“Fruitvale Station”, Forest Whitaker Win Big at IFP Gotham Awards


Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler all added to their list of achievements at the IFP Gotham Awards Monday night. The Gotham awards are presented by the Independent Filmmaker Project, an  advocacy group for independent filmmakers.

“Fruitvale Station,” based on the 2009  killing of a black Bay Area man by white officers, took home prizes for Breakthrough Director for Ryan Coogler and Breakthrough Actor for Michael B. Jordan.

“You might see more black filmmakers emerge and tell stories they want to tell, not just about African-American subjects, but they can be about anything,” Jordan told The Hollywood Report. “If the studios continue to take chances and risks and fund films by African-Americans, I think people will go see them. Hopefully it will get easier as time goes on.”

Forest Whitaker who has had a successful year as producer of Fruitvale Station and star of The Butler and Black Nativity was recognized through a tribute by director Lee Daniels.

“I’m just trying to remove the veil in front of my eyes, to discover the truth is not finite, it’s an infinite thing,” Whitaker said movingly about his craft. “Then I surrender to the fact that even if I live on some foundation of truth, that I think I’m discovering something. It continues to expand. Physicists talk about the universe is expanding… I’m going to continue to place my attention with you in unveiling the complexity of the human experience, the human soul.”

Other notable movie nominees included 12 Years a Slave, which surprisingly did not make the list of winners. The critically acclaimed movie is still at the top of the list for many insiders’ lists to win gold at the Oscars.

Additional winners of the night include Matthew McConaughey as Best Actor for Dallas Buyer’s Club, the Coen Brothers won Best Picture for Inside Llewyn Davis and Brie Larson as Best Actress for Short Term 12.