Lee Daniels, always a provocateur, addressed the huge crowd at Cipriani Wall Street at this week’s Gotham Awards with a confession: he hates white people. No one gasped. It was not clear whether this proclamation was part of his complaint that no one in the cavernous space was listening to his introduction of honoree Forest Whitaker. Was he merely trying to grab the attention? All night long at this, the annual awards given to “independent” –i.e. non-Hollywood fare, speakers seemed daunted by the noise in the room throwing off the rhythms of, for example, the evening’s host, comedian Nick Kroll, who was decidedly unfunny. Still, Whitaker managed to present a gentle, Zen-like oration. And Steve Buscemi speaking of James Gandolfini delivered a moving tribute to the Tony Soprano actor who died so suddenly this past summer. “What a loss,” he noted of this most beloved actor whose family was present for the tribute.