Gotham Awards nominations boost Oscar frontrunners ‘Spotlight,’ ‘Carol’ & ‘Room’

Three of our Oscar frontrunners — "Spotlight," "Carol" and "Room" — feature prominently in Thursday's announcement of nominations for the 25th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards (see full list below). These prizes are bestowed by the New York-based Independent Feature Project and salutes achievement in American indie films. This year's awards will be handed out on Monday Nov. 30, the beginning of a busy week that also sees winners announcements from the National Board of Review (Tuesday) and the New York Film Critics Circle (Wednesday).

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"Spotlight" and "Carol" are up for Best Feature at the Gothams as are "Diary of a Teenage Girl," "Heaven Knows What" and "Tangerine." Eligibility for this award is restricted to American films with a distributor that were made with "a economy of means." Compare that criterion to the rival Indie Spirits which consider only those films made for $20 million or less. 

"Room," an international co-production, had been thought to be ineligible here but qualified at the last minute as one of its producers, David Gross, resides stateside. Its star, Brie Larson, contends for Best Actress as do her Oscar rivals Cate Blanchett ("Carol"), Blythe Danner ("I’ll See You in My Dreams") and Lily Tomlin ("Grandma") as well as Bel Powley ("Diary of a Teenage Girl") and Kristen Wiig ("Welcome to Me"). 

However, another small scale movie with big Oscar ambitions — "Brooklyn" — was ineligible for consideration as it did not meet the domestic production requirement. 

The Gotham Awards split the acting categories into gender specific prizes that include supporting performances but have just a single breakthrough category. And while there is no longer a competitive Ensemble award, an honorary one was bestowed on the cast of "Spotlight." 

The nominees for each category are decided by separate juries of "distinguished film critics, journalists, festival programmers, and film curators." Winners will be decided by "separate juries of writers, directors, actors, producers, editors, and others directly involved in making films." 

Oscar experts clash over predictions: 'Spotlight' vs. 'Joy'

Best Feature
"Carol"
"The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
"Heaven Knows What"
"Spotlight"
"Tangerine"

Best Actor
Christopher Abbott, "James White"
Kevin Corrigan, "Results"
Paul Dano, "Love & Mercy"
Peter Sarsgaard, "Experimenter"
Michael Shannon, "99 Homes"

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, "Carol"
Blythe Danner, "I’ll See You in My Dreams"
Brie Larson, "Room"
Bel Powley, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
Lily Tomlin, "Grandma"
Kristen Wiig, "Welcome to Me"

Breakthrough Actor
Rory Culkin, "Gabriel"
Arielle Holmes, "Heaven Knows What"
Lola Kirke, "Mistress America"
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, "Tangerine"
Mya Taylor, "Tangerine"

Breakthrough Director
Desiree Akhavan, "Appropriate Behavior"
Jonas Carpigano, "Mediterranea"
Marielle Heller, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
John Magary, "The Mend"
Josh Mond, "James White"

Best Screenplay
"Carol, Phyllis Nagy 
"The Diary of a Teenage Girl," Marielle Heller 
"Love & Mercy," Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner
"Spotlight," Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer
"While We’re Young," Noah Baumbach

Best Documentary
"Approaching the Elephant"
"Cartel Land"
"Heart of a Dog"
"Listen to Me Marlon"
"The Look of Silence"

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