The Descendants
Credit: Merie Wallace

Two film-festival favorites — George Clooney’s The Descendants and Elizabeth Olsen’s Martha Marcy May Marlene — led the Gotham Award nominations with three mentions each, followed by the Ewan McGregor love story Beginners and the Michael Shannon/Jessica Chastain drama Take Shelter with two. The Gotham Awards, which honor films produced outside the major studio system, were the first to recognize eventual Oscar nominees like The Hurt Locker and Winter’s Bone. Nominees were chosen by small groups of film critics, festival programmers, and journalists. (Full disclosure: I was on the nominating committee for the Best Ensemble Performance and Breakthrough Actor catgories, while my EW colleague Lisa Schwarzbaum helped select the Best Feature and Breakthrough Director nominees.) The full list of nominees is after the jump.

Best Feature


The Descendants

Meek’s Cutoff

Take Shelter

The Tree of Life

Breakthrough Director

Mike Cahill, Another Earth

Sean Durkin, Martha Marcy May Marlene

Vera Farmiga, Higher Ground

Evan Glodell, Bellflower

Dee Rees, Pariah

Breakthrough Actor

Felicity Jones, Like Crazy

Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene

Harmony Santana, Gun Hill Road

Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Jacob Wysocki, Terri

Best Ensemble Performance


The Descendants

Margin Call

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Take Shelter

Best Documentary

Better This World

Bill Cunningham New York

Hell and Back Again

The Interrupters

The Woodmans

Best Film Not Playing At A Theater Near You

Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same


The Redemption of General Butt Naked

Scenes of a Crime


The Gotham Awards will be handed out in New York on November 28.