A Closer Look at the 2022 Gotham Awards Nominations

Yesterday saw the announcement of the nominations for the 32nd Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, presented by The Gotham Film & Media Institute, the self-proclaimed “largest membership organization in the United States dedicated to independent film.” With nominations selected by committees and a membership that aligns more with the critical community than that of the industry, The Gothams aren’t always an airtight Oscar precursor, but that’s not to say they don’t have any impact on the awards race whatsoever, as getting “on the board” with any awards body is a great sign for your campaign, and a great way to elevate a picture’s profile and assert its place at the front of the pack. Even moreso than in recent years, The Gothams went to bat for several of the biggest contenders overall this season, with multiple major nominations for Oscar frontrunners like Everything Everywhere All at OnceTÁR, and Women Talking.

Though we only have about a month until the winners will be announced (Monday, November 28, 2022), we can already start making some educated guesses as to who’s ahead in each category, based on both the state of the race thus far and historical precedent at The Gothams. We’ve already got some compelling match-ups to consider (Will Cate Blanchett or Michelle Yeoh come out on top? And likewise, which of their films – TÁR or Everything Everywhere All at Once – will prevail in Best Feature?), along with some interesting developments in the season at large (is Aftersun having a “moment” right now that will lead it to Oscar success down the line as well?). So, without further ado, let’s dive right in and see which films are best positioned to pick up some Gotham Awards come November, which missed some key nominations, and more. (Note: this piece will only cover the film categories.)

Best Feature

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once


The Cathedral

Dos Estaciones

Everything Everywhere All at Once


Perhaps the most shocking omission in the Best Feature category is Sarah Polley’s Women Talking (though it did manage to pick up key nominations elsewhere), but otherwise, this is a strong group, with two heavy hitters (Everything Everywhere All at Once and TÁR), one indie darling that’s becoming a bigger deal by the day (Aftersun), and two under-the-radar picks (The Cathedral and Dos Estaciones). The easy money says this is between TÁR and Everything Everywhere All at Once – with Aftersun as a dark horse – and while TÁR did lead nominations (with five) and feels more like the conventional “Gotham Awards Best Feature winner,” there’s a part of me that thinks that the group could recognize the very special enthusiasm surrounding EEAAO at the moment and go with that. As for what this nomination means for a film’s Oscar chances, let’s look at how many Best Picture nominees have been included in this line-up since the category was first introduced in 2004:

  • 2004 – 1/5 (Sideways)
  • 2005 – 2/5 (Capote, Brokeback Mountain)
  • 2006 – 1/5 (The Departed)
  • 2007 – 0/5
  • 2008 – 0/5
  • 2009 – 2/5 (The Hurt Locker, A Serious Man)
  • 2010 – 3/5 (Black Swan, The Kids Are All Right, Winter’s Bone)
  • 2011 – 2/5 (The Descendants, The Tree of Life)
  • 2012 – 0/5
  • 2013 – 1/5 (12 Years a Slave)
  • 2014 – 3/5 (Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • 2015 – 1/5 (Spotlight)
  • 2016 – 2/5 (Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight)
  • 2017 – 2/5 (Call Me by Your Name, Get Out)
  • 2018 – 1/5 (The Favourite)
  • 2019 – 1/5 (Marriage Story)
  • 2020 – 1/5 (Nomadland)
  • 2021 – 0/5

So, in summary, zero Best Feature nominees have become Best Picture nominees for four years, one Best Feature nominee has become a Best Picture nominee for seven years, two Best Feature nominees have become Best Picture nominees for five years, and three Best Feature nominees have become Best Picture nominees for two years. Most would likely agree with me that Everything Everywhere All at Once and TÁR are the pictures from this crop best positioned to become Oscar nominees in that ceremony’s top category – giving us another year of two making it in in the end – though I do think there’s a path for Aftersun to join them, even if it seems narrow at the moment. One last thing: The Gothams’ Best Feature winner has gone on to earn at least one Oscar nomination every year (SidewaysCapoteHalf NelsonInto the WildFrozen RiverThe Hurt LockerWinter’s BoneBeginners, The Tree of LifeMoonrise KingdomInside Llewyn DavisBirdmanSpotlightMoonlightMarriage StoryNomadlandThe Lost Daughter) except for 2018 (The Rider). So whoever takes home the trophy is sitting pretty.

