie movies and performances.

Taking the top prize for Best Feature was Tom McCarthy's journalism drama, Spotlight, which also won for Best Screenplay. The film is more an ensemble so despite a star-studded cast it didn't get any acting nominations, but this is still a strong start for what is expected to be a very successful run of victories.

The biggest surprise goes to Bel Powley winning Best Actress for the coming-of-age drama, The Diary of a Teenage Girl. While her performance has been praised since the film debuted at Sundance (including by yours truly), nobody expected her to defeat the combined might of Cate Blanchett in Carol and Brie Larson in Room. Could this be a sign of things to come? Also, Paul Dano won for his amazing performance as Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy.

Full list of winners is below:

Best Feature
"The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
"Heaven Knows What"
Best Actor
Christopher Abbott, "James White"
Kevin Corrigan, "Results"
Paul Dano, "Love & Mercy"
Peter Sarsgaard, "Experimenter"
Michael Shannon, "99 Homes"
Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, "Carol"
Blythe Danner, "I’ll See You in My Dreams"
Brie Larson, "Room"
Bel Powley, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
Lily Tomlin, "Grandma"
Kristen Wiig, "Welcome to Me"
Breakthrough Actor
Rory Culkin, "Gabriel"
Arielle Holmes, "Heaven Knows What"
Lola Kirke, "Mistress America"
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, "Tangerine"
Mya Taylor, "Tangerine"
Breakthrough Director
Desiree Akhavan, "Appropriate Behavior"
Jonas Carpigano, "Mediterranea"
Marielle Heller, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
John Magary, "The Mend"
Josh Mond, "James White"
Best Screenplay
"Carol, Phyllis Nagy
"The Diary of a Teenage Girl," Marielle Heller
"Love & Mercy," Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner
"Spotlight," Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer
"While We’re Young," Noah Baumbach
Best Documentary
"Approaching the Elephant"
"Cartel Land"
"Heart of a Dog"
"Listen to Me Marlon"
"The Look of Silence"
Audience Award
The First Gotham Appreciation Award
Ellen Cotter of Angelika Film Center Theaters
Breakthrough Series – Long Form
"Mr. Robot"
Breakthrough Series – Short Form
"Shugs & Fats"