Continuing a tradition that dates back to 1991, Batman fans got briefly, irrationally stoked this morning at the thought of someone handing Killer Croc an award for Best Rock Throwing, only to realize, oh wait, that's not what the Gotham Awards are for, is it? Indeed, as we are reminded every year, outside the pages of D.C. Comics, Gotham also means New York, the city in which a group of film critics, festival programmers, and other folks not within Commissioner Gordon's fictional jurisdiction hold an annual ceremony in honor of the year's best American independent movies. The 2013 nominees have been announced, and there's not a single superhero represented (though that deranged telekinetic teenager from Chronicle is up for something).
Steve McQueen's widely acclaimed 12 Years A Slave leads this year's field with nods in three of the six categories—two of which (Best Actor and Best Actress) are new, and none of which recognize advancements in nocturnal crime-fighting technology. Competing against 12 Years A Slave for Best Feature are three Sundance alums (Before Midnight, Ain't Them Bodies Saints, and Upstream Color), one Cannes alum (Inside Llewyn Davis), and absolutely no movies that filter our 21st-century anxieties through the scrim of an epic battle between costumed demigods. Like the Indie Spirits, the Gotham Awards celebrate a wide spectrum of what constitutes "independent cinema," with a nomination slate that includes everything from ultra low-budget fare like Sun Don't Shine (which is up for the Breakthrough Director Award) to slightly more expensive productions like 12 Years A Slave (which is produced by Brad Pitt, who's richer than Bruce Wayne).
The Gotham Awards will be handed out December 2 at Cipriana Wall Street, provided the financial district isn't playing host to some hostile takeover by a masked brute making muffled threats of a "reckoning." Those interested in both independent movies and independently wealthy vigilantes have a good five weeks to catch up with the nominees before the ceremony. Though that will require putting Arkham Origins down for at least a few hours.