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Awards Season Kicks Off with Gotham Noms: Hurt Locker Gets Boost

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 19, 2009 at 5:24AM

Each successive round of awards announcements is about whether a movie gets a boost or not. It's not terrible to be left out of the Gotham Independent Film Award nominations. It's more about getting a slight boost as you build toward the inevitable momentum that accrues to the eventual real contenders for the Golden Globes, Indie Spirits or the Oscars. It gets harder, as time goes on, to grab attention in order to coax critics and Academy voters to watch your film. Otherwise you wind up on the bottom of a growing DVD pile.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Each successive round of awards announcements is about whether a movie gets a boost or not. It's not terrible to be left out of the Gotham Independent Film Award nominations. It's more about getting a slight boost as you build toward the inevitable momentum that accrues to the eventual real contenders for the Golden Globes, Indie Spirits or the Oscars. It gets harder, as time goes on, to grab attention in order to coax critics and Academy voters to watch your film. Otherwise you wind up on the bottom of a growing DVD pile.

I organized my burgeoning piles this weekend: movies I've seen, don't have to see, need to see first. And I'm more likely than most to watch something I've never heard of. It's my job to function as a gatekeeper. But as more and more screeners arrive, the movies with established cred go on the must-see pile.

The movies that got a push today from the Gothams on the road to more acclaim are Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, which landed three noms and a tribute for Bigelow, as well as the Coen brothers' A Serious Man, which was also on the list for best feature along with Big Fan, The Maid, and Amreeka. Ben Foster (The Messenger) and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) grabbed more buzz as breakthrough actor nominees.

With a long list of docs vying for awards slots, Gotham nominees Food Inc. and Tyson continue to move ahead of the fray. I saw Chris Rock's Good Hair this weekend; weirdly, the show he did with Oprah Winfrey was even more enlightening than the movie, which was hugely entertaining but unlikely to be a serious awards contender.

This article is related to: Awards, Genres, Independents, Oscars, Indie Spirits, Golden Globes


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.