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Sundance Wrap: Top Tens and Breakouts

Sundance Wrap: Top Tens and Breakouts

Sure there were plenty of of buys at Sundance 2015–listed here. When I ask people why the market heated up to such a degree, the most obvious answer comes back. Distributors need product–and there are more buyers than ever, including newbies willing to overpay. Will “The Overnight” make back its $4 million Minimum Guarantee? It doesn’t matter. The Orchard met its goal of establishing itself in the market–for now.

Sundance 2015’s remarkably varied slate marked a strong year for women’s voices, diversity, movies such as  “I’ll See You There” aimed at older viewers, documentaries, and horror flicks such as Robert Eggers’ “The Witch.” And as always, new talent broke out. (Sundance award-winners here.)

And what of the Oscar chances for this year’s slate? People are already chalking up Fox Searchlight’s “Brooklyn” and Jury and Audience Award-winner “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” as early contenders. (Not so fast, at least in the case of “Earl,” which seems more a Fox Searchlight summer sleeper a la “Garden State.”)

With the right handling, Searchlight could also push Greta Gerwig as co-writer/star of Noah Baumbach’s “Mistress America,” Sony Pictures Classics will support “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” and Lily Tomlin in Paul Weitz’s “Grandma,” and A24 could push “The End of the Tour,” starring Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg as dueling smartypants.

As for the usual crop of Sundance hot docs, it’s hard to single out the awards breakouts: besides jury-winners”The Wolfpack” and “Cartel Land,” nabbing positive reviews were “What Happened Miss Simone?,” “Best of Enemies,” “The Hunting Ground,” “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” and “Listen to Me Marlon.” 

Best of Sundance world premieres –Anne Thompson

1. “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” (Cinematography)
2. “The End of the Tour”
3. “Mistress America”
4. “What Happened Miss Simone?”
5. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” (Jury Grand Prize, Audience prize)
6. “The Witch” (jury directing award)
7. “Listen to Me Marlon”
8. “The Hunting Ground”

Good, Not Great: 
9. “Princess”
10. I’ll See You in My Dreams” 
11.  “Z for Zachariah”
12. “Strangerland”

Disappointment:
12. “Stockholm, Pennsylvania”

Must-See Festival Holdovers:
1. “’71”
2. “It Follows”
3. “The Tribe” 
4. “White God”
5. “99 Homes”
6. “Eden”

Best Actor: Jason Segel “The End of the Tour”
Best Actress: Greta Gerwig “Mistress America”
Best Supporting Actress: Kristin Wiig “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
Best Supporting Actor: Alexander Skarsgard “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” 
Breakout Actors: Thomas Mann and RC Cyler “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”
Breakout Actresses: Bel Powley “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” and Lola Kirke “Mistress America”
Best First Feature: “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
Best Director: Marielle Heller “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
Best Documentary: “What Happened Miss Simone?”
Best Screenplay: “Mistress America”

Best of Sundance–Ryan Lattanzio

1. “The Witch”
2. “James White” (NEXT audience award)
3. “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
4. “Nasty Baby”
5. “Entertainment”
6. “The Stanford Prison Experiment” (screenplay, Alfred P. Sloan prize)
7. “Take Me to the River”
8. “The Forbidden Room”

Good, Not Great
9. “The Nightmare”
10. “Princess”
11. “The Wolfpack”
12. “H.”

Disappointments:
“I Am Michael”
“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”
“Dope”

Best Actor: Christopher Abbott, “James White”
Best Actress: Bel Powley, “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
Best Supporting Actress: Cynthia Nixon, “James White”
Best Supporting Actor: Josh Hamilton, “Take Me to the River”
Best Ensemble: “The Stanford Prison Experiment”
Best First Feature: “The Witch”
Best Director: Robert Eggers, “The Witch”
Best Documentary: “The Nightmare”
Best Screenplay: “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
Best Cinematography: “Chorus”

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