And you thought the New York Film Critics Circle was the unofficial official kick-off of awards season. On Monday night in New York, the Gotham Independent Film Awards were handed out for the 21st time -- though this edition was slightly more historic than usual. For the first time ever, two films tied in the Best Feature category: Mike Mills's 'Beginners' and Terrence Malick's 'The Tree of Life,' both of which defeated 'The Descendants' for the award. Alexander Payne's presumed Oscar favorite was nominated three times (Feature, Ensemble, Breakthrough Actor), but failed to win one award.
'Beginners' also took home Best Ensemble. The film, which is about a dying man coming out to his grown son, co-stars Christopher Plummer -- already in the thick of the Oscar race -- and Ewan McGregor, as well as Melanie Laurent ('Inglourious Basterds').

Other awards handed out on Monday night: Felicity Jones won Breakthrough Actor for 'Like Crazy,' while Dee Rees won Breakthrough director for 'Pariah.'

Previous Gotham Award winners include Oscar films 'Winter's Bone' and 'The Hurt Locker.' Whether 'The Tree of Life' or 'Beginners' will get a similar boost from the ceremony remains to be seen.

Check back to Moviefone for the New York Film Critics Circle award winners on Tuesday morning.

[via Deadline]

[Photo: Fox Searchlight]

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categories Movies, Awards