Budget drug-addiction drama HALF NELSON was a triple winner at this year's (06) Gotham Awards, scooping prizes for Best Feature, Breakthrough Director and Breakthrough Actor.
Despite stiff competition from big studio-financed films including THE DEPARTED and MARIE ANTOINETTE, the $1 million (GBP510,000) movie dominated the New York ceremony last night (29NOV06) honouring independent film-making.
Host David Cross slammed the inclusion of its big-budget rivals, insisting, "We're here to celebrate the films that show you don't need a big studio, films with an untested director and cast - films like The Departed. How that got greenlit I have no idea."
Despite the scathing comments, the $25 million (GBP12.8 million) Brad Pitt-starring BABEL won the Best Ensemble Cast award, and its star RINKO KIKUCHI shared the Breakthrough Actor award with SHAREEKA EPPS of Half Nelson.
Oscar-short listed IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS took home the Best Documentary prize.