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.