Sundance 2013: Which films might find Oscar traction next season?
PARK CITY - There are still five days left in this year's Sundance fest, but I'm out of here tomorrow, so it's time to start winding coverage down. And one thing worth considering is the potential awards season impact of this year's 35th annual.
By now the story of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is a bit legendary, dropping at Sundance 2012 and riding a big wave throughout the year to major Oscar acclaim. All eyes are turned toward potential players at this year's fest, and distributors are digging deep on buys throughout. So what could come of it?
Perhaps the most significant potential players are Roadside Attractions' "Mud" and the currently distributor-less "Before Midnight." The former features a major performance from Matthew McConaughey that could certainly stir Best Actor buzz later in the year (or perhaps add fuel to the fire of his other two upcoming performances in 2013). Youngster Tye Sheridan will likely get the usual child-lead-turned-supporting push (though we'll see if that actually happens -- you could easily pitch McConaughey for supporting in this one), while the crafts throughout are quality. Jeff Nichols' original screenplay deserves to be on the radar, for sure. I hope I'm not just full of wishful thinking here, though. I am, you know, a fan.
"Before Midnight," meanwhile, features a better, more potent script than the Oscar-nominated "Before Sunset" and is a film met with appreciation across the board here. No one has bit yet, though Lionsgate was circling. And if indeed they pick it up, maybe they do so for Roadside and it becomes a handsome stable-mate for "Mud." Either way, the screenplay and, most assuredly, Julie Delpy's lead performance, will be in the mix this time next year. I feel confident of that.
There are some performances that have sparked, from Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer in "Fruitvale" (picked up by The Weinstein Company) to Isaiah Washington in "Blue Caprice" (still looking), Amanda Seyfried in "Lovelace" (Weinstein) to Sam Rockwell in "The Way Way Back" (bought by Fox Searchlight for a hefty price). I guess you could throw Keri Russell in the Sony Classics-acquired "Asutenland" in there, too. They could land in the season eventually, or not.
The craft scope of "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" means it ought to be considered a possible player (if it grabs distribution) in the cinematography, film editing and score fields, but performances from Ben Foster, Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara could also find traction with the right massaged campaign.
Elsewhere, A24 is putting together its 2013 slate and added to it with James Pondsolt's "The Spectacular Now." Performances from Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller could pop up but it seems screenplay consideration is most likely. And Sony Classics just acquired "Kill Your Darlings," also featuring a buzzed Ben Foster performance, along with another from Daniel Radcliffe.
Docs are always worth watching for, and a year after "Zero Dark Thirty," "Manhunt" might show up nostalgically. Alex Gibney's "We Steal Secrets" will absolutely be in the mix (and make for an interesting companion to Bill Condon's November release "The Fifth Estate"). "Twenty Feet from Stardom" was a big hit, too. "Running from Crazy" didn't make much of a splash but it's good enough to be considered.
The truth is, though, I don't think there is any "Beasts"-level breakout at this year's festival. "Fruitvale" is certainly affecting and in the running for the Grand Jury Prize, and "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" definitely has passionate champions. The most talked about film will likely be "The Way Way Back," but nothing has that residue of an instant story, I don't think.
We'll see how these films find their way from here. They all certainly got off to the right foot here in the Utah mountains, though. That's all you can ask for at this early stage.
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
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