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Early Oscar indicator Gotham Awards brings out stars

It’s the most wonderful time of the year -- awards season! 

The awards season unofficially kicked off Monday with the 26th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, which honors feature-length independent films--and has become an early indication of what to expect in the Oscars. 

Celebrities from some of the year’s most buzzed about films packed into Cipriani in downtown Manhattan to attend the show, hosted this year by comedian Keegan-Michael Key.

 “Moonlight” came out the big winner of the night, taking home four awards -- including the coveted Best Feature. The past two Best Feature winners (“Spotlight” in 2015 and “Birdman” in 2014) at the Gotham Awards show went on to win Oscars for Best Picture. 

CBS News caught up with some of the stars on the red carpet and asked about their experience making independent films.

The cast of Moonlight, winners of the Jury Award for Ensemble Performance, pose for a photo at the IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB’s Broward Office of Film, Music & Entertainment partnered with the awards show to celebrate the independent filmmaking community.  Diane Bondareff, AP

Amy Adams on independent films:
“Independent film changed the course of my career. It gave me an amazing opportunity and I think year after year we see that. We see it introducing new voices and new faces onto the scene and it allows for a different tone to take over the season. It’s wonderful. As the bottom line becomes more important, voices get lost in the shuffle and I think independent film still speaks to the masses.”

Ethan Hawke on independent films: 
“There is a great pull to turn every movie into a unit of sale; you know anytime somebody is trying to express themselves or try to tell a story that might be fragile or delicate. Anytime anybody is not selling a hamburger, but instead they are making a proper meal that maybe it won’t appeal to everyone. But that has value to me.” 

Katie Holmes on independent films: 
“I have my first [independent] film coming out soon and so I have a whole new appreciation for the work and strength that goes into having an idea, raising the money and then making it happen. I think it comes down to having a great group of people on a particular job and also the director who’s creating the tone on set.” 

Katie Holmes attends IFP’s 26th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani, Wall Street on November 28, 2016 in New York City.  Matthew Eisman, Getty Images for IFP

Ruth Negga on reaction to “Loving”: 
“A lot of people have been saying  thank you to our cast for telling their story. They say thank you for bearing witness to their stories. That’s a very important part of why I became an actor, to tell people’s stories. For people who might not think they have a voice. And that is a great privilege. And so many people have come forward about their own personal stories about mixed marriages whether it be racially mixed, or from the LGBT community, for me that is an incredibly moving thing to be part of.”

Oliver Stone on struggles of film making: 
“Independent films sometimes are misunderstood. I think independent means truly thinking for yourself. And there is not a system that allows for too much of that because most independent filmmakers have to get financing and most of the people in the studio system have to think a certain way and they don’t want to rock the boat. It takes a lot to make something. For true independence you have to really think for yourself and stay free. That’s the hard part for every filmmaker not me alone but everyone struggles.”

David Oyelowo on truth in independent films: 
“I think there is a tendency to tell the truth with smaller budget films. Because they are not made within an atmosphere of fear. Which I think can be pervasive with bigger movies. And we all need the truth, especially now. That’s why I think we have a very potent crop of films right now.”

Filmmaker Oliver Stone accepts the IFP “Tribuite” award at the 26th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in New York.  Evan Agostini, Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Keegan-Michael Key on love of independent films: 
“It’s such a difficult thing to make a movie, to make a good movie, to make any movie. I made a couple of independent films last year and the camaraderie is really what I like. Because you are all in it together. Usually what happens is the project resonates with you so much that you are like ‘I will do anything I need to do to be in this movie.’ And that is a testament to the creators, the writers, the directors, the people who come to you with this passion and you go ‘no I want to help you reveal this passion.”

Naomie Harris on whether she knew “Moonlight” would be a success: 
“You never know because you can only base it on how you feel. I read it and cried three or four times reading it and I thought it was such a beautiful and special film and I really wanted to be part of it. And so you just hope that people will feel the same but you just never know. 

Nick Kroll on working with cast of “Loving”: 
It’s just great to be a part of a real family and it’s ironic the movie is called “Loving” because it was made with a lot of love. Regardless of what the story is about, it was made with a lot of kind and talented people who really love films and want to make good ones. So to be included in that family is really cool. And this particular story is such a beautiful right now and always.” 

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