'12 Years A Slave' Leads Gotham Awards Nominees

Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave led the field as nominations for the 23rd annual Gotham Independent Film Awards were announced today. The Fox Searchlight release, which offers a searing look at slavery in the American South, claimed three nominations -- best feature, best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor and breakthrough actor for Lupita Nyong’o.

With the Independent Filmmaker Project, which presents the awards, spreading nominations among 23 films, five other features received two nominations each. That group was made up of Blue Caprice, Concussion, Fruitvale Station, Inside Llewyn Davis and Upstream Color.

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Nominees in the best actor and best actress categories, introduced for the fist time this year, included such established performers like Robert Redford (All Is Lost), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) and Scarlett Johansson (Don Jon), alongside less familiar names.

In addition to Slave, the nominees for best feature included David Lowery’s tale of love on the run Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Richard Linklater’s relationship study Before Midnight, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen’s foray into the ‘60s folk scene Inside Llewyn Davis and Shane Carruth’s allegorical romance Upstream Color.

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Linklater is also set to receive a tribute at the Gotham Awards ceremony, which will be held Dec. 2 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Tributes are also planned for actor Forest Whitaker and Katherine Oliver, who heads the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.

Gotham Awards will be handed out in seven competitive categories. Nominees were selected by panels of film critics, journalists, festival programmers and film curators. Separate juries of filmmakers will determine the winners in six categories, while moviegoers will choose the winner of the audience award online. The Gotham Awards focus on independent American movies from U.S.-based or U.S.-born directors that are made “with a point of view and with an economy of means.”

A complete list of nominees follows:

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)

The nominating committees consisted of:

Nominating Committee for Best Feature and Breakthrough Director:

Scott Foundas, Lead Film Critic, Variety

Eric Kohn, Lead Film Critic, Indiewire

Christy Lemire, Film Critic, ChristyLemire.com and co-host, What the Flick?!

Andrew O’Hehir, Film Critic, Salon.com

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 Festiva

lBen 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