I realize I’m a bit early in declaring the winner of this year’s Gotham Awards–the event doesn’t take place until November 28–but when the nominees were announced today, it seemed to me almost a certainty that Alexander Payne’s George Clooney dramatic crowd-pleaser “The Descendants” would take home New York’s answer to the Spirit Awards (or if you’re feeling generous, the Oscars).
While the Gotham Awards are thankfully awarded by a jury (and not that mass voting membership of the Spirit Awards’ Film Independent members, which always guarantees that the biggest box-office winner takes the top prize), I do know that the juries are often made up of dissenting critics and journalists, which leads to a winning film determined out of consensus, not passion.
So if you look at the other nominees, “Meek’s Cutoff” (no way), “Take Shelter” (too dark), “Beginners” (liked, but not enough), and “Tree of Life” (too divisive), I’d say “The Descendants” has it in the bag, unless “Take Shelter” advocates stage a coup.
I’m surprised that “Martha Marcy May Marlene” did not nab a Best Picture slot, which could have had a shot. But “Martha” director Sean Durkin is virtually guaranteed a win for Best Breakthrough Director.
Wait for the “Toldjas” at the end of next month.