Women Dominate Gotham Awards Nominations, ‘First Cow’ Leads All Films

Netflix’s controversial “Cuties” receives a nomination in the Best International Feature category

First Cow
"First Cow" / A24

Kitty Green’s “The Assistant,” Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow,” Eliza Hittman’s “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland” and Natalie Erika James’ “Relic”  have been nominated as the best independent films of 2020 at the 30th annual IFP Gotham Awards, the Independent Filmmaker Project announced on Thursday.

All five nominees in the Best Feature category were directed by women, a first for the Gothams.

With four nominations in the eight film categories, the period drama “First Cow” led all films in nominations. “Nomadland” and “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” each received two nominations, as did six other films that were not nominated in the Best Feature category: “The Forty-Year-Old Version,” “Miss Juneteenth,” “Saint Frances,” “The Vast of Night,” “The Nest” and “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.”

Nominees in the new Best International Feature category included Maimouna Doucoure’s “Cuties,” which led to protests by conservative critics when it aired on Netflix. Other nominees in that category, which is open to both English and non-English films made by non-American filmmakers, were “Bacurau,” ” Beanpole,” “Identifying Features,” “Martin Eden” and the animated film “Wolfwalkers.”

Documentary nominees are “76 Days,” “City Hall,” “Our Time Machine,” “A Thousand Cuts” and “Time.”

Acting nominees included Riz Ahmed for “Sound of Metal,” Jude Law and Carrie Coon for “The Nest,” Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley for “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” Yuh-Jung Youn for “Minari,” Frances McDormand for “Nomadland” and Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

In the two television categories, nominated shows included “The Great,” “Watchmen,” “Unorthodox,” “Betty,” “Dave” and “Taste the Nation.”

Netflix led all companies with eight nominations, though it did not receive any for high-profile entries like “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “The White Tiger.” Amazon and A24 each received five nominations, while IFC and IFC Midnight, Kino Lorber and HBO received four each.

The awards ceremony, which normally occurs in late November or early December, will take place this year on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Show organizers have yet to announce whether it will take place in person or virtually.

The New York-based Gotham Awards is one of the two major honors for American independent film. The other major indie awards show, the Film Independent Spirit Awards, takes place in Los Angeles at the end of the season, the day before the Oscars. Its nominations will be announced on Jan. 26, 2021.

Gotham nominees are selected by juries consisting largely of film critics. Films must meet a variety of fairly nebulous requirements, including being “filmmaking with a point of view” that is “made with an economy of means” and is directed and/or produced by a filmmaker born or based in the United States.

Budgets cannot exceed $35 million, a limit that is more than $10 million higher than the one used for the Spirit Awards. Significant Oscar contenders that were not eligible include “Mank,” “Tenet” and “Da 5 Bloods.”

Last year, only one of the Gotham Best Feature nominees, “Marriage Story,” went on to receive an Academy Award Best Picture nomination. It won at the Gothams but lost at the Oscars to “Parasite,” which was not eligible.

Over the 16 years since the Gotham Awards introduced the Best Feature category, most years have seen one or two of the nominees also land Best Picture noms. The Gotham winner has subsequently won the Oscar only four times, starting with “The Hurt Locker” in 2009 and including three years in a row with “Birdman” in 2014, “Spotlight” in 2015 and “Moonlight” in 2016.

The nominees:

Best Feature

“The Assistant”
Kitty Green, director; Scott Macaulay, James Schamus, P. Jennifer Dana, Ross Jacobson, producers (Bleecker Street)

“First Cow”
Kelly Reichardt, director; Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani, producers (A24)

“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Eliza Hittman, director; Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy, producers (Focus Features)

Chloé Zhao, director; Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Chloé Zhao, producers (Searchlight Pictures)

Natalie Erika James, director; Anna Mcleish, Sarah Shaw, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riva Marker, producers (IFC Midnight)

Best Documentary

“76 Days”
Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, Anonymous, directors; Hao Wu, Jean Tsien, producers (MTV Documentary Films)

“City Hall”
Frederick Wiseman, director; Frederick Wiseman, Karen Konicek, producers (Zipporah Films)

“Our Time Machine”
Yang Sun, S. Leo Chiang directors; S. Leo Chiang, Yang Sun, producers (Passion River Films)

“A Thousand Cuts”
Ramona S. Diaz, director; Ramona S. Diaz, Leah Marino, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn, producers (PBS Distribution | FRONTLINE )

