27 November 2013 9:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Since their inception 23 years ago, Ifp’s Gotham Independent Film Awards have experienced their share of growing pains and gains. For years, the low-key kudofest, which takes place at the outset of awards season, was truly independent and unconcerned about their impact on the Academy Awards.

In 2005, categories for Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You and ensemble were added to the Gothams’ parade of accolades, designed to celebrate films and performances overlooked by Oscar. But this year, those categories have been scrapped and replaced with more traditional actor and actress kudos.

According to Ifp exec director Joana Vicente and senior director of programming Milton Tabbot, the redesign wasn’t meant to align with the Oscars. Instead a “changing distribution landscape” and difficulty meeting the ensemble category criteria led to a shift toward standard awards honoring five thesps per gender.

“Independent film is where a lot of amazing actors get great, »

- Addie Morfoot

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