Sundance 2013 movies: Daniel Radcliffe as gay poet Allen Ginsberg, Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, and producer Stephenie Meyer
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Keep the Lights On, Middle of Nowhere, Safety Not Guaranteed, Smashed, The Sessions (then known as “The Surrogate”), How to Survive a Plague, The Invisible War, and Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present are all 2013 awards-season contenders. All of those titles have been nominated for the Gotham Awards and/or the Spirit Awards, and will likely pop up again in the upcoming weeks, as North American critics, guilds, and academies start announcing their nominees and/or winners. (Photo: Daniel Radcliffe gay poet Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings.)
Now, what do all those movies have in common? They are all American productions (or co-productions) screened at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. But what about non-US films? Those tend to be less lucky, as US-based critics, guilds, and academies are generally biased toward homemade — or at least English-language-made — fare.
Anyhow, I’m pointing this out because Sundance 2013 selections in the four key categories — U.S. / World: Dramatic / Documentary — were announced earlier today. As usual, particularly in the last decade or so, small movies with big names have been favored. Hence, at the indie-oriented Sunset Film Festival we have movies featuring the likes of Daniel Radcliffe, Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Jessica Biel, Kristen Bell, Shailene Woodley, Octavia Spencer, Ellen Page, and Megan Mullally.
Also as usual, expect most of the Sundance 2013 movies to have been forgotten even before the festival’s closing night gala. A handful of the Sundance entries, however, will be remembered later next year, once the North American awards-season kicks off with the announcement of the Gotham Awards nominations.
Sundance 2013 U.S. Dramatic competition highlights: Kill Your Darlings, Fruitvale, Austenland
Surely there’ll be surprises at Sundance 2013, along the lines of Beasts of the Southern Wild and Middle of Nowhere earlier this year. Yet, the presence of, say, Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings makes the John Krokidas-directed drama one of the festival’s hottest tickets. The extensive Kill Your Darlings cast also features Dane DeHaan, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Elizabeth Olsen, Kyra Sedgwick, and David Cross.
This year’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (The Help) has an important role in Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale, about the last day in the life of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old black man shot dead by Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle.
In Jerusha Hess’ Anglo-American Austenland, a woman obsessed with Pride and Prejudice‘s Mr. Darcy — as played by Colin Firth on the BBC production — discovers the real thing (more or less) while on a trip to an English resort. The Austenland cast includes Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge, Georgia King, and James Callis. Ah, minor detail. One of Austenland‘s producers is Stephenie Meyer. Heard of her? No? Heard of the Twilight movies starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner? No? On what planet do you live?
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