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AWARDS WATCH: IFP Unveils Gotham Nominees: “The Departed,” “Half Nelson,” “Little Children,” “Marie

AWARDS WATCH: IFP Unveils Gotham Nominees: "The Departed," "Half Nelson," "Little Children," "Marie

The Independent Feature Project (IFP) announced the nominees for its 16th Annual Gotham Awards fundraiser, unveiling a selection of films that may stun some observers. The nominating committee for the Gotham Award for best picture chose a list that includes an incredibly wide spectrum of films. Ranging from big budget studio movies to low budget indies, the nominees for best feature are: Martin Scorsese‘s “The Departed,” Ryan Fleck‘s “Half Nelson,” Todd Field‘s “Little Children,” Sofia Coppola‘s “Marie Antoinette,” and Kelly Reichardt‘s “Old Joy.” A total of 148 films were submitted to the Gotham Awards Nominating Committee for consideration in all categories, with the best picture nominees selected by critics and journalists John Anderson, Karen Durbin, Stephen Garrett, and Lisa Schwarzbaum. The event will be held on November 29, 2006 in New York City.

“Its fairly subjective,” explained IFP Executive Director Michelle Byrd, when asked by indieWIRE today to reiterate the criteria for the Gotham Awards. “It is essentially saying that this is a film that has the imprint of a specific voice.” Continuing, she added, “From my point of view, all of the films on the list do have that, irrespective of their budget sizes. Part of what we are trying to do is celebrate the art and craft of filmmaking.” She added, “I do think that it’s always kind of subjective.”

The complete list of nominees is available below here at

In an announcement, the IFP said today that the Gothams celebrate, “the authentic voices behind and in front of the camera in films made this year.” Continuing, the statement said, “By recognizing that the best films come from a place that is more firmly rooted in the grasp of filmmakers – and not made by committee – the Gotham Awards salute the innovative films and filmmakers whose passion and vision make their way on to the screen year after year.” After this story was published, the IFP contacted indieWIRE to add that the competitive Gotham Awards are eligible to American films only.

On the entire other end of the spectrum, nominated for the ‘Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You’ prize are Steve Barron‘s “Choking Man,” Richard Wong‘s “Colma: The Musical,” So Yong Kim‘s “In Between Days,” Jake Clennell‘s “The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief,” and Goran Dukic‘s “Wristcutters: A Love Story.”

The IFP noted in a statement that a jury of peers will decide the winners in the six competitive categories.

IFP Executive Director Michelle Byrd also announced that actors Kate Winslet and Edward Norton will receive 2006 Gotham Tributes. Winslet is currently on screen in Todd Field‘s “Little Children,” while Norton can be seen right now in “The Illusionist,” and earlier this year appearned in “Down In The Valley,” which he also produced. His upcoming film is “The Painted Veil.”

New this year is the first World Cinema Tribute, honoring a group of filmmakers who work together. The Gothams will salute Alfonso Cuaron (“Children of Men”), Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labryinth”) and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Babel”), for their contributions to international film. Additional Gotham tribute honorees are still to be announced.

Previously announced is a tribute to Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban, partners in Wagner/Cuban Companies, which owns Landmark Theaters, 2929 Productions, Magnolia Pictures, HDNet Films and the cable networks, HDNet and HDNet Movies.

Admitting that she expects this year’s nominations may stir a debate, MIchelle Byrd told indieWIRE, “We are recognizing a kind of committment to a director’s voice, people need to free themselves to not have restrictions — It’s kind of like a critic’s list, only critics can have that freedom.” Concluding she added, “For us it is about sparking dialogue — I think the films are all realy strong.”

The 2006 Gotham Award Nominees are:

Best Feature

The Departed
Martin Scorsese, director; Brad Pitt, Brad Grey, Graham King, producers (Warner Bros.)

Half Nelson
Ryan Fleck, director; Jamie Patricof, Alex Orlovsky, Lynette Howell, Anna Boden, Rosanne Korenberg, producers (ThinkFilm)

Little Children
Todd Field, director; Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, Todd Field, producers (New Line Cinema)

Marie Antoinette
Sofia Coppola, director; Ross Katz, Sofia Coppola, producers (Sony Pictures)

Old Joy
Kelly Reichardt, director; Neil Kopp, Lars Knudsen, Jay Van Hoy, Anish Savjani, producers
(Kino International)

Best Documentary

Deliver Us from Evil
Amy Berg, director; Amy Berg, Frank Donner, Hermas Lassalle, Matthew Cooke, producers (Lionsgate)

Following Sean
Ralph Arlyck, director; Ralph Arlyck, Malcolm Pullinger, producers (Upstate Films/Shadow Releasing)

An Inconvenient Truth
Davis Guggenheim, director; Laurie David, Lawrence Bender, Scott Z. Burns, producers
(Paramount Classics & Participant Productions)

Iraq in Fragments
James Longley, director; James Longley, John Sinno, producers (Typecast Releasing in association with HBO Documentary Films)

Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple
Stanley Nelson, director/producer (Seventh Art Releasing)

Best Ensemble Cast

Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal, Koji Yakusho, Adriana Barraza, Rinko Kikuchi, Said Tarchani, Boubker Ait El Caid (Paramount Vantage)

For Your Consideration
Bob Balaban, Jennifer Coolidge, Christopher Guest, John Michael Higgins, Eugene Levy, Jane Lynch, Michael McKean, Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, Harry Shearer, Fred Willard
(Warner Independent Pictures)

Little Miss Sunshine
Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, Alan Arkin
(Fox Searchlight Pictures)

A Prairie Home Companion
Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Garrison Keillor, Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan, Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, L.Q. Jones, Sue Scott, Tim Russell (Picturehouse)

Sook-Yin Lee, Paul Dawson, Lindsay Beamish, PJ DeBoy, Raphael Barker, Peter Stickles, Jay Brannan, Justin Bond (ThinkFilm)

Breakthrough Director

Ramin Bahrani for “Man Push Cart” (Films Philos)
Laurie Collyer for “Sherrybaby” (IFC Films)
Ryan Fleck for “Half Nelson” (ThinkFilm)
So Yong Kim for “In Between Days”
James Marsh for “The King” (ThinkFilm)

Breakthrough Actor

Abigail Breslin in “Little Miss Sunshine” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Shareeka Epps in “Half Nelson” (ThinkFilm)
Melinda Page Hamilton in “Sleeping Dogs Lie” (Roadside Attractions / Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Rinko Kikuchi in “Babel” (Paramount Vantage)
Channing Tatum in “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” (First Look Pictures)

Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You

Choking Man
Steve Barron, director; Joshua Zeman, Zachary Mortensen, producers

Colma: The Musical
Richard Wong, director; Paul Kolsanoff, Richard Wong, Angel Vasquez, producers

In Between Days
So Yong Kim, director; Bradley Rust Gray, producer

The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief
Jake Clennell, director/producer

Wristcutters: A Love Story
Goran Dukic, director; Adam Sherman, Chris Coen, Tatiana Kelly, Mikal P. Lazarev, producers

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