Outstanding Lead Performance

Cate Blanchett in TÁR

Cate Blanchett – TÁR

Danielle Deadwyler – Till

Dale Dickey – A Love Song

Colin Farrell – After Yang

Brendan Fraser – The Whale

Paul Mescal – Aftersun

Thandiwe Newton – God’s Country

Aubrey Plaza – Emily the Criminal

Taylor Russell – Bones and All

Michelle Yeoh – Everything Everywhere All at Once

As with Best Feature, I suspect that The Gothams’ Outstanding Lead Performance race will come down to Everything Everywhere All at Once vs. TÁR, and, truthfully, I’m not sure which direction voters will trend at this point in time. Given that they seem to have loved both films almost equally, I could see them spread the love, but it’s too soon to say which categories will go to which film. Blanchett delivers what is widely being hailed as “the performance of the year,” while the career coronation narrative for Yeoh is just as potent. And let’s not count out The Whale‘s Brendan Fraser either (though, given that the larger critical community seems to have turned their nose up at that movie, that could hurt his chances here), while Danielle Deadwyler and Paul Mescal are the likeliest dark horses. We also shouldn’t forget that The Gothams aren’t above ties, awarding both Olivia Colman and Frankie Faison in this category last year – the first year that they had combined the Best Actor and Best Actress categories into one. And Colman was ultimately Oscar nominated, so a win here bodes well for a winner’s chances elsewhere all season as well (Colman was the only eventual Oscar nominee this category yielded last year, too.)

Outstanding Supporting Performance

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All at Once

Jessie Buckley – Women Talking

Raúl Castillo – The Inspection

Hong Chau – The Whale

Brian Tyree Henry – Causeway

Nina Hoss – TÁR

Noémie Merlant – TÁR

Ke Huy Quan – Everything Everywhere All at Once

Mark Rylance – Bones and All

Gabrielle Union – The Inspection

Ben Whishaw – Women Talking

It’s all coming up Quan. Essentially every performance here is exceptional (really, what immaculate selections by the nominating committee), but there’s so much love for Ke Huy Quan at the moment and so much excitement surrounding his Oscar campaign (this New York Times profile is an incredibly rewarding read) that I can’t imagine The Gothams wanting to miss out on being one of the first major award bodies to honor him, just as they did last year for CODA‘s Troy Kotsur (who Quan has been compared to quite often). Aside from Kotsur, last year’s category yielded only one other Oscar nominee (The Lost Daughter‘s Jessie Buckley), though Ruth Negga came awfully close as well. For now, I’d say Hong Chau and the Women Talking actors have the best chance of being recognized by The Academy alongside Quan later down the line (though Claire Foy’s omission here is a bit of a head-scratcher), and I’d also say they’re the next likeliest to win this award, should Quan slip, though I can also see paths for one or both of the TÁR actresses, too. However, unlike Outstanding Lead Performance, I think we do have a far and away frontrunner here, and that’s Mr. Waymond Wang.

Best Screenplay

The cast of Women Talking

Lena Dunham – Catherine Called Birdy

Todd Field – TÁR

James Gray – Armageddon Time

Kogonada – After Yang

Sarah Polley – Women Talking

Right off the bat, I’d say that the Best Screenplay race is between Best Feature nominee TÁR and the Oscars’ Best Adapted Screenplay frontrunner Women Talking. I can easily see The Gothams going for the writer/director behind their most-nominated movie this year – especially since almost the entirety of the critical community worships at the altar of Todd Field – but, for whatever misgivings some moviegoers may have with Women Talking (“it’s too stagey,” “the color grading is distracting,” etc.), Polley’s script remains one of the most acclaimed of the year, and it’s one of the best examples of adaptation in recent memory. Will Women Talking‘s Best Feature snub hurt her? Of the eight Best Screenplay winners at the Gothams so far, six were Best Feature nominees (Spotlight, Moonlight, Get OutFirst ReformedMarriage StoryThe Lost Daughter), while only two were not (The Forty-Year-Old Version and Fourteen, which tied in 2020), and four were the Best Feature winners (SpotlightMoonlightMarriage Story, and The Lost Daughter). Those aren’t great odds for Polley, especially if TÁR becomes the Best Feature frontrunner, but I still think there’s room for her to “upset.” (Also of note: Everything Everywhere All at Once‘s snub here could hurt its Best Feature chances as, since the Best Screenplay category was instituted in 2015, every Best Feature winner except for The Rider and Nomadland – both naturalistic, cinéma vérité-style features – was at least nominated).

