"Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Bernie," "Middle of Nowhere," and "Moonrise Kingdom" led the 22nd Gotham Independent Film Award nominations with two apiece, it was announced this morning.
It was -- as always -- a rather surprising and occasionally wacky batch of nominations, with perhaps the biggest snub coming with "Beasts" missing out on the best feature category in favor of unsuspected nominee Julia Loktev's "The Loneliest Planet."
"Planet" was joined in that category by Richard Linklater's "Bernie," Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," Ava DuVernay's "Middle of Nowhere" and Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom." Indiewire's predictions earlier this week had suggested "The Master" and "Moonrise" would be joined by "Beasts," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "The Sessions."
"Silver Linings" managed to score a nom in the best ensemble category (and its director David O. Russell was already announced as a Career Tribute honoree, along with Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard and Jeff Skoll), but "The Sessions" was snubbed completely. Other films that didn't make the cut in any category: "Arbitrage," "Compliance," "End of Watch," "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and "Smashed."
In the documentary category, four Sundance premieres -- Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's "Detropia," David France's "How To Survive a Plague," Matthew Akers's "Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present" and Rodney Ascher's "Room 237" -- will go up against Peter Nick's "The Waiting Room," which premiered at Full Frame. Snubbed docs included "The Central Park Five," "The House I Live In," "The Invisible War," "The Queen of Versailles" and "West of Memphis."
One of the weirdest nominations came in the breakthrough actor category, where Melanie Lynskey was nominated for "Hello, I Must Be Going." While there are clearly a few ways to define "breakthrough," by most standards Lynskey's came in 1994's "Heavenly Creatures," and she's enjoyed a consistent career ever since. She'll be up against genuine newcomers Emayatzy Corinealdi ("Middle of Nowhere"), Thure Lindhardt ("Keep The Lights On"), Quvenzhané Wallis ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"), and Gotham Awards host Mike Birbiglia ("Sleepwalk With Me").
The nominations were decided by various small committees listed below, including Indiewire's own Eric Kohn (and they give clues as to a few snubs... Karina Longworth, for example, negatively reviewed "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and was 20% of the best feature vote).
Nominating Committee for Best Feature and Breakthrough Director:
Scott Foundas, Associate Program Director, Film Society of Lincoln Center; Contributing Editor, Film Comment
Ann Hornaday, Film Critic, The Washington Post
Glenn Kenny, Chief Film Critic, MSN Movies
Karina Longworth, Film Writer, LA Weekly & Village Voice
Wesley Morris, Film Critic, The Boston Globe
Nominating Committee for Best Ensemble Performance and Breakthrough Actor:
Peter Debruge, Senior Film Critic/Associate Features Editor, Variety
Ed Gonzalez, Film Editor and Co-Founder, Slant Magazine
Eric Kohn, Lead Film Critic, Indiewire
Leah Rozen, Movie Critic, The Wrap.com and freelance writer
Elizabeth Weitzman, Film Critic, New York Daily News
Nominating Committee for Best Documentary:
Cynthia Fuchs, Film-TV Editor, PopMatters
Tom Hall, Artistic Director, Sarasota Film Festival
Rachel Rosen, Artistic Director, San Francisco Film Society
Ronnie Scheib, Film Critic, Variety
Sky Sitney, Festival Director, AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Festival
Nominating Committee for Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You:
Joshua Siegel, Associate Curator, Department of Film, Museum of Modern Art; and members of the editorial staff of Filmmaker Magazine: Scott Macaulay (Editor-in-Chief), Nick Dawson, Brandon Harris, Ray Pride, Alicia Van Couvering
The Gotham Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, November 26th at Cipriani Wall Street. Full list of nominations on the next page (and click on each film title for their Criticwire pages).