It's shocking, but the Manhattan-based awards that pride themselves on being Oscar precursors that hail the best indie movies of the year just snubbed the Manhattan-based indie that's poised to be the breakout hit at the next Academy Awards: "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."
The Gotham Awards shunned it in top races for best picture, director and breakthrough performance. At the Oscars, it's likely to receive bids for best picture, director, screenplay plus lead (Gabourey Sidibe) and supporting actress (Mo'Nique). Already it's swept the top prizes at the Sundance and Toronto International film festivals. When Oscar-friendly indies have been skunked at the Gotham Awards in the past, the reason was often because flicks like "Slumdog Millionaire" were foreign productions and therefore ineligible. But Gold Derby has confirmed that "Precious" was indeed eligible.
The same snub is not likely to be repeated when the Independent Spirit Awards unveil nominees on the same day the Gotham Awards will be bestowed: Dec. 1. The two prizes, based on opposite coasts, are fierce rivals and often catch each other in surprising oversights — like when the Spirits voted "Juno" best picture of 2007 after it failed to nab a top nom at the Gothams.
These film gurus decided the Gotham Award nominees for best feature and ensemble performance this year: Rajendra Roy, chief curator of film, Museum of Modern Art; Lisa Schwarzbaum, film critic, Entertainment Weekly; Dana Stevens, film critic, Slate.com; Kenneth Turan, film critic, Los Angeles Times.
See the full list of Gotham Award nominees here.