Last week, the 2017 Gotham Awards nominations were announced. Hosted by the Independent Filmmaker Project, the Gotham Awards honor the best of the year’s indie filmmaking. We break down the seven most interesting choices in this year’s lineup of nominees.
The most exciting Gotham Award nominations
‘Get Out’ – Best Feature
It remains to be seen just how successful Jordan Peele’s directorial debut will be when it comes time for Oscar nominations next year. However, by in securing a Gotham Awards nomination for Best Feature, as well as nominations for directing, screenplay, and actor, Get Out is capturing the kind of energy and buzz necessary to make an impression this awards season.
Following the “#OscarsSoWhite” movement in 2015, there has been a definitive change in the awareness surrounding films that are directed by and star people of color. But the way things are shaping up, we could be headed towards another year of all-white nominees.
Get Out reflects diversity not just in front of the camera, but also behind it. The film’s incisive race critique that capitalizes on the horror genre makes it one of the must-see films of the year. That the film is getting recognized this early in awards season could mean good things for it as we get closer to the big awards at the end of the year.
Greta Gerwig – Breakthrough Director
Greta Gerwig is quietly yet definitively carving out a place for her voice in movies. Last year alone, she starred in Jackie, Maggie’s Plan, and 20th Century Women. She’s also known for her recent collaborations with writer and director Noah Baumbach. She is credited as a co-writer on both Mistress America and Frances Ha. Gerwig, who long ago expressed interest in directing her own film, finally got the chance this year with Lady Bird.
Lady Bird depicts a loving yet turbulent mother-daughter relationship between actors Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. Both written and directed by Gerwig, Lady Bird is the first time Gerwig has had the opportunity to make something all her own. Based on the rave reviews out of several fall film festivals, it would appear she met with success. Her Gotham Award nomination is just the start of well-deserved recognition.
‘Call Me by Your Name’ – Best Screenplay
In 1987, James Ivory wrote and directed Maurice, an adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel about a young man coming to terms with his sexuality during the early 1900s. Thirty years later, James Ivory penned the screenplay for Call Me by Your Name, capturing all the sensuous magic and heart wrenching beauty of André Aciman’s novel.
Having been nominated for three Oscars, Ivory is not new to the awards circuit, but Call Me by Your Name marks his most successful work in years and it is no doubt an earned nomination. The film is a testament to the importance and power of a screenplay in taking a movie from good to great. Ivory succeeds not just in capturing the essence of the novel but improving on it, giving director Luca Guadagnino a perfect foundation upon which to make the film.
Haley Lu Richardson – Best Actress
You probably haven’t heard of the movie Columbus or Haley Lu Richardson, which is a shame considering just how incredible both the movie and the actress really are. The film premiered at Sundance in January and received a small theatrical release months later. Directed by Kogonada, the film follows Jin (John Cho), who finds himself stuck in Columbus, Indiana while his architect father is in a coma. He meets Casey, played by Haley Lu Richardson, a young woman who dreams of one day becoming an architect. The two characters develop a friendship over the course of the movie, bonding over their experiences with their aspirations and disappointments.
Richardson’s performance is brilliant, but quiet. There is a remarkable stillness and maturity to her performance that feels far beyond her years. She fills the frames of the movie with profound resonance and deeply felt emotions. For a film so grounded in restraint, Richardson captures the magic that comes from genuine human connection and makes the audience feel every moment of it. Columbus is far too small a film to ever be recognized by larger awards bodies, but her Gotham Awards nomination signals a bright future for an extraordinarily talented performer.
Robert Pattinson – Best Actor
Robert Pattinson’s performance in Good Time marks a distinct departure for an actor that made a name for himself in some of the biggest franchises of the century. Audiences used to seeing Pattinson sharply dressed and styled will find him nearly unrecognizable as Connie Nikas, a bank robber attempting to free his brother from prison. The character is far from likable and the film charts his descent into a sort of raucous madness that would be unbearable to watch if it wasn’t so insanely good.
Pattinson’s performance is not the kind that you would expect to see nominated at the Oscars, so his Gotham Awards nomination is an exciting opportunity to honor and showcase a truly remarkable performance. He both grounds and elevates the film, giving the audience someone to root for and against. Pattinson balances the character’s contradictions and excels in disappearing beneath his performance. It is a well deserved nomination that will hopefully extend beyond the Gotham Awards.
Brooklynn Prince & Timothée Chalamet – Breakthrough Actor
Both Brooklynn Prince and Timothée Chalamet were nominated in the category of Breakthrough Actor. The category is stacked with phenomenal nominees, but Prince and Chalamet stand out as very exciting choices.
Brooklynn Prince, only seven years old, stars in The Florida Project. Child actors are always a risk and yet somehow Prince is able to carry the weight of her role without flinching. She brings a genuine charm and gravitas to the film that far exceeds what would normally be expected of a seven-year-old. She becomes the lens through which the events of the film are seen, thereby imbuing the story with an unexpected magic that contrasts the weighty material. Her young age and unique talent make her Gotham Award nomination a striking choice.
Timothée Chalamet’s performance as Elio in Call Me by Your Name is not only one of the best Gotham Award nominees, but one of the best performances of the year. His performance demands that he play a character full of emotional turmoil, burgeoning sexual desire, and overwhelming young love. Despite the demands of the role, Chalamet delivers ten-fold. It is a unique moment where an actor becomes a character more than you thought possible. If there’s any justice, Chalamet will walk away with a golden statue from the Oscars next year and this Gotahm Award nomination is just the start for him.