The Gotham Independent Film Awards are one early bellwether of the strongest indie contenders in the awards race. These nominations have some impact on momentum and raise awareness for critics and the west coast Film Independent voting for the higher profile Independent Spirit nominations, and encourage distributors to get behind some potential candidates. A fallible group of committees puts up these names.
Next up: The New York Board of Review and LA and NY critics groups. The Gotham Awards take place on Monday, November 26th at Cipriani Wall Street.
As expected, summer hits "Moonrise Kingdom," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," and Richard Linklater's Jack Black-starrer "Bernie" lead the nominations --along with Ava DuVernay's "Middle of Nowhere," which is currently playing well with African American audiences--with two each. But "Beasts," which along with "Moonrise Kingdom" boasts the best chances of actually landing in the Oscar race with emerging actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, inexplicably didn't nab a best feature nomination.
Neither did "The Sessions," a blow for Searchlight with zero nods, or Weinstein's "Silver Linings Playbook," directed by David O. Russell, who is getting a special career tribute from the group. The movie did land a best ensemble nomination along with "Safety Not Guaranteed" and "Your Sister's Sister," which both feature Mark Duplass.
Surprise feature nominee was the "The Loneliest Planet," a micro-indie directed by Julia Loktev that has yet to gain traction with moviegoers (it opens October 26, more than a year after its Locarno debut). The others include "Bernie," "Middle of Nowhere," Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" and Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master."
Other snubs include "Arbitrage," for which Roadside harbors awards hopes, Open Road's Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer "End of Watch," and Sony Pictures Classics' "Smashed," which has earned praise for actors Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul.
Other tributes include Matt Damon (who stars in Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land"), Marion Cotillard (Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone") and Jeff Skoll (Participant). Here is TOH's interview with Wes Anderson and with "Beasts of the Southern Wild" breakthrough director nominee Benh Zeitlin.
Among the docs fighting for attention in an usually crowded year, Peter Nick's "The Waiting Room," which was overlooked by Sundance, will compete with four Sundance hits: Detroit expose "Detropia," AIDS history "How To Survive a Plague," HBO's "Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present" and Stanley Kubrick examination "Room 237." Four other higher-profile Sundance entries were passed over: Eugene Jarecki's grand jury prize winner "The House I Live In," Kirby Dick's incendiary attack on the military's treatment of its women, "The Invisible War," Lauren Greenfield's "The Queen of Versailles" and Peter Jackson and Amy Berg's "West of Memphis." Also left out was the Cannes and fall fest circuit doc from Ken Burns, "The Central Park Five."
Full nominations are here.