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Exclusive interview with 'Inside Llewyn Davis' star Oscar Isaac at Gotham Awards

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On Monday, Dec. 2, The Coen Brothers' latest film "Inside Llewyn Davis" won best feature 23rd Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, presented by the The Independent Filmmaker Project at Cipriani Wall Street. The film's star Oscar Isaac, accepted the last award of the evening on behalf of his directors, who were not able to make it. We had the opportunity to speak with Isaac after his film's big win, exclusively in the green room. Check out what he had to say:

Speak about the Beatnik Era.

They’re incredible. They make a community of artists, and so everyone is encouraged to give all their ideas and we’re all making it together. You know, it really reflects what it was like in the Village in the ‘60s, you know? The Beatniks I think they’re the greatest American folk artists working now.

Can you speak about your musical preparation for the film? You were amazing.

Oh, thank you very much. I worked for a couple months and worked with T-Bone Burnett who produced the album and is just an incredible producer and a music revolutionary.

What do you admire about the Coen brothers as filmmakers?

There’s just no vanity, there’s no ego to the thing that they do, and they really examine existence.

Can you speak about how New York influences you as an artist, as an actor?

That’s why I’m here, because it’s not just focused on moviemakers. It’s all of the arts. And so, this just feeds me, it renews the well.

Were you able to personally relate to the idea of the starving artist in your character?

As an actor, you deal mostly with rejection so that frustration gives you have something to express, but it’s not being heard, is something that’s very relatable.

And what was it like working with Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake?

Carey is great. I’ve worked with her on "Drive," and so we have a real comfort and a real ease with each other. So, I think that allowed her to go even wilder and be really brutal with me.

Was it intimidating dealing with Justin Timberlake as a musician?

Completely. His range is amazing. I think he’s got perfect pitch. So, I was very intimidated, but he again, put me at ease and encouraged me as well.

What was the most challenging part about inhabiting that role?

I think how internal the character is. You know, he’s very internal and he doesn’t show his emotions and he doesn’t ask to be liked, he doesn’t use charm. So, to still convey a sympathetic human being and someone that deserves your attention without using those traditional means of warmth or extroversion, that was a challenge.

The Commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment Katherine Oliver was also honored. "It’s such an honor to serve the city as commissioner for the last 12 years. I’ve had some amazing experiences, priceless experiences. But to be here tonight for the Gotham Awards and the independent film community is truly an honor to have your efforts recognized by your peers and by the industry that you’ve worked so hard to serve," she told us exclusively. Oliver's goal for the future of film in New York is, "We want to just build on the successes that we’ve had. We’ve created 30,000 new jobs in the last few years. This is a great industry for New York. It not only employs a lot of people, but it helps promote this city globally and it promotes the creative spirit of New York. And so, that’s what we hope continues in the future."

We also spoke with Best Actress Winner Brie Larson, who won for her work in "Short Term 12." Larson also starred in "Don Jon" and "The Spectacular Now" this year. We asked what New York meant to her after her big win. She told exclusively, "I came to New York for the first time when I think I was 12 years-old and it was the first time I felt in rhythm with a place. It was the first time I felt like I belonged somewhere. And I had grown up kind of in a smallish town outside of Los Angeles that wasn’t to my standards very artistic. And coming to New York where I felt like being weird was encouraged, and it was my first time I really got to walk. I love the feeling of pounding the pavement. I think I walked like five miles today, and I love that."

The evening was presented by euphoria Calvin Klein, FIJI Water, Russian Standard Vodka and Mionetto Prosecco.


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