2013 Gotham Award Documentary Nominees Include ‘The Act of Killing’ and ‘Our Nixon’


There isn’t a whole lot of significance to the Gotham Independent Film Awards outside of their claim to be “the first honors of the film awards season.” Especially now that they’ve eliminated the category of Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You, which highlighted undistributed gems most worthy of awareness, there’s not much distinction either.

But the Best Documentary nominees are selected by a jury of people I respect, including Hot Docs Director of Programming Charlotte Cook and Camden International Film Festival Executive Director Ben Fowlie. As usual, the five contenders are a varied and unpredictable bunch. And as always, they’re not to be looked at by Oscar prognosticators. Typically there’s maybe one Gotham nominee that is also an Oscar nominee, and the winners have never matched up. My guess is the overlap this year could be Our Nixon, as I stand by my prediction that The Act of Killing will be snubbed.

The Audience Award competition is more interesting, because there are a lot more titles, including the very popular 20 Feet From Stardom and the Sundance and Toronto audience winner The Square, mixed with fiction films. And we get to decide the winner. Voting begins today, and you get to pick five nominees — all docs if you wish. Go to the Indiepix website to make your choices now.

Here are the five Gotham Nominees for Best Documentary:

The Act of Killing
Joshua Oppenheimer, director; Signe Byrge, Joshua Oppenheimer, producers (Drafthouse Films)

The Crash Reel
Lucy Walker, director; Julian Cautherly, Lucy Walker, producers (HBO Documentary Films)

First Cousin Once Removed
Alan Berliner, director and producer (HBO Documentary Films)

Let the Fire Burn
Jason Osder, director and producer (Zeitgeist Films)

Our Nixon
Penny Lane, director; Brian L. Frye, Penny Lane, producers (Cinedigm and CNN Films)

And here are the 25 Audience Award documentary choices (out of 34 choices total!):

A Will For the Woods

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

Best Kept Secret

Blood Brother


Desert Runners

Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey

Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story

Gideon’s Army

Good Ol’ Freda


How to Make Money Selling Drugs

Inequality for All

Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings

Life According to Sam

Magical Universe

Muscle Shoals

My Name is Faith

Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde

Spinning Plates

The New Black

The Short Game

The Square

This Ain’t No Mouse Music!

Twenty Feet From Stardom

Two: The Story of Roman & Nyro

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.