It’s been a great 24 hours for LGBT themed films going into awards season. The Gotham Independent Film Awards were handed out last night while nominations for the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards were released today, and the film Beginners has walked away with multiple trophies and nods.
The 21st annual Gotham Independent Film Awards took place in New York City, where Beginners tied for Best Feature with Tree of Life. Ewan McGregor stars in Beginners as a man whose father comes out of the closet late in life following the death of his wife. Christopher Plummer’s performance as the father has been receiving a great deal of acclaim, and was part of the reason the film was also recognized for Best Ensemble Performance. Other winners included out Pariah helmer (and Spike Lee protégé) Dee Rees, who received the Breakthrough Director Award, while other LGBT inclusive nominees that night included Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, Bill Cunningham New York, and Gun Hill Road’s Harmony Santana.
You can also expect to see transgender actress Harmony Santana put in appearance at next year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards, as it was announced today that she received a nomination for Best Supporting Female alongside Albert Nobbs’ Janet McTeer. Beginners also did very well, picking up nods for Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Male for Christopher Plummer. Nominees for the John Cassavetes Award (given to films made for under 500K) included Maryam Keshavarz’ Circumstance and Dee Rees’ Pariah, the latter of which was also recognized with a Best Female Lead nomination for Adepero Oduye who plays a teenage lesbian struggling to juggle both a closeted family life and an out social life. And Patrick Wang's In the Family was nominated for Best First Feature.
While not always reliable indicators of what their future nominations or awards might be, recognition from the Spirit and Gotham awards often help films gain momentum going into the rest of the award season, which ultimately means more people will make the effort to seek out and watch them. For LGBT films, and particularly ones telling stories as important as those in Beginners and Pariah, it can be a tremendous boon. GLAAD congratulates all of those involved in the above films on their achievements.