Gotham Awards Add Gender Neutral Category, Nominated Squid Fishing Game – The Hollywood Reporter
Just in January, the Gotham Awards recognized independent movies and TV shows from 2020 in a delayed pandemic-era hybrid event that featured a mix of live presenters and newcomers. nominees appear via live video. Now, the New York mainstay is set to welcome a “slightly reduced” crowd back to Wall Street Cipriani on Nov. 29. While some things are returning to their pre-COVID standards , there were some big changes: Gothams made their move to award sexist awards, removed audience awards, and added more TV categories. Gotham Film & Media Institute CEO Jeffrey Sharp spoke with CHEAP about what to expect this year.
Why do you feel this is the right time to move into gender-neutral performance categories?
Over the past few years, we thought we had a unique opportunity to try something and really offer some leadership in the field. It’s part of our DNA. Our award for breakthrough performer and breakthrough director is unchanged, so it’s not out of the ordinary for us. And it just feels like the right thing to do.
One of the concerns with sexist categories is that one gender, presumably male, will prevail. Are you adding more nominees for more diverse representation?
Our organization is perhaps uniquely positioned to do something like this, with our nomination committees paying close attention to representation and diversity. Being present in those conversations, it was organically expressed in how the list of nominees came together, just like we’ve always done that way.
How does it feel to be one of the first award groups to be nominated? Squid fishing game?
I am very excited. Because we recognize television and because of our place in the year, one of the cool things about the Gotham Awards is that we can really celebrate shows so early in their lifecycle. This is like Ed Sullivan show when The Beatles appeared.
In terms of cinema, what do you see the role of Gothams in raising awareness of the underdogs, being one of the first awards in the Oscar season?
That endorsement has profound implications if you identify as an indie filmmaker – it’s a rite of passage. So many artists were recognized early in their careers, and as they grow, expand and take new directions, we can continue to celebrate their work. It’s been a unique year considering the timeline of the pandemic and where the movies fit in eligibility. Some movies, Sample for example, is not widely seen. My assistant saw Sample at a drive-in in Houston.
Did you learn anything from this year’s hybrid and award-winning show in the fluctuating pandemic cycle that you’re participating in the upcoming event?
It’s just the resilience of our community. We are here not only to celebrate our own comeback but also the fact that the show exists because of the support and faith of this community. If it weren’t for that – if people hadn’t bought virtual tables, virtual tickets, all the things that support this organization – we wouldn’t be here this year.
The edited interview is long and clear.
This story first appeared in the November 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to subscribe.