By Jessica Derschowitz and Oliver Gettell
November 26, 2018 at 08:00 PM EST
Credit: Caviar/Highwayman Films/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock; Killer Films/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock; Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Filmmaker Chloé Zhao’s Western drama The Rider claimed the top prize at the 28th annual IFP Gotham Awards on Monday evening, winning Best Feature.

Zhao was not on hand to accept the award, as she is preparing her next film, but producer Mollye Asher said, “I know that she never in a million years, the modest person that she is, would have thought that we would have won this. We made the movie with six people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.” Asher went on to thank lead actor Brady Jandreau, “our cowboy, for opening his heart, and his compassion, and being, really, the heart of this film.”

In The Rider, which Zhao wrote and directed, Jandreau portrays a rodeo star whose competition days are cut short by a tragic riding accident, sending him on a search for a new identity and sense of purpose.

The Rider’s win came as something of a surprise, as it beat out buzzier titles like Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite, Paul Schrader’s First Reformed, and Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk.

First Reformed did win two awards, for Schrader’s screenplay and Ethan Hawke’s lead performance. A special Gotham Jury Award was given to Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz for their ensemble performance in The Favourite, and Toni Collette won Best Actress for her work in Hereditary.

Jenkins presented the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award (for which he was once nominated) to Bo Burnham, of Eighth Grade. That film’s star, Elsie Fisher, also won the prize for Breakthrough Actor.

The Gotham Awards, which honor independent films, have been a semi-reliable predictor of Oscar glory in recent years. Birdman, Spotlight, and Moonlight all won Best Feature and went on to claim Best Picture at the subsequent Academy Awards. Last year, however, Call Me By Your Name won the top prize at the Gotham Awards and went on to earn four Oscar nominations — but ultimately lost Best Picture to The Shape of Water.

See the full list of this year’s winners below.

Best Feature
The Favourite
Yorgos Lanthimos, director; Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, Yorgos Lanthimos, producers (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

First Reformed
Paul Schrader, director; Jack Binder, Greg Clark, Victoria Hill, Gary Hamilton, Deepak Sikka, Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Frank Murray, producers (A24)

If Beale Street Could Talk
Barry Jenkins, director; Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy, Barry Jenkins, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Megan Ellison, producers (Annapurna Pictures)

Madeline’s Madeline
Josephine Decker, director; Krista Parris, Elizabeth Rao, producers (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

WINNER: The Rider
Chloé Zhao, director; Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, Mollye Asher, Chloé Zhao, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)

Best Documentary
Bisbee ’17
Robert Greene, producer; Douglas Tirola, Susan Bedusa, Bennett Elliott, producers (4th Row Films)

WINNER: Hale County This Morning, This Evening
RaMell Ross, director; RaMell Ross, Joslyn Barnes, Su Kim, producers (The Cinema Guild)

Minding the Gap
Bing Liu, director; Diane Quon, Bing Liu, producers (Hulu & Magnolia Pictures)

Sandi Tan, director; Sandi Tan, Jessica Levin, Maya Rudolph, producers (Netflix)

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Morgan Neville, director; Morgan Neville, Caryn Capotosto, Nicholas Ma, producers (Focus Features)

Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award
Ari Aster, Hereditary (A24)

WINNER: Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade (A24)

Jennifer Fox, The Tale (HBO)

Crystal Moselle, Skate Kitchen (Magnolia Pictures)

Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You (Annapurna Pictures)

Best Screenplay
The Favourite, Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

WINNER: First Reformed, Paul Schrader (A24)

Private Life, Tamara Jenkins (Netflix)

Support the Girls, Andrew Bujalski (Magnolia Pictures)

Thoroughbreds, Cory Finley (Focus Features)

Best Actor
Adam Driver in BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features)

Ben Foster in Leave No Trace (Bleecker Street)

Richard E. Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

WINNER: Ethan Hawke in First Reformed (A24)

Lakeith Stanfield in Sorry to Bother You (Annapurna Pictures)

Best Actress*
Glenn Close in The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics)

WINNER: Toni Collette in Hereditary (A24)

Kathryn Hahn in Private Life (Netflix)

Regina Hall in Support the Girls (Magnolia Pictures)

Michelle Pfeiffer in Where Is Kyra? (Paladin and Great Point Media)

*The 2018 Best Actress nominating committee also voted to award a special Gotham Jury Award to Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz for their ensemble performance in The Favourite. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Breakthrough Actor
Yalitza Aparicio in Roma (Netflix)

WINNER: Elsie Fisher in Eighth Grade (A24)

Helena Howard in Madeline’s Madeline (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

KiKi Layne in If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna Pictures)

Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie in Leave No Trace (Bleecker Street)

Breakthrough Series — Long Form
Alias Grace, Sarah Polley, Mary Harron, Noreen Halpern, executive producers (Netflix)

Big Mouth, Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin, creators; Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett, executive producers (Netflix)

The End of the F***ing World, Andy Baker, Murray Ferguson, Petra Fried, Ed MacDonald, Dominic Buchanan, Jonathan Entwistle, executive producers (Netflix)

WINNER: Killing Eve, Sally Woodward Gentle, Lee Morris, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, executive producers (BBC America)

Pose, Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Steven Canals, creators; Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Alexis Martin Woodall, Sherry Marsh, executive producers (FX Networks)

Sharp Objects, Marti Noxon, creator; Marti Noxon, Jason Blum, Gillian Flynn, Amy Adams, Jean-Marc Vallée, Nathan Ross, Gregg Fienberg, Charles Layton, Marci Wiseman, Jessica Rhoades, executive producers (HBO)

Breakthrough Series — Short Form
WINNER: 195 Lewis, Chanelle Aponte Pearson and Rae Leone Allen, creators

Cleaner Daze, Tess Sweet and Daniel Gambelin, creators

Distance, Alex Dobrenko, creator

The F Word, Nicole Opper, creator

She’s the Ticket, Nadia Hallgren, creator

Audience Award
Bisbee ’17

Eighth Grade

The Favourite

First Reformed

Hale County This Morning, This Evening


If Beale Street Could Talk

Madeline’s Madeline

Minding the Gap

The Rider


Skate Kitchen

Sorry to Bother You

The Tale

WINNER: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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