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And So It Begins, ‘The Descendants’ & ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ Lead Gotham Award Nominees

And So It Begins, 'The Descendants' & 'Martha Marcy May Marlene' Lead Gotham Award Nominees

Well folks, the first batch of nominees this awards season have been revealed, with the Gotham Independent Film Award nominations landing this morning, giving an early peek at what will likely be some strong contenders down the line. Bear in mind, the Gotham Awards have little bearing on the eventual Oscar nods with only last year’s Best Feature winner “Winter’s Bone” factoring into the proceedings at the Kodak Theater. However, it does represent a good chunk of what you might see at the Independent Spirit Awards later in the year and if anything, these nominations confirm that Fox Searchlight is going to have another banner year on the statue circuit.

The Descendants” and “Martha Marcy May Marlene” lead the pack with three nominations each. While it’s pretty much guaranteed that the George Clooney starring, Alexander Payne directed “The Descendants” will be a player at the Kodak Theater, less certain is how the decidedly more difficult “Martha Marcy May Marlene” will fare. Elizabeth Olsen, nominated here from Breakthrough Actor, seems a likely candidate for Best Actress, but anything beyond that seems doubtful. We’re pleased to see Mike Mills‘ excellent “Beginners” get some love, if only because we’re expecting it to be forgotten in the upcoming months. In the documentary category, we’re happy to see “Bill Cunningham New York” (a movie we listed as one of our faves of the year so far) and “The Interrupters” get some love. The latter by “Hoop Dreams” director Steve James is one of this writer’s favorite movies of the year, documentary or otherwise; a powerful account of the battle against inner city violence in Chicago that left us in tears more than once.

Otherwise, no terribly big surprises, though the absence of Jessica Chastain for anything seems a little odd. And we think giving the excellent “Take Shelter” a nod for Best Ensemble is a bit of a stretch. It’s pretty much a one-man show, and while the supporting cast is strong, we’re not sure we’d call it an ensemble piece. And if you’re wondering why some of your fave indies movies this year are missing completely, it’s probably due to the eligibility rules, which likely kept Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive” (foreign filmmaker), Cary Fukunaga’s “Jane Eyre” (foreign filmmaker), Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (foreign financing), Oren Moverman’s “Rampart” (not yet released theatrically) and Lynne Ramsay’s “We Need To Talk About Kevin” (not yet released theatrically, foreign filmmaker) out of contention. Full nominees below. The awards will be handed out on Monday, November 28th with Charlize Theron, Gary Oldman, David Cronenberg and Tom Rothman receiving career tributes. [IndieWire]

Best Feature
Mike Mills, director; Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech, Miranda de Pencier, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, producers (Focus Features)

The Descendants
Alexander Payne, director; Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor, producers (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Meek’s Cutoff
Kelly Reichardt, director; Neil Kopp, Anish Savjani, Elizabeth Cuthrell, David Urrutia, producers (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

Take Shelter
Jeff Nichols, director; Tyler Davidson, Sophia Lin, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)

The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick, director; Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Grant Hill, producers (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Best Documentary
Better This World
Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega, directors; Katie Galloway, Kelly Duane de la Vega, Mike Nicholson, producers (Loteria Films, Picturebox, Motto Pictures and Passion Pictures; ITVS in association with American Documentary | POV)

Bill Cunningham New York
Richard Press, director; Philip Gefter, producer (Zeitgeist Films)

Hell and Back Again
Danfung Dennis, director; Mike Lerner, Martin Herring, producers (Docurama Films)

The Interrupters
Steve James, director; Alex Kotlowitz, Steve James, producers (The Cinema Guild)

The Woodmans
C. Scott Willis, director; Neil Barrett, Jeff Werner, C. Scott Willis, producers (Lorber Films; Kino Lorber, Inc.)

Best Ensemble Performance
Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic, Kai Lennox, Mary Page Keller, Keegan Boos (Focus Features)

The Descendants
George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Beau Bridges, Robert Forster, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard, Nick Krause, Amara Miller, Mary Birdsong, Rob Huebel (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Margin Call
Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Aasif Mandvi (Roadside Attractions)

Martha Marcy May Marlene
Elizabeth Olsen, Christopher Abbott, Brady Corbet, Hugh Dancy, Maria Dizzia, Julia Garner, John Hawkes, Louisa Krause, Sarah Paulson (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Take Shelter
Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Tova Stewart, Shea Whigham, Katy Mixon, Kathy Baker, Ray McKinnon, Lisagay Hamilton, Robert Longstreet (Sony Pictures Classics)

Breakthrough Director

Mike Cahill for Another Earth (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Sean Durkin for Martha Marcy May Marlene (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Vera Farmiga for Higher Ground (Sony Pictures Classics)
Evan Glodell for Bellflower (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
Dee Rees for Pariah (Focus Features)

Breakthrough Actor

Felicity Jones in Like Crazy (Paramount Vantage)
Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Harmony Santana in Gun Hill Road (Motion Film Group)
Shailene Woodley in The Descendants (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Jacob Wysocki in Terri (ATO Pictures)

Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same
Madeleine Olnek, director; Laura Terruso, Madeleine Olnek, producers

Sophia Takal, director; Lawrence Michael Levine, producer

The Redemption of General Butt Naked
Eric Strauss, Daniele Anastasion, directors and producers

Scenes of a Crime
Blue Hadaegh & Grover Babcock, directors and producers

Mark Jackson, director; Mark Jackson, Jessica Dimmock, Michael Requa, Jaime Keeling, producers

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