Maggie Gyllenhaal was the top winner at the Gotham Awards last night, winning three statues from different juries of her peers in her hometown New York crowd for her feature directorial debut, The Lost Daughter. For a New Yorker, and independent film champion like Maggie, the Gothams are definitely a warm room, and 19 years after winning the Breakthrough Award for her work in Secretary, now she is being recognized as a Director, Screenwriter, and Executive Producer. 


Still, in her first acceptance speech of the night, she says the wins “totally surprised me” and that she was “so nervous coming here tonight” because of how she knows and respects the people in the ballroom. But it’s not like the acclaim for her latest work is a complete surprise – Maggie’s writing has been singled out by a number of Oscar watchers for Best Adapted Screenplay, like the Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg, as The Lost Daughter has hopped from festival to festival, starting in Venice, where she also won Best Screenplay. The film starts streaming on Netflix on December 31. While the Gothams are hardly a surefire awards season precursor, it is noteworthy that separate juries recognized the film four different ways.


Maggie is well-liked and respected in the industry, and The Lost Daughter was already feted by Jessica Chastain, who hosted a screening in New York back in October. And for the Gothams, Maggie attended with husband Peter Sarsgaard (who also stars in the film), and their 15-year-old daughter Ramona, who resembles her father the same way 17-year-old Hazel Moder resembles hers. All three were beaming all night long, with Ramona getting recognition from her mom in Maggie’s Best Screenplay acceptance speech, starting at 01:48:08:

“I also want to thank my daughter (looks at Ramona), who um, without whom, and my other daughter who’s at home with my brother and my mom right now – I never would have known how to write the script.” 

And Maggie had praise for Peter in her Breakthrough Director acceptance speech, at the 03:51:04 mark:


“[After thanking all of her actors, including Dakota Johnson, and giving a formal speech] There’s one actor who I didn’t mention who is my favourite. I just want to say, I’m talking about my husband; there’s a whole tradition of women who are smart and hot and interesting and support their husbands. And there… there hasn’t been much opportunity for smart, hot, interesting men to support their wives! (Room applause) and my husband, I think is, uh, what do you call it? He’s a groundbreaker! (laughs)”

She also called Peter a “hot supportive husband” on Instagram last month. But it’s interesting how she chose to recognize her brother Jake, who has been very supportive throughout her The Lost Daughter run, even bringing girlfriend Jeanne Cadieu to the film’s NYFF premiere for their “red carpet debut”. There was some online chatter as to how Maggie would reference Jake as awards season continued, due to fervent fan speculation surrounding Taylor Swift’s 10-minute version of “All Too Well.” She mentioned him without making it a thing, and without distracting from her moment or her shine. After all, any Gyllenhaal activity is drawing attention from Taylor’s fans, who have also taken to Jake’s Instagram comments for scarf mentions. He turned off comments on his latest tribute post to Stephen Sondheim, which is possibly connected to their response. But he did share posts about Maggie’s Gothams wins to his Instagram stories this morning. It’s always exciting to see somebody in your family have a “moment.” 


Maggie’s moment is still rolling on. In her Breakthrough Director speech, she referenced other films like Shiva Baby and Passing, noting that there’s value in women telling and sharing their stories. And she wants to keep going (3:54:25).

“It took me a long time to feel entitled to even consider writing something and directing it. Maybe I was trying to fit in and be a good girl, but I see now that I have broken through something, and to quote Billie Eilish, “All the good girls go to hell!” So the next time, 35 days and 35 mm! Thank you very much.”

So, who will be cheering Maggie on next? And will it be enough to get her to the Oscars?