Gotham Awards 2019: Netflix Dominates (Marriage Story, When They See Us)

It was a big, triumphant night for Netflix at the Gotham Awards, earning five of the event’s eight film-specific awards.

Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story won four top prizes — best feature, best actor (Adam Driver), best screenplay (Baumbach) and the audience award.

It competed against other cherished indies, like The Farewell and Uncut Gems.

Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s American Factory won best documentary, topping chief rivals Apollo 11, from Neon, and One Child Nation, from Amazon.

The artists who won those awards expressed heartfelt thanks to Netflix for its support of the indie community.

Baumbach, accepting best screenplay (his first of four trips to the podium), said: “I want to thank Netflix for their partnership and support — and also for rescuing the Paris Theatre,” a reference to Netflix’s recent purchase and reopening — with Marriage Story — of the city’s last single-screen theater, which had shut down.

Later, accepting best feature, Baumbach added, “I’ll get a little more specific, in that I would like to also thank chief content officer Ted Sarandos and Netflix for supporting this movie unconditionally. This was my 10th movie. I’ve worked for probably about nine companies, who distributed my movies, but it does feel like what I always sort of dreamed of when I started as a filmmaker: that I would have a home and a place. And I want to thank you for that, Ted.”

Four pre-announced Gotham Award tributes were bestowed.

One was presented by Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, the Little Women director (and Baumbach’s real life partner), to Laura Dern, who starred in both of their films.  She will get Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for Marriage Story.

Dern, in her acceptance speech, heaped praise on Netflix, which she likened to United Artists in the 1970s.

DuVernay said that the only time she has enjoyed the sort of creative freedom that she felt on her first film, a micro-budget indie, was when she made the 2016 documentary 13th and the 2019 limited series When They See Us for Netflix.

When They See Us was announced as the winner of the best breakthrough series–long form Gotham Award later in the evening.