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Independent Film Project's Gotham Awards: Don't Hate Me Because I Won

11/28/2012 01:08 pm ET | Updated Jan 28, 2013

Jared Leto won the audience award at the annual IFP's Gotham Awards at Cipriani Wall Street for his movie Artifacts; the film was mostly unknown to most at my table of industry insiders, but that sums up the theme of this, the ultimate alternative awards ceremony that even has a category, Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You. That award went to An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, by the way. Meantime Leto, chatting at cocktails prior to receiving the award said he had just arrived from LA and left his bag on the plane. Seat of pants, he seemed to think the award should go to Beasts of the Southern Wild, the most edgy and mythic film of the year. Not to worry. Benh Zeitlin, the creator of that film took away many of the evening's honors, including the Best Breakthrough Director and newly minted Bingham Ray award, after the pioneering champion of independent films who died suddenly in Park City this past January.

Leto may have left the stage saying, "Don't hate me because I won," but Zeitlin countered, "Ain't no time to sit around crying like a bunch of sissies. Let's make movies."

Host Mike Birbiglia kept the awards ceremony moving briskly with presenters: and many more. Career tributes went to Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, David O. Russell, and Jeff Skoll, the Participant Media founder and butt of billionaire jokes.

Two of David O. Russell's stars saluted him, Amy Adams from The Fighter and Jacki Weaver from his current feature, Silver Linings Playbook. Tributee Matt Damon further challenged him in a speech that began with his recounting how his life became surreal when Calvin Klein (a sponsor with his Euphoria fragrance) gave him a suit after Good Will Hunting that was worth all of his clothing of a lifetime put together. The Promised Land star addressed the Spanking the Monkey, I Heart Huckabees director saying, David O. Russell, you are like a wolf and I am like Sarah Palin in a helicopter hunting you. Now all David O. Russell has to do is write a film for Matt Damon.

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.