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 | Drama | NRSummary: Irene, nicknamed 'Honey', has devote herself to people looking for help, and tries to alleviate their suffering even when they make extreme decisions. One day she has to cope with Grimaldi and his invisible malaise.Director: Valeria Golino
Cast: Jasmine Trinca, Carlo Cecchi, Libero De Rienzo, Vinicio Marchioni
1940 | Musical | GSummary: From Mickey Mouse to the evolution of life to the battle between good and evil, Disney animation majestically combines with classical music in this ballet of iconic images.Director: Norman Ferguson
Cast: Leopold Stokowski, Deems Taylor, Corey Burton
2014 | Documentary | TV-GSummary: Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts this brilliantly-produced revival of Carl Sagan's ground-breaking science series.Director: n/a
Cast: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, Stoney Emshwiller
1982 | Fantasy | GSummary: Animated fantasy about a brave unicorn who, fearful that she’s the last of her kind, goes in search of the other unicorns, which were spirited away to the ends of the Earth.Director: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury
1998 | Action | NRSummary: Animated series with day-Glo colors, fast action, and three young girls who are as adorable as they are powerful. Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup fight off giant monsters and battle the pains of growing up.Director: Craig McCracken (creator)
Cast: Cathy Cavadini, Elizabeth Daily, Tara Strong
2014 | Drama | NRSummary: A rogue businessman, a middle-aged designer and a hotshot young programmer conspire to build a computer to rival IBM's early dominance.Director: Christopher Cantwell, Christopher C. Rogers
Cast: Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis
1994 | Comedy | NRSummary: One of the major ‘90s sitcoms introduced us to Jennifer Aniston, who played one of six 20-something friends dealing with life and love in New York City.Director: David Crane, Marta Kauffman (creators)
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer
1985 | Comedy | PGSummary: Paul Reubens and his boyish, oddball alter-ego Pee-Wee Herman make the leap to the big screen in this cartoonish and vivid adventure from director Tim Burton.Director: Tim Burton
Cast: Paul Reubens, Elizabeth Daily, Mark Holton
1999 | Documentary | RSummary: AMERICAN MOVIE is the story of filmmaker Mark Borchardt, his mission, and his dream. Spanning over two years of intense struggle with his film, his family, financial decline, and spiritual crisis, AMERICAN MOVIE is a portrayal of ambition, obsession, excess, and one man's quest for the American D...Director: Chris Smith
Cast: Mark Borchardt, Mike Schank, Tom Schimmels
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