Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach wore matching Raf Simons Laura Dern sweaters while presenting her with a special Tribute prize at the Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York last night. According to Greta, the real-life filmmaking couple had "been looking for an excuse to wear our Laura Dern sweaters" and seized the opportunity. It's a sweet way for these two to honour the actress, whom they both worked with this year separately in Greta's Little Women and Noah's Marriage Story; but it's also a nod that's so niche and lighthearted that it feels almost like self-parody of their Laura fandom, or that it was pulled from a Portlandia or Saturday Night Live sketch. Not that I'm complaining. I love these two. And the couple that campaigns together — for their shared actress — only elevates their projects, right? Even when Little Women’s release is still weeks away?
Introducing their speeches, Greta said:
"Noah and I sometimes get competitive about who loves Laura Dern more, and who Laura Dern loves more out of us. ...That way at the party afterwards, when we ask her whose speech do you like better, it's too confusing to answer."
Having said that, each speech was unapologetically Greta... or Noah. But their speeches shared a similarity beyond their subject. They both praised Laura's work, and Greta (via Noah) referred to her performances in Marriage Story and Little Women as rendering her as unrecognizable (Greta, on her legal shark character in Noah's love story film about divorce), or as though he (via Greta) was "discovering Laura Dern all over again" by watching her gentle matriarch performance as Marmee in the latest literary adaptation. The wires get a little crossed here, but you can watch it all here, around the 01:41:20 mark.
Laura's pre-announced win was set back in September, but her film Marriage Story was the night's trophy leader, winning four awards including Best Screenplay, the Audience Award, Best Actor for Adam Driver, and Best Picture. As Lainey wrote in today’s open, six of the Gotham’s 10 awards went to Netflix productions. Marriage Story had four of those wins. And Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh was quick to point out that Netflix scored the night’s prime real estate, as far as tables were concerned:
How indie are the #GothamAwards? Netflix has bought THREE tables right next to the stage while many of the indie distributors with less money are sitting at the back of Cipriani Wall Street.— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) December 3, 2019
The Gothams are awarded (and nominated) by a jury of industry peers. Typically, the ceremony is a bit too indie to be considered an awards season bellwether, but they sure do have a way of predicting which movies have momentum. I’m still salty that Ethan Hawke won Best Actor for First Reformed last year, only to be snubbed by the Academy… and the Globes. However, Spotlight won Best Picture at the Gothams back in 2015, and won the Oscar months later. And if the Gothams, the most-possible New York, and indie-friendly crowd can overwhelmingly embrace Netflix’s slate, it’s looking more and more likely that other awards bodies could be more welcoming of the company’s streaming entries.
But Netflix’s stars are wisely campaigning with the message that Netflix is not a threat. They argue it’s not the enemy: in fact, it’s a saviour of film and creativity. When Noah accepted his first trophy for Best Screenplay, after kissing Greta Gerwig on the head, he thanked the IFP for the wonderful and “very New York award.” He then said:
“I want to thank Netflix for their partnership and support and also for rescuing the Paris Theatre.”
For those unfamiliar, Netflix bought, restored and reopened the Paris Theatre – a single-screen Manhattan cinema – for their original productions and special events, starting with Marriage Story. Later on, when Marriage Story won Best Picture, he said Netflix was a creative home he “always dreamed of,” after working with several studios and distributors. Are you buying that Netflix is now a friend of the artist? Of the creatives? With four buzzy films in contention this year (The Two Popes, Dolemite is My Name, The Irishman, Marriage Story), the company is eying the coveted Best Picture Oscar. Maybe Noah’s praise, mixed with Scorsese’s “struggle” to get The Irishman made as per his vision, will help win them over. It couldn’t hurt.