"12 Years A Slave," "Fruitvale Station" make Gotham audience award shortlist

Chiwitel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave," directed by Steve McQueen. Fox Searchlight

Filmgoers are already weighing in on this movie awards season.

The shortlist of five nominees has been announced for the audience award at this year's Gotham Independent Film Awards.

The first round of voting took place from Oct. 24 to Nov. 5, with viewers getting to pick their favorite from a list of 36 films. In order to qualify for the audience prize, a film must've already won an award at one of the top 50 film festivals in the U.S. or Canada from Dec. 2012 to Oct. 2013.

The second round of voting is now in full swing, with viewers getting the chance to go online and select a final winner up until Nov. 24.

Among the films that made the shortlist was "12 Years A Slave," starring British actor Chiwetel Ejioforas Solomon Northup free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 1830s South. The film also leads among total nominations at this years Gothams, previously scoring three other nods, including in the best feature and best actor fields.

Another film examining racial inequality, albeit in an entirely different setting, also made the shortlist. "Fruitvale Station" tells the story of Oscar Grant, a real-life man who was fatally shot by BART police officers in Oakland, Calif., on New Year's Eve 2008.

The three remaining nominees are all documentaries: "Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings," "Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey," and "Best Kept Secret," depicting a run-down high school in Newark, N.J.

Comedian and actor Nick Kroll will host the 2013 Gotham Independent Film Awards on Dec. 2 at Cipriani Wall Street.

  • Ken Lombardi On Twitter» On Facebook»

    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.

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