Breakthrough Director

Paul Mescal and Charlotte Wells for Aftersun

Elegance Bratton – The Inspection

Beth de Araújo – Soft & Quiet

Owen Kline – Funny Pages

Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović – Murina

Jane Schoenbrun – We’re All Going to the World’s Fair

Charlotte Wells – Aftersun

Charlotte Wells helmed the most-nominated film in this line-up, with four nominations for Aftersun to The Inspection‘s three (which made it the second most-nominated film overall too, behind TÁR‘s five), so I think it’s safe to say she’s likely in the lead at the moment. The “Breakthrough Director” buzz around Wells in general has been deafening ever since it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this May – and Aftersun is currently the most critically acclaimed movie of the year – so it feels like a strong bet to predict her to start a staggeringly successful awards season with a big win at The Gothams (especially since, more often than not, voters trend towards the picture with the “highest profile” here, like The Lost DaughterEighth GradeGet Out, and so on and so forth).

Breakthrough Performer

Frankie Corio and Paul Mescal in Aftersun

Anna Cobb – We’re All Going to the World’s Fair

Frankie Corio – Aftersun

Anna Diop – Nanny

Gracija Filipović – Murina

Kali Reis – Catch the Fair One

I’ll use the same logic I used in Breakthrough Director to predict Breakthrough Performer – since she leads the most-nominated movie in this line-up, I think Aftersun‘s Frankie Corio is the current frontrunner (especially in a category that often favors younger contenders, such as The Witch‘s Anya Taylor-Joy, Call Me by Your Name‘s Timothée Chalamet, Eighth Grade‘s Elsie Fisher, Waves‘ Taylor Russell, and CODA‘s Emilia Jones), though I wouldn’t say she has this wrapped up just yet. Nanny‘s Anna Diop is perhaps the biggest name in this group, having starred in the HBO Max series Titans since 2018 and featured in a supporting role in Jordan Peele’s Us, while We’re All Going to the World’s Fair scored two nominations, and a win for Anna Cobb could be how voters recognize that film. Corio is ahead thanks to Aftersun‘s acclaim, but there’s room for a surprise for sure.

Best Documentary Feature

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

All That Breathes

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

I Didn’t See You There

The Territory

What We Leave Behind

While All the Beauty and the Bloodshed might not be the Best Documentary Feature frontrunner at every awards ceremony all season long (last week’s Critics Choice Documentary Award snub still sings, and it doesn’t bode well for its Oscar chances), it should still score with critics groups (just look at that sterling 89 Metascore), and thus, I expect this year’s Golden Lion winner to perform well here in particular. It’s tough to say what the runner-up is – All That Breathes and The Territory are probably the films with the “next biggest buzz” – but I feel comfortable calling All the Beauty the strongest contender at the moment, barring a left-field choice from voters.

Best International Feature

Park Hae-il and Tang Wei in Decision to Leave


The Banshees of Inisherin


Decision to Leave


Saint Omer

The Gothams gave us another god-tier line-up of nominees in their Best International Feature category, and there’s truly an embarrassment of riches to choose from. Methinks Decision to Leave could have the edge given critics’ affinity for Park Chan-wook (and the colossal critical acclaim that film has received), but I wouldn’t count out the equally acclaimed The Banshees of Inisherin, or perhaps even the 2021 Golden Lion winner Happening or this year’s Silver Lion winner Saint Omer. As I said, an embarrassment of riches. I’d probably keep Park ahead for now, but almost every outcome here feels equally likely, and it’s hard to not be excited about any of them.

Written by
Though Zoë Rose Bryant has only worked in film criticism for a little under three years - turning a collegiate passion into a full-time career by writing for outlets such as Next Best Picture and Awards Watch - her captivation with cinema has been a lifelong fascination, appreciating film in all its varying forms, from horror movies to heartfelt romantic comedies and everything in between. Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, she made the move to Los Angeles in 2021 after graduating college and now spends her days keeping tabs on all things pop culture and attempting to attend every screening under the sun. As a trans critic, she also seeks to champion underrepresented voices in the LGBTQ+ community in film criticism and offer original insight on how gender and sexuality are explored in modern entertainment. You can find Zoë on Twitter, Instagram, and Letterboxd at @ZoeRoseBryant.

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