Garrett Bradley, director; Lauren Domino, Kellen Quinn, Garrett Bradley, producers (Amazon Studios)

Best International Feature

Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles, directors; Emilie Lesclaux, Saïd Ben Saïd, Michel Merkt, producers (Kino Lorber)

Kantemir Balagov, director; Alexander Rodnyansky, Sergey Melkumov, producers (Kino Lorber)

“Cuties” (“Mignonnes”)
Maïmouna Doucouré, director; Zangro, producer (Netflix)

“Identifying Features”
Fernanda Valadez, director; Astrid Rondero, producer (Kino Lorber)

“Martin Eden”
Pietro Marcello, director; Pietro Marcello, Beppe Caschetto, Thomas Ordonneau, Michael Weber, Viola Fügen, producers (Kino Lorber)

Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, directors; Paul Young, Nora Twomey, Tomm Moore, Stéphan Roelants, producers (Apple)

Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award
Radha Blank for “The Forty-Year-Old Version” (Netflix)
Channing Godfrey Peoples for “Miss Juneteenth” (Vertical Entertainment)
Alex Thompson for “Saint Frances” (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
Carlo Mirabella-Davis for “Swallow” (IFC Films)
Andrew Patterson for “The Vast of Night” (Amazon Studios)

Best Screenplay
“Bad Education,” Mike Makowsky (HBO)
“First Cow,” Jon Raymond, Kelly Reichardt (A24)
“The Forty-Year-Old Version,” Radha Blank (Netflix)
“Fourteen,” Dan Sallitt (Grasshopper Film)
“The Vast of Night,” James Montague, Craig Sanger (Amazon Studios)

Best Actor
Riz Ahmed in “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
Chadwick Boseman in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
Jude Law in “The Nest” (IFC Films)
John Magaro in “First Cow” (A24)
Jesse Plemons in “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” (Netflix)

Best Actress
Nicole Beharie in “Miss Juneteenth” (Vertical Entertainment)
Jessie Buckley in “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” (Netflix)
Yuh-Jung Youn in “Minari” (A24)
Carrie Coon in “The Nest” (IFC Films)
Frances McDormand in “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)

Breakthrough Actor
Jasmine Batchelor in “The Surrogate” (Monument Releasing)
Kingsley Ben-Adir in “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
Sidney Flanigan in “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (Focus Features)
Orion Lee in “First Cow” (A24)
Kelly O’Sullivan in “Saint Frances” (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

Breakthrough Series – Long Format (over 40 minutes)

“The Great,” Tony McNamara, creator; Tony McNamara, Marian Macgowan, Mark Winemaker, Elle Fanning, Brittany Kahan Ward, Doug Mankoff, Andrew Spaulding, Josh Kesselman, Ron West, Matt Shakman, executive producers (Hulu)

“Immigration Nation,” Christina Clusiau, Shaul Schwarz, Dan Cogan, Jenny Raskin, Brandon Hill, Christian Thompson, executive producers (Netflix)

“P-Valley,” Katori Hall, creator; Katori Hall, Dante Di Loreto, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Liz W. Garcia, executive producers (STARZ)

“Unorthodox, “Anna Winger, Alexa Karolinski , creators; Anna Winger, Henning Kamm, executive producers (Netflix)

“Watchmen,” Damon Lindelof, Creator for Television; Tom Spezialy , Nicole Kassell , Stephen Williams, Joseph E. Iberti, executive producers (HBO)

Breakthrough Series – Short Format (under 40 minutes)

“Betty,” Crystal Moselle, Lesley Arfin, Igor Srubshchik, Jason Weinberg, executive producers (HBO)

“Dave,” Dave Burd, Jeff Schaffer, creators; Dave Burd, Jeff Schaffer, Saladin K. Patterson, Greg Mottola, Kevin Hart, Marty Bowen, Scooter Braun, Mike Hertz, Scott Manson, James Shin, executive producers (FX Networks)

“I May Destroy You,” Michaela Coel , creator; Michaela Coel, Phil Clarke, Roberto Troni, executive producers (HBO)

“Taste the Nation,” Padma Lakshmi, David Shadrack Smith, Sarina Roma, executive producers (Hulu)

“Work in Progress,” Abby McEnany, Tim Mason, creators, Abby McEnany, Tim Mason, Lilly Wachowski, Lawrence Mattis, Josh Adler, Ashley Berns, Julia Sweeney, Tony Hernandez, executive producers (SHOWTIME)


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