Michael Loccisano/WireImage.com
Lanford Beard
November 29, 2011 AT 11:27 AM EST

Since last year’s Gotham Independent Awards gave steam to eventual Oscar contenders Winter’s Bone, Black Swan, Blue Valentine, and The Kids Are All Right, it’s sure to be a busy awards season yet for this year’s winners and nominees. But even before Beginners and The Tree of Life snagged a surprising tie for Best Feature last night, a lot went down at the Gothams.

EW was on the red carpet and inside the Winners Room for all the revelations and quips from A-list attendees including Charlize Theron, Gary Oldman, Zachary Quinto and Felicity Jones. Want to know who inspired Theron’s Evil Queen? Whether Oldman has hung up his Sirius Black garb for good? And who called George Clooney an alien? Read on…

Jason Reitman wasn’t the only one offering up newsworthy tidbits last night. Theron, his hand-picked anti-ingenue in Young Adult, revealed that she took a cue from Jack Nicholson in The Shining for her heart-eating Evil Queen in Snow White and the Huntsmen. Before talk turns to her rapport with Kristen Stewart, though, buzz is sure to build around her hilarious odd-couple dynamic with Adult costar Patton Oswalt. On hand to present Theron’s Career Tribute award, Oswalt joked they looked like “Aphrodite next to a sack of flour.” Theron was more excited about their coupling — when asked if there was a buddy comedy in their future, she enthused, “I’m in! Tell when where to sign!”

Elsewhere, fellow Career Tribute Oldman made it clear that Harry Potter’s electrifying “It All Ends” campaign meant the end for Sirius Black, too. “I don’t think he’s coming back,” he said, crushing a thousand Potter fans’ hearts. “He’s dead! He’s on the other side of the veil.” As for that other mega-franchise hitting theaters in 2012, Oldman said cryptically, “I know what else is behind the veil: Batman!” That doesn’t mean Oldman doesn’t have a few things still up his sleeve. For his role as a spy in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, for example, he “learned a few tricks.” Gary Oldman, super spy? Bring it!

The evening also featured a sneak peek (albeit only a split-second) of Ang Lee’s 3D Life of Pi adaptation, out next December. Inside the Winners Room, Breakthrough Actor recipient Jones mooned over her Like Crazy co-star Anton Yelchin, saying, “He is just a dream.” Then again, she might say the same of Lil Wayne, whom she unexpectedly named as a personal favorite. And TV fans were not left out in the cold last night. American Horror Story star Zachary Quinto (nominated as part of Margin Call‘s ensemble) revealed that he has at least one more episode on the show. “There’s a little bit of closure to the story as the season winds down,” he teased.

Other Notable SoundBites:

“What better representation of income inequality than a bunch of unfinanced filmmakers sitting in a room with George Clooney?” – Co-host Edie Falco, on the event’s proximity to Occupy Wall Street protests

“He must be an alien!” – The Descendants‘ star (and Breakthrough Actor nominee) Shailene Woodley on the only possible explanation for Clooney’s quick wit and unfaltering charm

“He said, ‘Don’t fry the f***ing kids at the end!'” – Ang Lee, recalling the first reaction of Fox bigwig, and Career Tribute honoree, Tom Rothman to The Ice Storm

“Somebody seems to have edited Speed 2 off my reel.” – Rothman, in his acceptance speech

“I’m a fraud. I’m here because I’m a failure. I’ve failed to sell out.” – David Cronenberg, accepting his Career Tribute

“I may ask for tips from her, to be honest.” – Oscar vet John Hawkes on giving awards season pointers to his buzzed-about Martha Marcy May Marlene costar Elizabeth Olsen, a Breakthrough Actor nominee

“That’s between George Clooney and God.” – Descendants star Matthew Lillard on whether Clooney went skinny dipping after the film wrapped

Read more:

‘Beginners,’ ‘Tree of Life’ tie for top prize at Gotham Awards

‘The Descendants,’ ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ lead Gotham Award nominations

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