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Awards season has officially begun and Beginners, Circumstance, Gun Hill Road, Pariah, Albert Nobbs are among the LGBT-themed films that received recognition this week, though Glenn Close was an egregious omission for best actress consideration.
Last night in New York, winners of the 21st annual Gotham Independent Awards were announced and Beginners, written and directed by Mike Mills about an elderly man (Christopher Plummer) who comes out as gay, was a surprise winner, tying The Tree of Life for best picture honors. "I'm really glad it's a tie," Mills told The Hollywood Reporter. "That is so nice. I wish it could be a five-way tie. You know, the competition thing is weird." Mills based the film on his late father who came out as gay following the death of his wife.
The cast of Beginners, which includes Plummer, Ewan McGregor, Melanie Laurent, and Goran Visnjic, also won Gotham's best ensemble performance award.
Also during last night's ceremony, Pariah director Dee Rees was named breakthrough director for her powerful drama about a black lesbian teenager struggling with coming out to her family.
None of the films made the final cut for today's New York Film Critics Circle awards, although Margin Call, co-produced by and starring out actor Zachary Quinto, was cited as best first feature film.
Although LGBT films made a strong showing at the Independent Spirit Awards, which announced its nominations this morning, most surprising off all the honors was the lack of one for Glenn Close for her widely acclaimed performance as a cross dressing butler in the period drama Albert Nobbs. Janet McTeer, Close's co-star, received a nod for supporting performance.
Beginners received four nominations: best feature, director, screenplay, and supporting actor (Plummer).
Pariah received two nominations, for the John Cassevetes award for best first feature made for under $500, 000 (which would go to Rees for directing and writing, as well as producer Nekisa Cooper), plus one for actress Adepero Oduye as best female lead performance.
Circumstance, about the forbidden love between two young girls in Tehran, also scored a nomination for the Cassavetes award, which would go to outfilmmaker Maryam Keshavarz, along with her producers Karin Chien and Melissa M. Lee.
The widely-heralded drama Gun Hill Road received one nomination--Also nominated for transgender actress Harmony Santana's supporting performance.
We Were Here, David Weissman's stirring look at how the AIDS epidemic ravaged San Francisco during the early '80s, will compete for best documentary.
Margin Call also received three nominations: two of which could potentially honor Quinto as producer and as a member of its ensemble cast.