Indie Spirits vs Gotham Awards: Two independent film prizes do battle

Confused by the differences between the Indie Spirits and the Gotham Awards, which both celebrate the best of independent filmmaking? Read on to find out what makes each of these awardfests stand out from the other, beyond just a matter of timing. The Indie Spirits, which announced its nominations on Nov. 21, are handed out just 24 hours before the Oscars while the Gothams kick off awards season in late November.

SEE Independent Spirit Awards 2018 nominations dominated by Oscar contenders

While the Indie Spirits consider only those films made for $20 million or less, the Gothams restrict eligibility to American films with a distributor that were made with “a economy of means.” That latter rule meant the British/American co-production “Call Me By Your Name,” which reaped a leading six Spirit nominations, was ineligible at the Gothams. Among the films that fared well with both groups are “Get Out,” which netted five Spirit and four Gotham nominations and “Lady Bird,” which went four and three respectively.

The Gothams and Spirits used to be handed out by the East and West Coast branches of the same organization, the Independent Feature Project. Then in 2006, the Californians broke off from New York and three other IFP groups in 2006 and formed Film Independent.

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 is often bestowed, as it was this year to the cast of “Mudbound.”

SEE Gotham Award nominations: ‘Get Out’ leads with 4, ‘The Florida Project’ and ‘Lady Bird’ at 3

The Spirits echo the Academy Awards (indeed these prizes are traditionally doled out on the day before the Oscars) with a full slate of acting awards as well as prizes for directing, writing, cinematography and foreign film. This year’s nominees were revealed six days before the Gotham Awards take place.

DISCUSS All the Oscar contenders with Hollywood insiders in our notorious forums

Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.

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