The first set of nominations for this year’s awards season was announced today, with the Gotham Independent Film Awards announcing their nominees for the ceremony, which will held on 30th November. It’s worth looking at, as it could give some clues on who awards voters are giving recognition to, and could help when predicting the Independent Spirit Awards and, possibly, the Oscars.
Best Feature: A mixture between low-budget, under the radar films and big awards contenders, it’s nice to see a mixture of genres featured. Heaven Knows What did very well to get a nomination (I’ve never heard of it and it only made $67,000 at the box office), especially over the likes of Room, Grandma and Love & Mercy. Diary of a Teenage Girl also did surprisingly well, receiving a nomination here as well as in Best Actress and Breakthrough Director. Yet, the nomination is the win for both of these films. I’m happy for Tangerine, it looks like the Duplass’ brothers awards campaign is working. It could be a shock winner, but, in all honesty, it’s between Oscar hopefuls Spotlight and Carol. Even though Spotlight won the Ensemble award, I see Carol winning here, as it’s reviews are undeniably awe-inspiring. PREDICTED WINNER: CAROL.
Best Documentary: Another mixed bag. I’ve never heard of Approaching the Elephant and Heart of a Dog, I suppose they did well getting in under the radar. Cartel Land has a chance, but I can’t see it winning, neither can I see the first two winning. It’s between Listen to Me Marlon and The Look of Silence, and, at the end of the day, a documentary about a film star is never really going to beat a Joshua Oppenheimer film, especially as The Act of Killing won here 2 years ago. PREDICTED WINNER: THE LOOK OF SILENCE.
Breakthrough Director Award: I see an easy win for Marielle Heller here, especially as The Diary of a Teenage Girl is the only high profile film of the nominees, and the only one nominated for Best Feature. If anyone’s going to surprise, it will be Desiree Akhavan for Appropriate Behavior. PREDICTED WINNER: MARIELLE HELLER- THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL.
Best Screenplay: A very strong line-up featuring some of the biggest films eligible. While the screenplays for Love & Mercy and While We’re Young are very strong, the lack of a Best Feature nomination hurts them a little. A Diary of a Teenage Girl may also struggle due to it’s low profile compared to the other nominees. Like Best Feature, it will be between Spotlight and Carol, with both screenplays likely to gain Oscar nominations. I’m going to give Spotlight the edge here. PREDICTED WINNER: TOM McCARTHY AND JOSH SINGER- SPOTLIGHT.
Best Actor: A much weaker race than what was expected, with Jason Segel, John Cusack, Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton all missing out (Ruffalo and Keaton are still mentioned as part of the Spotlight ensemble), it instead turns into a pretty exciting race. Christopher Abbott and Kevin Corrigan should take the nomination as the victory, they’re not winning. Peter Sarsgaard has been getting acclaim for his turn in The Experimenter, but it looks like a non-starter. Michael Shannon has also been getting raves for his villainous role in 99 Homes, but I see this going to Paul Dano for his wonderful portrayal of Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy. PREDICTED WINNER: PAUL DANO- LOVE & MERCY.
Best Actress: In an incredibly strong field, I’m really struggling on deciding who’ll win. I’d count out Kristen Wiig, who did very well to get in for Welcome to Me, which disappointed commercially, but won her raves from the few who saw it. Blythe Danner is in the same situation. The lack of name recognition for Bel Powley may cause her to miss out, even though Diary of a Teenage Girl received 4 nominations today. It’s really between Lily Tomlin, Cate Blanchett and Brie Larson. Tomlin is Grandma‘s only representative, which could be costly, but she still should win a Golden Globe for this role. The same with Brie Larson and Room, but she’s the current Oscar frontrunner, and that alone could drag her over the line. However, I think this will go to Blanchett, mainly because we have cemented knowledge of the voters’ love for Carol, even though Rooney Mara missed out on a nomination. PREDICTED WINNER: CATE BLANCHETT- CAROL.
Breakthrough Actor: I’m not really sure about this one, but I know that Kitana Kiki Rodriguez is getting quite a lot of buzz for her performance in Tangerine, so I suspect she’ll win, even though she is up against her co-star Mya Taylor. PREDICTED WINNER: KITANA KIKI RODRIGUEZ- TANGERINE.