Film Notes: Gotham nominees kick off movie award season

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The awards season is off and running -- officially -- with nominations for the 23rd Gotham Independent Film Awards.

In contention for best feature: "12 Years a Slave" (opening in Pittsburgh a week from today), "Ain't Them Bodies Saints," "Before Midnight," "Inside Llewyn Davis" and "Upstream Color."

New this year are prizes for best actor and actress honoring achievement "in a leading or significant featured role."

Actor nominees: Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"; Oscar Isaac, "Inside Llewyn Davis"; Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"; Robert Redford, "All Is Lost"; and Isaiah Washington, "Blue Caprice."

Actress nominees: Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"; Scarlett Johansson, "Don Jon"; Brie Larson, "Short Term 12"; Amy Seimetz, "Upstream Color"; and Shailene Woodley, "The Spectacular Now."

Breakthrough actor (male or female): Dane DeHaan, "Kill Your Darlings"; Kathryn Hahn, "Afternoon Delight"; Michael B. Jordan, "Fruitvale Station"; Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"; and Robin Weigert, "Concussion."

Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award nominees: Ryan Coogler, "Fruitvale Station"; Adam Leon, "Gimme the Loot"; Alexandre Moors, "Blue Caprice"; Stacie Passon, "Concussion"; and Amy Seimetz, "Sun Don't Shine."

Best documentary: "The Act of Killing," "The Crash Reel," "First Cousin Once Removed," "Let the Fire Burn" and "Our Nixon."

Fifteen writers, critics and programmers participated in the nomination process and considered 203 eligible submissions. Separate juries of writers, directors, actors, producers, editors and others directly involved in making films will determine the recipients.

The Gotham Awards, honoring independent American features (which means based in the States or American-born directors and producers) made with a point of view and economy of means, will be given Dec. 2 at Cipriani Wall Street. Previously announced: Forest Whitaker will receive the Actor Tribute at the ceremony.

Movies on the move

Holiday releases are on the move, often into 2014.

On Thursday, Variety reported that "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," starring Chris Pine and Kevin Costner, will move from Christmas Day to Jan. 17.

That may open the door for Martin Scorsese's "Wolf of Wall Street," with Leonardo DiCaprio, to bump to Christmas. "Labor Day" will open in a limited number of theaters on the holiday and expand in January.

George Clooney's "Monuments Men," once expected to factor into the 2013 Oscar contest, will open Feb. 7. Earlier in the week, the Los Angeles Times and reported the delay came as filmmakers ran out of time to complete the project and strike the right tone for the true story about Nazi theft of Europe's most valuable art.

In an interview with TheWrap, Mr. Clooney said that he'd been grappling with balancing the movie's comic elements with the serious subject matter. Mr. Clooney directs and stars alongside Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett.

Lost and found footage

The Found Footage Festival, a touring showcase of odd and often hilarious videos found at garage sales, thrift stores, warehouses and Dumpsters, will make its first Pittsburgh appearance at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Hosts Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett will present their 2013 lineup of found video clips and live comedy at the Regent Square Theater, 1035 S. Braddock Ave. Tickets: $12.

The show is being presented by the Brooklyn Brewery as part of its "Mash" series -- beer, food, comedy, music, all this weekend in Pittsburgh. A portion of the show's proceeds will benefit Slow Food Pittsburgh. See for details.

The Found Footage Festival started in New York in 2004 and has sold out hundreds of North American shows.

Do the monster mash

The Parkway Theater in Stowe will show "Frankenstein" and "Bride of Frankenstein" tonight at 7:30. Admission, $3 for the double feature.

On Saturday, the theater at 644 Broadway Ave. will screen "Against the Dark" with Steven Seagal at 7:30 p.m. and "Stake Land" at 9:30 p.m. Tickets, $3 per movie.

Community Reel Arts Center is raising money to remodel the theater lobby into a coffee shop.

Back to Beetlejuice?

Pittsburgh native Michael Keaton may be ready to reteam with director Tim Burton on a sequel to "Beetlejuice."

Justin Kroll reported on Variety's website this week: Sources have told Variety that Mr. Burton is in talks to return as director with Mr. Keaton on board to reprise his role as everyone's favorite ghoul.

Seth Grahame Smith wrote the script and will produce with his partner David Katzenberg through their KatzSmith Productions.

Mr. Keaton unleashed is a fine and funny thing to witness. In "Beetlejuice," a wacky fantasy about life after death, he wails as Betelgeuse, a "bio-exorcist" who helps other ghosts boot unwanted human pests. As he declares, "I'm the ghost with the most, babe."

Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: or 412-263-1632.

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