Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch First Trailer for 'Roots' Reboot Watch First Trailer for 'Roots' Reboot Taraji P. Henson Will Topline Film Based on Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Worked for NASA During the Space Race Taraji P. Henson Will Topline Film Based on Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Worked for NASA During the Space Race Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Missed It Last Night? Watch 'A Ballerina’s Tale' in Full Now Missed It Last Night? Watch 'A Ballerina’s Tale' in Full Now Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Now Streaming on Netflix: Award-Winning 'Sand Dollars' (Dominican Republic's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Entry) Now Streaming on Netflix: Award-Winning 'Sand Dollars' (Dominican Republic's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Entry) Jamie Foxx Will Play Little John to Taron Egerton's Robin Hood in "Progressive" Take on the Legend Jamie Foxx Will Play Little John to Taron Egerton's Robin Hood in "Progressive" Take on the Legend James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Madonna's 'Blonde Ambition' Dancers Tell Their Own Stories in New Documentary 'Strike a Pose' Madonna's 'Blonde Ambition' Dancers Tell Their Own Stories in New Documentary 'Strike a Pose' Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

'Fruitvale' