With the nominations for the 20th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards announced today, many agree that the 2010 awards season is now officially underway. For those unfamiliar with the Gotham Awards, it is a ceremony hosted each year in New York City (which was nicknamed “Gotham” years ago by Washington Irving) to honor the makers of independent films. They are part of the Independent Feature Project (IFP) which is said to boast the largest membership organization in the United States dedicated to independent cinema.
In the Best Film category are two of the most well regarded indie films of 2010: “Winter’s Bone” and “The Kids Are All Right.” While the box office for both films is not necessarily through the roof, critics in general have lavished endless praise on each, so they were bound to be nominated here. Also on the list are a couple of films which have not yet seen a major theatrical release, and they are “Blue Valentine” which was recently slapped with an NC-17 rating (probably for no really good reason), and “Black Swan” which is the latest from Darren Aronofsky. Both of these films have generated tremendous buzz over the past month or so, “Black Swan” especially for drawing some of the most polarized reactions of any film this past year.
But the biggest surprise everyone can agree on in the Best Film category was the “Let Me In,” Matt Reeves’ remake of the brilliant vampire movie from 2008, “Let The Right One In.” Although it has stumbled at the box office, the reviews for “Let Me In” have actually turned out to be better than anyone could have expected. Many fans of the original were against this version from start, figuring that Hollywood would just take out all that was great and special about it. But the fact that it now stands out in a sea of endless remakes, many of them ranging from bad to flat out unnecessary, “Let Me In” proves to be a respectful remake that was made with great care. With its Best Film nomination, perhaps the movie will be more strongly received as a result.
Another interesting nod was for Glenn Ficarra and John Requa in the Breakthrough Directory category for “I Love You Phillip Morris.” The movie, which stars Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, was supposed to have come out a few months ago but saw its release being constantly delayed for one bizarre reason or another. But now that it is officially set to come out before the end of the year, it looks like it will certainly be worth the wait.
While these nominations make it clear that Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” is indeed a major Oscar contender (and that’s even if many have yet to see it), the one film that could truly benefit from this specific awards ceremony is Debra Granik’s brilliant “Winter’s Bone.” This is even more the case for actress Jennifer Lawrence who’s nominated in both the Breakthrough Actor category as well for Best Ensemble Performance with the rest of the cast. Of all the breakout stars of 2010, Jennifer is clearly the one that has stood out the most, and for good reason. Many began to think that the Oscar chances for “Winter’s Bone” were becoming non-existent, but while the Gotham Awards don’t always predict the winners on Oscar night, they more and more look to be a strong barometer of what to expect early next year at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
The Gotham Awards will be held on Monday, November 29th, 2010, and there will also be career tributes given to Robert Duvall, Hillary Swank, Darren Aronofsky, and to the CEO of Focus Features, James Schamus. Duvall and Schamus I can understand, but Swank and Aronofsky? The two of them have done great work for sure, but it still feels like they just started their careers yesterday, and they are more than likely to have more great films on their resumes in their future.
Here’s a list of the nominations courtesy of IFC.com:
“Black Swan” by Darren Aronofsky
“Blue Valentine” by Derek Cianfrance
“The Kids Are All Right” by Lisa Cholodenko
“Let Me In” by Matt Reeves
“Winter’s Bone” by Debra Granik
“12th & Delaware” by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
“Inside Job” by Charles Ferguson
“The Oath” by Laura Poitras
“Public Speaking” by Martin Scorsese
“Sweetgrass” by Lucien Castai
Best Ensemble Performance
“The Kids Are All Right”
“Life During Wartime”
John Wells for “The Company Men”
Kevin Asch for “Holy Rollers”
Glenn Ficarra and John Requa for “I Love You Phillip Morris”
Tanya Hamilton for “Night Catches Us”
Lena Dunham for “Tiny Furniture”
Prince Adu in “Prince of Broadway”
Ronald Bronstein in “Daddy Longlegs”
Greta Gerwig in “Greenberg”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone”
John Ortiz in “Jack Goes Boating”
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You
“Kati with an i” by Robert Greene, director
“Littlerock” by Mike Ott
“On Coal River” by Francine Cavanaugh and Adams Wood
“Summer Pasture” by Lynn True and Nelson Walker
“The Wolf Knife” by Laurel Nakadate
“The 2010 Gotham Award Nominations”, IFC.com, September 18, 2010.