The Gotham Independent Film Awards are not necessarily the best at forecasting the Oscars, but as the first major film award event of the season it does at least have the power to lift some titles up from obscurity, doubt or complete disregard. For instance, today the Independent Film Project named the 2010 nominations, and with them such indie darlings as 'Winter's Bone' and 'The Kids Are All Right' get their hats nudged further into the awards season ring. Both are up for Best Feature and Best Ensemble, with the former category also contatining Oscar sure-thing 'Black Swan,' 'Blue Valentine' and the horror remake 'Let Me In.'
It's the last of those nominees that seems most surprising. The English-language redo of Swedish vampire hit 'Let the Right One In' has disappointed at the box office, but perhaps this honor can give it a little boost with the arthouse crowd if the mainstream audiences keep choosing to ignore it. Could this possibly mean a shot at an Academy Award? Probably not. The Gotham Awards tend only to share one, maybe now two titles with the Best Picture nominees, and even with the big Oscar category including ten slots there's not much likelihood that one will go to a beautifully shot, well-directed and acted horror film. Right?
The thing is, 'Let Me In' isn't like most Gotham nominees. In this particular case the main reason it wouldn't receive Academy love is because it didn't earn more than $100 million like 'District 9.' Otherwise, it doesn't have the same reasons for being snubbed as something like 2009 Gotham nominee 'Big Fan' or even 2008's 'Synecdoche, New York.' If it won, which it won't, 'Let Me In' also could have the same chances as 2009 winner 'The Hurt Locker.' Maybe as a mere nominee, though, it could have more Academy voters looking at it. Maybe it's suddenly a dark horse for Best Adapted Screenplay or Best Score.
As for the category I'm most interested in, documentary winners never match up between the Gothams and the Oscars. So it's not a good bet that likely Academy Award-winner 'Inside Job' will win this one, too. I'm putting my favor towards the gorgeous and fascinating shepherd story 'Sweetgrass.'
The full list of Gotham Award nominees are as follows:
Darren Aronofsky, director; Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin, producers (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Derek Cianfrance, director; Jamie Patricof, Lynette Howell, Alex Orlovsky, producers (The Weinstein Company)
'The Kids Are All Right'
Lisa Cholodenko, director; Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray, Jordan Horowitz, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Philippe Hellmann, producers (Focus Features)
'Let Me In'
Matt Reeves, director; Simon Oakes, Alex Brunner, Guy East, Tobin Armbrust, Donna Gigliotti, John Nording, Carl Molinder, producers (Overture Films)
Debra Granik, director; Anne Rosellini, Alix Madigan-Yorkin, producers (Roadside Attractions)
'12th & Delaware'
Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, directors/producers (HBO Documentary Films)
Charles Ferguson, director; Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)
Laura Poitras, director/producer (Zeitgeist Films and American Documentary/POV)
Martin Scorsese, director; Martin Scorsese, Graydon Carter, Margaret Bodde, Fran Lebowitz, producers (HBO Documentary Films)
Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash, directors; Ilisa Barbash, producer (Cinema Guild)
Best Ensemble Performance
'The Kids Are All Right'
Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson (Focus Features)
'Life During Wartime'
Shirley Henderson, Ciarán Hinds, Allison Janney, Michael Lerner, Chris Marquette, Rich Pecci, Charlotte Rampling, Paul Reubens, Ally Sheedy, Dylan Riley Snyder, Renée Taylor, Michael Kenneth Williams (IFC Films)
Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Ann Guilbert, Lois Smith, Sarah Steele, Thomas Ian Nicholas (Sony Pictures Classics)
Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham, Rachel Howe, Merritt Wever, Amy Seimetz, Alex Karpovsky, David Call, Jemima Kirke, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Garland Hunter, Isen Hunter (IFC Films)
Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Lauren Sweetser, Garret Dillahunt, Kevin Breznahan
John Wells for 'The Company Men' (The Weinstein Company)
Kevin Asch for 'Holy Rollers' (First Independent Pictures)
Glenn Ficarra and John Requa for 'I Love You Phillip Morris' (Roadside Attractions)
Tanya Hamilton for 'Night Catches Us' (Magnolia Pictures)
Lena Dunham for 'Tiny Furniture' (IFC Films)
Prince Adu in 'Prince of Broadway' (Elephant Eye Films)
Ronald Bronstein in 'Daddy Longlegs' (IFC Films)
Greta Gerwig in 'Greenberg' (Focus Features)
Jennifer Lawrence in 'Winter's Bone' (Roadside Attractions)
John Ortiz in 'Jack Goes Boating' (Overture Films)
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You
'Kati with an i'
Robert Greene, director; Douglas Tirola, Susan Bedusa, producers
Mike Ott, director; Frederick Thornton, Laura Ragsdale, Sierra Leoni, producers
'On Coal River'
Francine Cavanaugh and Adams Wood, directors; Jillian Elizabeth, Adams Wood, Francine Cavanaugh, producers
Lynn True and Nelson Walker, directors/producers; Tsering Perlo, co-director/co-producer
'The Wolf Knife'
Laurel Nakadate, director/producer