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Sundance films make a showing in Oscar nominations

Published January 15, 2013 2:25 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If you attended last year's Sundance Film Festival, you got the chance to see quite a few Oscar-nominated films.

If you attend the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, you will get the chance to see two more.

Two of the films in Sundance's Spotlight section — devoted to films that have played at other festivals — received Oscar nominations this morning:

• The Chilean film "No," director Pablo Larrain's drama about the political consultant (Gael Garcia Bernal) hired to mount a campaign against dictator Augusto Pinochet, was nominated in the Foreign-Language Film category.

• The documentary "The Gatekeepers," Dror Moreh's examination of Israeli's long-stalled "peace process" that features interviews with six former heads of Israel's Secret Service, received a nomination in the Documentary Feature category.

The big Sundance success story, in terms of today's Oscar nominations, are the four nominations for last year's Grand Jury Prize winner "Beasts of the Southern Wild." The story of a little Louisiana Delta girl figuring out her place in the universe was nominated for Best Picture, director, actress and adapted screenplay. "Beasts" was a project in the Sundance Institute's Filmmakers Labs, and has received support from the Institute.

Another Sundance hit, "The Sessions" (which played as "The Surrogate" at the festival), scored a supporting-actress nod for Helen Hunt.

The Documentary Feature category swept with Sundance picks, with the other four nominees (besides "The Gatekeepers") all 2012 festival films: The Palestinian saga "5 Broken Cameras," the AIDS-activism history "How to Survive a Plague," the sexual-assault-in-the-military expose "The Invisible War," and the musical biography/mystery "Searching for Sugar Man." (Both "How to Survive a Plague" and "The Invisible War" also received support from the Sundance Institute's Documentary Program.)

Another 2012 festival doc, the environmental tale "Chasing Ice," scored a nomination for Original Song. The tune "Before Our Time" was written by J. Ralph, and performed on the soundtrack by Scarlett Johansson and Joshua Bell.

The Documentary Short category features two films with Sundance ties: "Open Heart," about Rwandan children with heart disease being given a chance for medical aid, was co-produced with Sundance; and the directors of the short "Inocente," Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, have a documentary feature, "Life According to Sam," in competition at this year's festival.

- Sean P. Means