'12 Years a Slave,' 'Fruitvale Station' compete for Gotham audience award

Posted by · 5:40 am · November 8th, 2013

The nominations for the Gotham Independent Film Awards were announced two weeks ago, delivering predictably good news for “12 Years a Slave,” which led the field with three nominations, including Best Picture, Actor and Breakthrough Actor. Well, it has now extended that leading tally to four, as the nominees for the Gothams’ Audience Award were announced today — and, naturally, Steve McQueen’s Oscar heavyweight is on the list.

As the name implies, this award is one public-voted award at the Gothams, and only films that have already won audience awards at one of 50 North American film festivals are eligible to be considered. 36 films made the longlist, and five films how survived the first round of voting. From now until November 24, you can vote for your favorite at the Gothams’ website.

Joining “12 Years a Slave” on the list, unsurprisingly, is The Weinstein Company’s Sundance champ “Fruitvale Station” — which was left out of the Gothams’ Best Picture lineup, but was nominated for Best Breakthrough Director and Breakthrough Actor.

Rounding out the nominees, meanwhile, are three far lower-profile titles you could be forgiven for not recognizing — all of them documentaries. “Best Kept Secret” is a study of a special-needs teacher preparing her students for the outside world, “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey” is a Journey rockumentary that went down well at the Palm Springs fest, while another music doc, “Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings” looks at the titular ukelele player.

Hardly a fair fight, you might. But before you leap to conclusions, remember that “Beasts of the Southern Wild” was nominated for this award last year, and wound up losing to “Artifact,” a Jared Leto-directed doc about his own rock band. Public voting moves in mysterious ways.

With that, the nominees for the 2013 Gotham Audience Award are:

“Best Kept Secret”
Samantha Buck, director; Danielle DiGiacomo, producer

“Don”t Stop Believin”: Everyman”s Journey”
Ramona S. Diaz, director; Capella Fahoome Brogden, Ramona S. Diaz, producers

“Fruitvale Station”
Ryan Coogler, director; Nina Young Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker, producers

“Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings”
Tadashi Nakamura, director; Donald Young, producer

“12 Years a Slave”
Steve McQueen, director; Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Bill Pohlad, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Anthony Katagas, producers

The winner will be announced at the Gotham Awards ceremony on December 2. Have any of you seen all five nominees? And what would you vote for?

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