Two summer releases — “Bernie” and “Moonrise Kingdom” — each got big boosts to their Oscar campaigns with twin bids for Best Feature and Best Ensemble at the 22nd annual Gotham Independent Film Awards. These awards will be handed out on Nov. 26, a full week before the New York Film Critics Circle announce their picks for the best of the year.
Also up for Best Feature are “The Master,” “The Loneliest Planet,” “Middle of Nowhere.” 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.
The other three films in contention for Best Ensemble are Oscar frontrunner “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Safety Not Guaranteed” and “Your Sister’s Sister.”
The nominees for each category are decided by separate juries of “distinguished film critics, journalists, festival programmers, and film curators.” The winners will be decided by “separate juries of writers, directors, actors, producers, editors, and others directly involved in making films.”
Last year, “Beginners” and eventual Oscar nominee “The Tree of Life” shared the Best Feature prize while “Beginners” also won Best Ensemble. “The Descendants” lost both those races but also reaped a Best Picture Oscar bid.
This year, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” was snubbed in both these top races but Benh Zeitlin contends for Breakthrough Director while Oscar hopeful Quvenzhane Wallis is up for Breakthrough Performance.
The other helmers in contention are: Zal Batmanglij (“Sound of My Voice”), Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky (“Francine”), Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin (“Now, Forager”) and Antonio Méndez Esparza for (“Aquí y Allá”).
The other acting nominees are: Mike Birbiglia (“Sleepwalk with Me”), Emayatzy Corinealdi (“Middle of Nowhere”), Thure Lindhardt (“Keep the Lights On”) and Melanie Lynskey (“Hello, I Must Be Going”).
Best Documentary contenders are: “Detropia,” “How to Survive a Plague,” “Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present,” “Room 237” and “The Waiting Room.”
And the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You nominees are: “Kid-Thing,” “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty,” “Red Flag,” “Sun Don’t Shine” and “Tiger Tail in Blue.”