Strap on your boots, moviemakers… award season’s back in town. Nominations for the 21st Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, the first major awards ceremony of the 2011 season, were announced today; The Descendants and Martha Marcy May Marlene lead the pack with three nominations each, while Beginners and Take Shelter each received two.

“The high caliber of this year’s Gotham Awards nominees’ work is truly remarkable,” says Joana Vicente, executive director of the Independent Film Project, which presents the Gotham Awards. “This extraordinary group of filmmakers and talent, both established and new, are breaking barriers and finding fresh, innovative ways to engage audiences through unique storytelling.  We’re passionate about shedding light on well deserved independent cinema and excited to begin what is sure to be a momentous awards season.”

The nominees for the 2011 Gotham Awards are:

Best Feature
The Descendants
Meek’s Cutoff
Take Shelter
The Tree of Life

Best Documentary
Better This World
Bill Cunningham New York
Hell and Back Again
The Interrupters
The Woodmans

Best Ensemble Performance
The Descendants
Margin Call
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Take Shelter

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 Film Not Playing at at Theater Near You
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, directed by Madeleine Olnek
Green, directed by Sophia Takal
The Redemption of General Butt Naked, directed by Daniele Anastasion and Eric Strauss
Scenes of a Crime, directed by Blue Hadaegh and Grover Babcock
Without, directed by Mark Jackson

In addition to the six competitive categories listed above, the festival will also honor Charlize Theron, Gary Oldman, David Cronenberg and Tom Rothman with career tributes at at the awards ceremony, to be held on Monday, November 28th at Cipriani Wall Street. 2011 also marks the first year of Gotham’s Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers “Live the Dream” grant, the winner of which will receive $25,000 toward the completion and distribution of their film.

Movie fans who want their own opinion on the best independent film of the year heard—and who doesn’t, right?—can vote for the festival’s Audience Award starting today. Audience votes will narrow down the current field of 29 films to five finalists, to be announced on November 17th.

For more information on the Gotham Independent Film Awards, visit