The awards season is officially underway after last night’s Gotham Awards. The New York City based ceremony is put on by the Independent Filmmaker Project and aims to honor each year’s standouts on America’s indie film scene.
Get Out was the most honored film with three wins including Breakthrough Director, Best Screenplay and the Audience Award. Call Me By Your Name took home Best Feature, the biggest award of the evening, with star Timothée Chalamet also nabbing Breakthrough Actor. Saoirse Ronan was awarded Best Actress for her terrific work in Lady Bird and James Franco took home Best Actor for his portrayal of Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist.
You can expect to see and hear more about those four films throughout the awards season. Given the opportunity, you should definitely seek them out. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to shine a light on some of the lesser known nominees. Here are five you can watch now:
Synopsis:Beach Rats follows a teenage Frankie (Harris Dickinson) on the outer edges of Brooklyn as he struggles to reconcile his competing sexual desires, leaving him hurtling towards irreparable consequences.
Why Should I Watch It?: Harris Dickinson was recognized in the Breakthrough Actor category. The film boasts a distinct visual style that doesn’t flinch away as teens navigate the rocky shores of their relationships.
Synopsis: Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, Moonee and her rebellious mother Halley live week to week at “The Magic Castle,” a budget motel managed by Bobby, whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness.
Why Should I Watch It?: Brooklynn Prince, who plays Moonee, was also recognized as a Breakthrough Actor for her incredibly raw performance. In all honesty, it’s one of the best child performances I have ever seen. On the other end of the spectrum is veteran actor Willem Dafoe (nominated for Best Actor) who dissolves with authenticity into his layered role.
Synopsis: A bank robber finds himself unable to evade those who are looking for him.
Why Should I Watch It?: Mostly set over the course of one night, this ironically titled ballad of brotherly sacrifice is tense and darkly comedic. Best Actor nominee Robert Pattinson gives the performance of his blossoming career. Directing duo Josh and Benny Safdie commit to their intense approach. Also nominated for Best Feature and Audience Award, Good Time is one of the year’s most memorable rides.
Synopsis: Having out lived and out smoked all of his contemporaries, the fiercely independent Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self exploration, leading towards that which is so often unattainable: enlightenment.
Why Should I Watch It?: It’s fitting that character actor John Carroll Lynch chose this project to be his directorial debut. Harry Dean Stanton is a legend among all actors with some 200 credits to his name. His passing earlier this year turned Lucky into a bittersweet tribute to his life, but it’s ultimately his performance herein that earned him a Best Actor nominee. This is a film to be appreciated long after the “For Your Consideration” campaigns have faded.
Synopsis: A religious widower fights for custody of his only son after his wife passes away.
Why Should I Watch It?: Documentary filmmaker Joshua Z Weinstein made the jump into narrative films while retaining his knack for realism. This Breakthrough Director and Audience Award nominee offers a detailed glimpse into Brooklyn’s orthodox Jewish community.