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Gothams name nominees

'Descendants,' 'Martha' lead pack

A pair of Fox Searchlight Pictures offerings, “The Descendants” and “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” led the roster of nominees for the 2011 Gotham Independent Film Awards, with the pics earning a trio of nods each.

Focus Features’ “Beginners” and Sony Pictures Classics’ “Take Shelter” scored two nods apiece.

Whereas last year’s Gotham nominations proved unusually heavy on projects from female filmmakers, this year’s lineup doesn’t seem to have a similarly notable angle. But as has happened in past years, the early kudo attention could help propel less high-profile indies to awards attention.

“What we do best is shine light on films that maybe otherwise would not have gotten that attention,” said IFP exec director Joana Vicente. Recent Gotham winners that went on to figure prominently in Hollywood’s awards-season discussions include “Winter’s Bone” last year and “The Hurt Locker” in 2009.

“Descendants,” which recently screened in Gotham as the closing night selection of the New York Film Festival, earned noms for feature, ensemble and breakthrough actor (for Shailene Woodley). “Martha Marcy” was tapped for ensemble, breakthrough director (for Sean Durkin) and breakthrough performer (Elizabeth Olsen).

Along with “Descendants,” the feature contenders include “Beginners,” “Meek’s Cutoff,” “Take Shelter” and “The Tree of Life.” Vying for the docu prize are American terrorists bio “Better this World,” fashion photographer portrait “Bill Cunningham New York,” war-vet chronicle “Hell and Back Again,” antiviolence activist story “The Interrupters” and “The Woodmans,” about a family of artists.

The Gothams awards ceremony includes six jury-selected competish categories including the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You, which taps five pics that haven’t yet landed a distributor. IFP also will hand out an audience award, inaugurated last year, as well as a new $25,000 grant for a female filmmaker who is an alum of IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs.

Award ceremony, which usually attracts between 800 and 900 attendees, is set for Nov. 28 at Cipriani Wall Street.

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