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Academy Award Nominees At Sundance: Past And Present

With the announcement this morning of the Academy Award nominations, the Sundance Film Festival Press Office sent out an interesting release on the films, performers and creatives nominated this year who were represented at Sundance, past and present.

Two films with multiple nominations had their premieres at last year's Festival. AWAY FROM HER, by Sarah Polley, has been nominated for Best Actress (Julie Christie) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Sarah Polley). THE SAVAGES, which had its world premiere at last year's event, saw nods to Laura Linney as Best Actress and Tamara Jenkins, the film's director, for her original screenplay. Tilda Swinton, a Sundance perennial, is represented at this year's Festival in the film DEREK, in which she both acts and served as executive producer. Swinton has been nominated for her role as an immoral lawyer in the legal thriller MICHAEL CLAYTON.

Two of the non-fiction films up for Best Documentary honors had their premieres at last year's Sundance Film Festival. NO END IN SIGHT, a devastating account of the bungling management of the Iraq War, and WAR/DANCE, an uplifitng film about the power of music and dance as experienced by young refugees in a Ugandan displaced persons camp, are in the running for Oscar gold. Both films have been released theatrically this past year.

Jason Reitman, who received his first nomination as Best Director for his work on the comedy hit JUNO, has had four films at Sundance over the past decade. His feature debut THANK YOU FOR SMOKING was one of the buzz hits of the 2006 Festival. Prior to that, he had three career-making short films in competition, including OPERATION (1998), IN GOD WE TRUST (2000) and GULP (2001).

Several of the short films in competition for this year's Oscars are being unspooled in Park City this week. LA CORONA, SALIM BABA, I MET THE WALRUS and MADAME TUTLI-PUTLI are all being featured in various Sundance short programs. With many Oscar voters in town, this is the kind of exposure and media attention that short filmmakers almost never have and desperately need to break through (with Jason Reitman the perfect shorts-to-features-to-Oscar poster boy). Of course, who is to say which current Sundance titles will show up on the red carpet next year?

Sandy Mandelberger, Sundance FF Editor

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