The Gotham Awards, which are kind of the East Coast sibling of the Spirit Awards, have been announced. Unfortunately it wasn't great news for my beloved Short Term 12 (sigh). And though I don't feel as proprietary about Frances Ha, it's complete snub is just bizarre (SO I HAD TO TALK TO GRETA GERWIG ABOUT IT).
The nominating committee preferred mostly films by already established lauded filmmakers like The Coen Bros, Steve McQueen, and Richard Linklater. Short Term 12, the year's most heartfelt indie miracle, managed only one nomination for Best Actress (Brie Larson, interviewed here), which is a new category for the Gothams who have previously only awarded "Breakthrough" acting. Perhaps the Spirit Awards will come through for Short Term 12 if they can tear themselves away from barely independent studio-funded Oscar bait?
THE GOTHAM NOMINEES
Their Best Feature rarely has much correlation with Oscars... and that's a good thing since indie film awards ought to be thinking independently. [MORE...]
Still, this is but step one on 12 Years a Slave's march towards Oscar. Strangely it might not be good for the historical drama to win a lot of these early prizes since Oscar voters occassionally (though not always) bristle at feeling its their duty to be the final coronation for a sweeping film. The only film I've missed here is Saints which I've heard continual mixed things about. Though I loved Primer I found Shane Carruth's long awaited follow up Upstream Color nearly unwatchable in its opacity and pretense.
All of these documentaries are eligible for Oscar's correlative category. You can see the long list of 151 titles that qualify on the documentary chart page.
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award
This is where I'm most upset not to see Short Term 12. I haven't seen most of these pictures (oopsie) but none have the near unanimous acclaim of Hawaiian filmmaker Destin Cretton's second feature (and his first with any kind of profile thus a perfect fit for "breakthrough"). And for as much as Coogler manages potent moments in Fruitvale (which I liked for the most part), it's uneven at best. He's not the natural born filmmaker that Cretton appears to be.
If Nebraska qualified for the Gothams -- their criteria are somewhat murky but I'm betting it did -- this is a minor blow for Bruce Dern, who I was surprised to find myself preferring to Robert Redford in the Career Honors thread of the upcoming Best Actor race. I guess this nomination means the filmmaking community has forgiven Isaiah Washington for the gay slurs which derailed his career several years ago.
Fun set of nominees, yes? I mean if you pretend the WTF snubs of Greta Gerwig and Julie Delpy didn't just happen.
Though Upstream Color is BY FAR my least favorite of these films, Seimetz is very talented and I'm glad she's getting regular offers or at least popping up in key indies so frequently (she's also really good in the gay drama Pit Stop). Thrilled to see Scarlett Johansson surprise here since she's just so funny and sexy in Don Jon while also remembering to create a whole dimensional character. But I'm rooting for Brie Larson because lord knows Cate Blanchett doesn't need all 34 of the season's Best Actress prizes that she's bound to win. I expect her season-long sweep starts here. Sweeps are so boring... even when the performance is that magnificent.
This is where I announce that I'm sorry I missed Concussion which I've heard good things about because I think Weigert can be a wonder. I have no idea who is going to win this but Nyong'o better be on her way to an Oscar nomination.
Euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers
This is a $25,000 grant for emerging filmmakers. The Nominees are...
Which of these nominees are you cheering for and which would you gladly replace with a snubee? I will eventually have to forgive them for dissing Short Term 12 and Frances Ha because if you want diversity of opinion in awards season you have to except the sacrifices of consensus darlings here and there. I just hope that the Spirit Awards course correct.
THE AUDIENCE AWARD
This nominee field has yet to be announced but you can vote on your favorites here including Short Term 12 though bizarrely NOT Frances Ha. What's going on here?