The buzz about Sundance has been largely positive this year and it sounds like the entries were, on a whole, some of the best the festival has rounded up in a long time. On Saturday the festival's closing Awards Ceremony was held and the winners were announced. Some of last year's outstanding Sundance entries just made it onto the list of Oscar nominations, including Frozen River (which won the Grand Jury Prize last year) and Man on Wire (which won the top Sundance prize in the international documentary category). So this year's Sundance wins just might be next year's Oscar nominees, too.
Here's a rundown of some notable awards:
- The big winner this year is Lee Daniels's Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire, winning both the Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the U.S. Dramatic category.
- The movie boasts several breakout performances including a young newcomer Gabby Sidibe and the comedian Mo'Nique who won the Special Jury Prize for Acting. This movie tackles some extremely heavy material — including incest and pregnancy by one's own father — but many reviewers say that as difficult as it is to watch it's worth the viewing. It still does not have a distributor.
- We Live in Public won the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize and "portrays the story of the Internet's revolutionary impact on human interaction as told through the eyes of maverick web pioneer, Josh Harris, and his transgressive art project that shocked New York." I've heard this described as sort of an underground, technological Jonestown. Creepy.
For more news about this year's Sundance awards,
- "I feel sick, I'm sweaty and I smell bad," is how Charlyne Yi accepted the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for her comedy Paper Heart which also stars her real-life boyfriend, Michael Cera.
- The Directing Award in the U.S. Dramatic category went to Sin Nombre, written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. The movie about three teens traveling through Mexico on their way to the border is getting rave reviews, with one critic declaring that Fukunaga is "sure to become Hollywood's next great filmmaker."
- The World Cinema Jury Prize in the Dramatic category went to The Maid (La Nana), directed by Sebastián Silva from Chile. The World Cinema Audience Award went to a movie I'm anxious to see, An Education written by Nick Hornby.
That's it for this year! I can't wait until these movies start hitting theaters near me.