By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire October 25, 2005 at 5:00AM
An eclectic mix of films has been nominated for the 15th annual Gotham Awards, to be presented in New York City on November 30, 2005. Once again, the night will usher in an awards season that will continue for more than three months, culminating with the 78th Academy Awards in early March of next year. Presented by Independent Feature Project (IFP), this year's Gotham Award for Best Feature includes a wide range of movies, from a low-budget film like Lodge Kerrigan's "Keane" to the much bigger "A History of Violence" by David Cronenberg (pegged at a $32 million budget). Rounding out the race for best feature are Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain," Bennett Miller's "Capote", and Miranda July's "Me and You and Everyone We Know."
The Gothams celebrate, in the words of the IFP, "the innovative films and filmmakers whose passion and vision make their way onto the screen year after year." Three separate nominating committees (listed below) selected the nominees, with the IFP planning to announce next month the films vying for the Best Film Not Playing At A Theater Near You award (for films without theatrical distribution). Winners will be chosen by a group of peers, according to the IFP.
In the best documentary category, the competing films are Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller's "Ballet Russes", "Alex Gibney's "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," Werner Herzog's "Grizzly Man," Henry-Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro's "Murderball", and Michael Almereyda's "William Eggleston In The Real World."
No single film dominated this year's nominees, with honors spread across a number of titles. Among the films that were nominated for a pair of prizes this year were "Brokeback Mountain," "Capote," "Me and You and Everyone We Know," "Keane," and Phil Morrison's "Junebug."
"2005 was a particularly good year for films made with creative conviction and a strong point of view," said IFP Executive Director Michelle Byrd, in a statement. "That's what the IFP seeks to celebrate through the Gotham Awards. We are especially pleased to have visionary directors working at their peak among our nominees, as well as directors whose work has yet to receive widespread public recognition on our own shores, not to mention several breakthrough actors and directors bursting onto the scene with high hopes about future projects."
Matt Dillon, star of this year's "Crash" and the upcoming "Factotum" will receive this year's Gotham Awards Feature Tribute, with HBO's Sheila Nevins and producer Bob Yari serving as Gala co-chairs. In a statement this summer, Nevins and Yari cited the Gothams as supporting the "vision behind independent filmmaking," but IFP's Michelle Byrd clarified during a July conversation with indieWIRE that the Gothams are not restricted by the often confusing term, "independent." She told indieWIRE at the time that for many the term independent signals marginalization, is seen as a badge of honor to others, or has even been viewed as being co-opted. So she said, "By bypassing that word altogether, we are trying to bring it back to the work." She emphasized that the Gotham Awards are meant to recognize "auteur driven films that are in the creative control of filmmakers," including the "actors from those films and the emerging from those films." She added, "Its kind of subjective."
The IFP embraces the subjectivity as an important part of the Gothams said Byrd, in the conversation with indieWIRE this summer when she announced the creation of new competitive categories. A committee that includes festival programmers and critics chooses the nominees and winners in each category. "Ultimately these are all juried awards," she said, "Sometimes you get unusual choices -- filmmaking and film criticism are really subjective."
Serving on the three nominating committee's this year were: critic Karen Durbin, programmer Raj Roy, critic Lisa Schwartzbaum, and critic Peter Travers (Best Feature and Breakthrough Director); publication editor Scott Foundas, festival director Diana Lee, curator David Schwartz, IFP's Milton Tabbot (Best Documentary); publication editor Graham Fuller, reporter Stephen Garrett, reporter Dave Karger, and organization founder Moikgantsi Kgama (Breakthrough Actor and Best Ensemble Cast).
Last year, the Gothams moved from September to December, kicking off awards season and recognizing such films as "Sideways" and "Maria Full Grace," movies that would be singled out at numerous other events in the run up to Oscar Night in late February.
(Directed by Ang Lee / Written by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana / Produced by Diana Ossana and James Schamus)
(Directed by Bennett Miller / Written by Dan Futterman / Produced by Caroline Baron, William Vince and Michael Ohoven)
"A History of Violence"
(Directed by David Cronenberg / Written by Josh Olson / Produced by Chris Bender and JC Spink)
(Written and directed by Lodge Kerrigan / Produced by Andrew Fierberg)
"Me and You and Everyone We Know"
(Written and directed by Miranda July / Produced by Gina Kwon)
(Directed by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller / Written by Dan Geller, Dayna Goldfine, Gary Weimberg and Celeste Schaefer Snyder / Produced by Dan Geller, Dayna Goldfine, Robert Hawk and Douglas Blair Turnbaugh)
"Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room"
(Written and directed by Alex Gibney / Produced by Alex Gibney, Jason Kliot and Susan Motamed)
(Directed by Werner Herzog / Produced by Erik Nelson)
(Directed by Henry-Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro / Produced by Jeffrey Mandel and Dana Adam Shapiro)
"William Eggleston in the Real World"
(Directed by Michael Almereyda / Produced by Michael Almereyda, Jesse Dylan and Anthony Katagas)
Miranda July for "Me and You and Everyone We Know"
Bennett Miller for "Capote"
Phil Morrison for "Junebug"
Andrew Wagner for "The Talent Given Us"
Alice Wu for "Saving Face"
Amy Adams as "Ashley" in "Junebug"
Camilla Belle as "Rose Slavin" in "The Ballad of Jack and Rose"
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as "Neil" in "Mysterious Skin"
Terrence Howard as "DJay" in "Hustle & Flow"
Damian Lewis as "William Keane" in "Keane"
BEST ENSEMBLE CAST
(Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Linda Cardellini, Randy Quaid, Anna Faris)
(Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, William Fichtner, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Dashon Howard, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillippe, Larenz Tate, Nona Gaye, Michael Pena)
"Good Night, and Good Luck"
(David Strathairn, Patricia Clarkson, George Clooney, Jeff Daniels, Robert Downey Jr., Frank Langella)
(Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman, Elpidia Carrillo, Glenn Close. Stephen Dillane, Dakota Fanning, William Fichtner, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Holly Hunter, Jason Isaacs, Joe Mantegna, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, Mary Kay Place, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Aidan Quinn, Miguel Sandoval, Amanda Seyfried, Sissy Spacek, Robin Wright Penn)
"The Squid and the Whale"
(Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline)