You might feel at this stage like the awards season's been going on for months, but that's not quite the case — the nominees for the first precursor awards of the season were only announced yesterday. As has become tradition, it's for the Independent Filmmaker Project's Gotham Independent Film Awards, a sort of East Coast answer to the Independent Spirit Awards.
As ever, the budgetary limits and qualifiers are a little wooly, with relatively expensive, starry pictures rubbing their shoulders with genuinely small-scale projects. With only four major categories, nothing gets more than two nominations, with "Bernie," "Middle Of Nowhere," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Moonrise Kingdom" all picking up two, and all but 'Beasts' nominated for Best Feature, joined by "The Loneliest Planet" and "The Master."
"Safety Not Guaranteed," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Your Sister's Sister" are also nominated for Best Ensemble, while "Room 237" and "Detropia" are among the documentary nods. And in the breakthrough categories, the bigger names include Quvenzhané Wallis, her director Benh Zeitlin, "Sleepwalk With Me" multi-hyphenate Mike Birbiglia, and Playlist favorite Melanie Lynskey.
What does all this mean for the awards race in general? Not a lot. Few films in the Gothams' remit end up being Best Picture nominees or winners (with "The Hurt Locker" being one of the few exceptions) — and last year, the top prize was taken by a tie between "Beginners" and "The Tree Of Life," with only the latter getting in the Best Picture hunt.
What it is useful for is to give smaller movies a push towards the limelight, and it's probably "Bernie" and "Moonrise Kingdom" that benefit the most — both are early-year pictures that need events like this to keep up their momentum — while "The Master" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" can't be too upset, even if the former only picked up one nod, and the latter missed out on Best Picture, for whatever reason.
The Gotham Awards will be held on November 26th in New York, at a ceremony where Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, David O. Russell and Jeff Skoll will all be given honorary awards too. Read the full list of nominees below.
Richard Linklater, director; Richard Linklater, Ginger Sledge, Celine Rattray, Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer, Matt Williams, David McFadzean, Judd Payne, Dete Meserve, producers (Millennium Entertainment)
"The Loneliest Planet"
Julia Loktev, director; Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Helge Albers, Marie Therese Guirgis, producers (Sundance Selects)
Paul Thomas Anderson, director; Joanne Sellar, Daniel Lupi, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison, producers (The Weinstein Company)
"Middle of Nowhere"
Ava DuVernay, director; Howard Barish, Ava DuVernay, Paul Garnes, producers (AFFRM and Participant Media)
Wes Anderson, director; Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, Jeremy Dawson, producers (Focus Features)
Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, directors; Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady, Craig Atkinson, producers (Loki Films)
"How to Survive a Plague"
David France, director; Howard Gertler, David France, producers (Sundance Selects)
"Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present"
Matthew Akers, director; Jeff Dupre, Maro Chermayeff, producers (HBO Documentary Films and Music Box Films)
Rodney Ascher, director; Tim Kirk, producer (IFC Midnight)
"The Waiting Room"
Peter Nicks, director; Peter Nicks, Linda Davis, William B. Hirsch, producers (International Film Circuit)
Best Ensemble Performance
Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey (Millennium Entertainment)
Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban (Focus Features)
"Safety Not Guaranteed"
Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Jenica Bergere, Kristen Bell, Jeff Garlin, Mary Lynn Rajskub (Film District)
"Silver Linings Playbook"
Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher (The Weinstein Company)
"Your Sister’s Sister"
Emily Blunt, Rosemarie Dewitt, Mark Duplass (IFC Films)
Zal Batmanglij for "Sound of My Voice" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky for "Francine" (Factory 25 and The Film Sales Company)
Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin for "Now, Forager" (Argot Pictures)
Antonio Méndez Esparza for "Aquí y Allá" (Here and There) (Torch Films)
Benh Zeitlin for "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Mike Birbiglia in "Sleepwalk with Me" (IFC Films)
Emayatzy Corinealdi in "Middle of Nowhere" (AFFRM and Participant Media)
Thure Lindhardt in "Keep the Lights On" (Music Box Films)
Melanie Lynskey in "Hello, I Must Be Going" (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
Quvenzhané Wallis in "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You
David Zellner, director; Nathan Zellner, Producer
"An Oversimplification of Her Beauty"
Terence Nance, director; Terence Nance, Andrew Corkin, James Bartlett, producers
Alex Karpovsky, director; Alex Karpovsky, Michael Bowes, producers
"Sun Don’t Shine"
Amy Seimetz, director; Kim Sherman, Amy Seimetz, producers
"Tiger Tail in Blue"
Frank V. Ross, director; Adam Donaghey, Drew Durepos, producers
Euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ Grant
Leah Meyerhoff, director, "I Believe In Nowhere"
Stacie Passon, director, "Concussion"
Visra Vichit Vadakan, "Karaoke Girl"