While big studios and names often dominate the Oscars and Golden Globes, Monday night's IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards (hosted by The League's Nick Kroll) was all about honoring some of the year's best independent films and performers.
Before the show started, some of the nominated actors and filmmakers talked with BuzzFeed about the independent films that they felt deserved love this year.
"Short Term 12 is amazing and it had a small budget — you don't need a huge budget to make a film that affects people," said Fruitvale Station star Michael B. Jordan, who took home the honor for Breakthrough Actor. Kroll also cited the Destin Daniel Cretton-directed feature, about a counselor for troubled kids, as his favorite indie.
Brie Larson, who starred and won Best Actress for Short Term 12, was ecstatic about the praise the movie garnered, noting, "The final film had as much love as [the cast and crew] put into making it."
Andrew Sensenig, one of the stars of the critically acclaimed ultra-indie Upstream Color, was surprised by the successful year for indie narratives in general.
"I'm not sure why we had such an incredible year for independent film," he said. "I was really surprised with Spring Breakers. It was beautiful and shocking. Frances Ha was great, so was Ain't Them Bodies Saints."
Non-fiction films got some love, too, from none other than Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock.
"Documentaries are so underrated, but people are starting to discover them, thanks to HBO, Showtime, Netflix. The Act of Killing is such a great movie. The Crash Reel by Kevin Pearce [was also]. I loved We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks and 20 Feet From Stardom. So many films, so many good ones," he enthused.
As for the Gotham Awards voters, they erred toward the big-name indies, save for Larson's big win.
The winning films included Inside Llewyn Davis (Best Feature), Fruitvale Station (Best Breakthrough Director for Ryan Coogler and Best Breakthrough Actor for Jordan), Short Term 12 (Best Actress for Larson) and Dallas Buyers Club (Best Actor for Matthew McConaughey).
While Before Midnight director Richard Linklater worried that "the new generation doesn't seek out that indie film that speaks to them," given the age of some of the winners — Larson's 23 and Jordan's 26 — there should be plenty of incentive for young people to continue discovering indie cinema.