Thursday, October 24, 2013

12 Years a Slave Leads the Gotham Award Nominations, that Helps at Oscar but is Not a Slam Dunk

Last year's big winner at the Gotham Awards for Best Feature, was Moonrise Kingdom, the year before that was a tie between Beginners, and Tree of Life.  In looking at the past winners/nominees in the last five years the only film to win at Gotham and the the Oscars was The Hurt Locker (2009).    Many of the feature film winners have gone on to score nominations, Moonrise Kingdom received one for Best Original Screenplay. Beginners received a Supporting Actor nomination, and win for Christopher Plummer.  The Tree of Life scored 3 nominations including Picture, Director, and Cinematography.  Gotham was also one of the first launching points for nominations for Winter's Bone (4 nominations), and Frozen River (1 nomination). 

This year 12 Years a Slave has 3 nominations, more than any film.  The problem/interesting fact about these awards is that the actual categories have changed over the years, and sometimes they pull out a surprise winner.  I could see any of these five films winning this award.  Before Midnight has a strong chance to upset.
With all that on the table the Gotham Awards are one of the first awards of the season, but they rarely impact anything.  My hope is that they avoid being a rubber stamper for Oscar winners, especially in the new Best Actor, and Best Actress  category.  The "cool" thing to me about these awards is that the remind of the way the Independent Spirit Awards used to look, let's just hope they do not follow Alice down the rabbit hole, and try to become a rubber stamp for Oscar.
Best Feature
12 Years a Slave
Steve McQueen, director; Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Bill Pohlad, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Anthony Katagas, producers. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
David Lowery, director; Tony Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Amy Kaufman, Cassian Elwes, producers (IFC Films)
Before Midnight
Richard Linklater, director; Richard Linklater, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Sara Woodhatch, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)
Inside Llewyn Davis
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, directors; Scott Rudin, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, producers (CBS Films)
Upstream Color
Shane Carruth, director; Shane Carruth, Casey Gooden, Ben LeClair, producers. (erbp)

Best Documentary
The Act of Killing
Joshua Oppenheimer, director; Signe Byrge, Joshua Oppenheimer, producers (Drafthouse Films)
The Crash Reel
Lucy Walker, director; Julian Cautherly, Lucy Walker, producers (HBO Documentary Films)
First Cousin Once Removed
Alan Berliner, director and producer (HBO Documentary Films)
Let the Fire Burn
Jason Osder, director and producer (Zeitgeist Films)
Our Nixon
Penny Lane, director; Brian L. Frye, Penny Lane, producers (Cinedigm and CNN Films)

Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award
Ryan Coogler for Fruitvale Station (The Weinstein Company)
Adam Leon for Gimme the Loot (Sundance Selects)
Alexandre Moors for Blue Caprice (Sundance Selects)
Stacie Passon for Concussion (RADiUS-TWC)
Amy Seimetz for Sun Don’t Shine (Factory 25)

Best Actor
Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis (CBS Films)
Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features)
Robert Redford in All Is Lost (Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions)
Isaiah Washington in Blue Caprice (Sundance Selects)

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics)
Scarlett Johansson in Don Jon (Relativity Media)
Brie Larson in Short Term 12 (Cinedigm)
Amy Seimetz in Upstream Color (erbp)
Shailene Woodley in The Spectacular Now (A24)

Breakthrough Actor
Dane DeHaan in Kill Your Darlings (Sony Pictures Classics)
Kathryn Hahn in Afternoon Delight (The Film Arcade and Cinedigm)
Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station (The Weinstein Company)
Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Robin Weigert in Concussion (RADiUS-TWC)

The nominating committees consisted of:

Nominating Committee for Best Feature and Breakthrough Director:
Scott Foundas, Lead Film Critic, Variety
Eric Kohn, Lead Film Critic, Indiewire
Christy Lemire, Film Critic, and co-host, What the Flick?!
Andrew O’Hehir, Film Critic,
Dana Stevens, Movie Critic, Slate

Nominating Committee for Best Actor, Best Actress, and Breakthrough Actor:
Justin Chang, Senior Film Critic, Variety
Noah Cowan, Artistic Director, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post Film and Theater Film Critic
David Rooney, Film & Theater Critic, The Hollywood Reporter
Leah Rozen, freelance entertainment writer

Nominating Committee for Best Documentary:
Charlotte Cook, Director of ProgrammingHot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festiva
lBen Fowlie, Founder & Executive Director, Camden International Film Festival 
Cynthia Fuchs, Film-TV Editor, PopMatters
Mike Maggiore, Programmer and Publicist, Film Forum
Sky Sitney, Festival Director, AFI Docs

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