Mike Mills' semi-autobiographical drama "Beginners," about a young man whose widower father comes out of the closet, and Terrence Malick's mystical family epic "Tree of LIfe" tied for best film of 2011 at the 21st annual Gotham Independent Film Awards given out Monday evening in New York City.
"Beginners," which stars Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer, also won for ensemble cast. Felicity Jones took home the breakthrough actor award for her role as a lovestruck British woman in
"Like Crazy." Breakthrough director honors went to Dee Rees for "Pariah." The documentary prize went to "Better This World."
Other awards given out included:
The Best Film Not Playing At a Theater Near You: "Scenes of a Crime"
Festival Genius Award, which is voted on by filmgoers online: "Girlfriend"
Spotlight on Women Filmmakers "Live the Dream" Grant: Lucy Mulloy, "Una Noche"
The awards are presented by the Independent Filmmaker Project, which is the oldest and largest U.S. organization of indie filmmakers. It is one of two key awards given to independent films. Nominations for the other, Film Independent's Spirit Awards, will be announced Tuesday.
Besides the competitive awards, career achievement awards were given out to actors Charlize Theron and Gary Oldman, director David Cronenberg and co-chair and chief executive of Fox Film Entertainment Tom Rothman.
Last year's top winner, "Winter's Bone," went on to receive four Oscar nominations including for best picture and lead actress (Jennifer Lawrence). The Gotham's 2009 selection, "The Hurt Locker," won the Academy Award for best picture, director and original screenplay.
— Susan King
Photo: Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor in "Beginners." Photo credit: Andrew Tepper.