The Gotham Awards are held every year on the Monday after Thanksgiving in New York City, marking the unofficial start of the award show season. Though the event champions major achievements in the independent film world, it was hard this year to avoid addressing the results of the presidential election.
The evening’s host, Keegan-Michael Key (one half of the TV show “Key and Peele,” he also starred in this year’s indie “Don’t Think Twice”), joked at the beginning of the show that he had missed the election and had written his monologue before the results, assuming Hillary Clinton had won. The act only got a small amount of laughs.
Damian Lewis presented the Audience Award by saying, “The film that receives the most votes is the winner. What a brilliant idea,” referring to Donald Trump winning the electoral college to win the presidency but Clinton winning the popular vote.
Comedian Nick Kroll got in on it as well when he presented the best actor award: “Gentlemen, if you don’t win take solace in the fact that you didn’t win because the Russians interfered in ways we don’t understand,” he said.
Ethan Hawke received one of the tribute awards of the evening, and in talking back stage with Business Insider, didn’t hold back on what he thought about President-elect Trump.
“The great thing is the artistic community is given a huge opportunity,” Hawke said. “Whenever faced with fascism, the artistic community generally rises to the occasion.”
Barry Jenkins, director of the year’s hit indie movie “Moonlight” — which won four awards on the evening, including best feature — observed that, since the election, his movie has suddenly become a beacon for those who are disappointed by the results.
“In the wake of the election people sent me Twitter and Instagram direct messages saying that as a result of the election the only thing to do was to spent two hours that they felt would give them a fresh perspective or reaffirm this idea of humanity,” Jenkins told Business Insider after winning the best feature prize. “I got so many notes about people seeing the movie for a second time after the election. So in that sense I don’t know if it’s changed the film but the one thing I think of is I went eight years without making a film, the fact that the film exists right now for people who might need it, I think it’s a very beautiful thing.”
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