Gotham Film Awards: 12 Years A Slave Gets Oscar Boost With 3 Nominations

12 Years a Slave
Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave” | Fox Searchlight

It’s official! The movie awards race kicked off this morning with three Gotham Independent Film Awards nominations for Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave.”  The film also nabbed nominations for Chiwetel Ejiofor for best actor and a breakthrough actor nod for recent drama school grad Lupita Nyong’o. The Fox Searchlight epic, which has received universal raves since it opened last week, looks like the frontrunner this Oscar season.

Following with two Gotham Film Awards nominations were “Blue Caprice,” “Concussion,” “Fruitvale Station,” “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Upstream Color.”

This year the seven competitive awards include Best Feature, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Documentary, the Audience Award, Breakthrough Actor, and Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director. In addition to the competitive awards, tributes will be given to actor Forest Whitaker, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment’s Katherine Oliver, and director Richard Linklater.

The Independent Film Project (IFP) has eliminated the best ensemble cast category and added best actor and actress nominations this year, which will ensure even more celebrity wattage for the gala, which takes place December 2 at Cipriani Wall Street.

Other nominees in the best film category include David Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” Linklater’s “Before Midnight,” Ethan and Joel Coen’s “Inside Llewyn Davis” and the little seen Shane Carruth’s “Upstream Color,” which up to now has earned only $444,000 at the box office.

The leading actor nominations particularly have Oscar potential with Ejior against Robert Redford (“All is Lost”) and Oscar Isaac (“Inside Llewyn Davis”). The other nominees in this prestigious group include Isaiah Washington Davis (“Blue Caprice”) and Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”).

I saw “Dallas Buyers Club” last night and not even the photographs that have been widely circulated can prepare you for how emaciated McConaughey became for his role as Ron Woodroof, a hard-living, womanizing Texas cowboy facing down death from AIDS. McConaughey is terrific, displaying all the emotional intensity and energy, as well as the huge weight loss – a reported 40 lbs. – that the Academy likes to reward.

Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett on Oct. 2, 2013 | Paula Schwartz Photo

The best actress nominees include Oscar frontrunner Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”), along with Scarlett Johansson (“Don Juan”), a terrific Brie Larson (“Short Term 12”), Amy Seimetz (“Upstream Color”) and Shailene Woodley (“The Spectacular Now”).

“The Gotham Awards celebrate and showcase the very best of the vibrant, entertaining, challenging, and innovative films presented by our community, and help new audiences discover this vital work. We congratulate this year’s master film artists, talented newcomers, and other nominees representing the rich and diverse spectrum of today’s independent filmmaking,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of IFP and the Made in NY Media Center. “We also want to thank our nominating committees of film critics, journalists, programmers and film curators for their dedication to selecting the nominees from so many worthy submissions.”

The nominee committees are comprised of film critics, journalists, festival programmers, and film curators. There are also separate juries of writers, directors, actors, producers, editors and others directly involved.

The gala, which has always attracted big-name stars, manages to be laid back while still very glamorous. The Gothams, which are decidedly New York-centric, are more closely aligned with the Film Independent Spirit Awards on the West Coast than the Oscars. Still, the Gothams give the winners a huge boost this early in the awards race. I’m already dusting off my little black dress and getting out my big girl shoes for the big night, which is loads of fun and always throws some curveballs.

The 2013 Gotham Independent Film Awards nominations are:

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)

Fifteen writers, critics and programmers participated in the nomination process, considering 203 eligible submissions. The Nominating Committees for the 2013 Gotham Independent Film Awards were:

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 Programming, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

Ben 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 

Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ Grant

For the third consecutive year, IFP is proud to present the euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ grant, a $25,000 cash award for an alumna of IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs. This grant aims to further the careers of emerging women directors by supporting the completion, distribution and audience engagement strategies of their first feature film.

The nominees are:

Afia Nathaniel, director, Dukhthar

Gita Pullapilly, director, Beneath the Harvest Sky

Deb Shoval, director, AWOL

The winner of this grant in 2012 was Stacie Passon for Concussion, a Gotham Award nominee this year for the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award.

Gotham Independent Film Audience Award

The 4th Annual Gotham Independent Film Audience Award will be voted on again by the independent film community, 230,000 film fans worldwide.  To be eligible, a U.S. film must have won an audience award at one of the top 50 U.S. or Canadian film festivals from December 2012 through October 2013. Voting begins today at for the 34 films on the eligibility list. The nominees will be announced November 8, and the winner will be revealed at the Gotham Awards ceremony.


2 responses to “Gotham Film Awards: 12 Years A Slave Gets Oscar Boost With 3 Nominations”

  1. Gotham Film Awards: 12 Years A Slave Gets Oscar Boost With 3 Nominations

  2. […] (“Before Midnight”). The last two nominees are surprises. Delpy told me only last week at the Gotham Awards that she was so happy about her Independent Spirit best actress nomination because she never gets […]

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