In the first significant nominations announcement of the annual film awards season, the Independent Filmmaker Project's 28th Gotham Awards gave a boost to Yorgos Lanthimos’ yet-to-open festival sensation “The Favourite” and Paul Schrader’s acclaimed summer release “First Reformed.”
Both films picked up three mentions, including in the top feature category, where they are joined by Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Josephine Decker’s “Madeline’s Madeline” and Chloé Zhao’s “The Rider.”
Of those, both “The Favourite” and “Beale Street” are considered to be major contenders in this year’s awards frame, while “First Reformed” could provide the first Oscar nomination for stalwart writer-director Schrader. And both “Madeline’s Madeline” and “The Rider” are the kind of well-reviewed but not widely seen movies that could benefit from the awards season spotlight.
Of course, what’s not on that list is arguably as interesting as what is. This year there are a surprising number of studio films, which are typically ineligible for the indie-minded Gothams, looking to make competitive awards runs, including “Black Panther,” “Green Book,” “First Man,” “A Star Is Born” and “Widows.”
As well, Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma,” arguably the most buzzed-about title of the fall festival season so far, and Spike Lee's “BlacKkKlansman," which caused a stir at Cannes and was a late summer box office success, were eligible but not recognized in the top category.
Nevertheless, Adam Driver's work in Lee's picture drew him an actor nomination alongside Ben Foster in “Leave No Trace,” Richard E. Grant in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” Ethan Hawke in “First Reformed” and Lakeith Stanfield in “Sorry to Bother You.”
Nominated for best actress are Glenn Close in “The Wife,” Toni Collette in “Hereditary,” Kathryn Hahn in “Private Life,” Regina Hall in “Support the Girls” and Michelle Pfeiffer in “Where is Kyra?”
The nominating committee voted to give a special jury award to Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz for their ensemble performance in “The Favourite.” This could be a sign that the strong performances by all three in the film may become an issue for awards-bestowing bodies throughout the season to single any one of them out in either lead or supporting categories.
"The Favourite,” written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, and Schrader's “First Reformed" screenplay will contend against “Private Life,” written by Tamara Jenkins,” “Support the Girls,” written by Andrew Bujalski, and “Thoroughbreds,” written by Cory Finley.
The breakthrough actor nominees are Yalitza Aparicio in “Roma,” Elsie Fisher in “Eighth Grade,” Helena Howard in “Madeline’s Madeline,” KiKi Layne in “If Beale Street Could Talk,” and Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie in “Leave No Trace.”
In the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director category, the nominees are Ari Aster for “Hereditary,” Bo Burnham for “Eighth Grade,” Jennifer Fox for “The Tale,” Crystal Moselle for “Skate Kitchen” and Boots Riley for “Sorry to Bother You.” All five films premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
The nominees for best documentary were Robert Greene’s “Bisbee ’17,” RaMell Ross’ “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” Bing Liu’s “Minding the Gap,” Sandi Tan’s “Shirkers” and Morgan Neville’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.”
The Gothams also give two awards for television. The long-form breakthrough series nominees are “Alias Grace,” “Big Mouth,” “The End of the F— World,” “Killing Eve,” “Pose” and “Sharp Objects.”
The short-form breakthrough series nominees are “195 Lewis,” “Cleaner Daze,” “Distance,” “The F Word” and “She’s the Ticket.”
The nominations for the Gothams are decided by 27 writers, critics and programmers spread across six committees.
For comparison, last year’s best feature winner was “Call Me by Your Name,” which went on to four Oscar nominations, including best picture. The actor and actress winners were James Franco for “The Disaster Artist” and Saoirse Ronan for “Lady Bird," which had been shut out of the group's top feature category. (Ronan would be nominated for an Oscar, Franco would not.)
Jordan Peele, writer and director of “Get Out,” took home two Gothams, among the many prizes he received on his way to the Oscar for original screenplay.
This year’s winners will be announced at a ceremony on Nov. 26 in New York City.