I guess you could say awards season has officially kicked off, with the Gotham Independent Film Awards -- as usual -- providing the race with its first slate of nominees. And to the surprise of absolutely no one, "12 Years a Slave" leads the field with three nominations -- get used to it coming out on top in pretty every nomination list for the next three months. Those nods include Best Feature (of course), and Best Breakthrough Actor for Lupita Nyong'o, while Chiwetel Ejiofor is mentioned in the newly created Best Actor category.

Its rivals for the top award include the Coen Brothers' upcoming "Inside Llewyn Davis," and three critics' favorites from earlier in the year: "Before Midnight," "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" and "Upstream Color." ("Upstream" lead Amy Seimetz has much to celebrate this morning, having scored a Best Actress nod, as well a Best Breakthrough Director nod for her first feature "Sun Don't Shine.")

This is a nice boost for "Before Midnight," as Celine and Jesse's latest episode looks to score more than just screenplay attention this awards season -- though it's a bit disappointing that Julie Delpy was denied a place in the inaugural Best Actress lineup. Still, competition was strong: Oscar favorite Cate Blanchett is there, alongside indie dark horse Brie Larson ("Short Term 12") and three rank outsiders in Seimetz, Shailene Woodley ("The Spectacular Now") and Scarlett Johansson (delightfully included for her smart comic turn in "Don Jon").

Ejiofor's fellow Oscar frontrunners Robert Redford and Matthew McConaughey join him in the Best Actor race, along with Oscar Isaac for "Inside Llewyn Davis," making this an unusually Oscar-resonant category for the Gothams -- though the resurgant Isaiah Washington (chilling in the superb "Blue Caprice") is there to fly the flag for indie underdogs. 

Solid choices all round. I'm particularly pleased for "Concussion" and the wonderful Robin Weigert, whom we interviewed earlier this month. Least welcome omission? "Frances Ha" for me, though I'm sure you all have your own ideas. Have your say below.

The Gotham Independent Film Awards take place in New York (duh) on December 2.

Best Feature
"Ain't Them Bodies Saints"
"Before Midnight"
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
"12 Years a Slave"
"Upstream Color"

Best Documentary
"The Act of Killing"
"The Crash Reel"
"First Cousin Once Removed"
"Let the Fire Burn"
"Our Nixon"

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

Best Actor
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Oscar Isaac, "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Robert Redford, "All is Lost"
Isaiah Washington, "Blue Caprice"

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

Best Breakthrough Actor
Dane DeHaan, "Kill Your Darlings"
Kathryn Hahn, "Afternoon Delight"
Michael B. Jordan, "Fruitvale Station"
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"
Robin Weigert, "Concussion"