Into the Wild Strikes First Awards Gold

Emile Hirsch in Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild”

Ok, there’s no denying it now. It really is Awards Season once again as the first prizes were handed out last night at the IFP’s 17th Annual Gotham Awards. Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a long season.

Sean Penn’s terrific Into the Wild (which cost too much to be nominated for the Spirit Awards) won for Best Feature. Michael Moore’s Sicko won Best Documentary Feature. Ellen Page won the breakthrough actor award for Juno and Great Wall of Sound‘s Craig Zobel earned a trophy for Best Breakthrough Director. Zobel’s film about talent scout scams in the music industry had just been nominated yesterday morning for the Spirit Award for Best First Feature. It’s one of those little movies I heard great things about, but managed to miss. I hope to check it out soon.

Rounding out the awards, the casts of Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and Talk to Me tied for Best Ensemble and Ronald Bronstein’s Frownland won for Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.

The 29-year-old IFP (Independent Feature Project) boasts a membership of more than 10,000 filmmakers and industry professionals who support the independent film community.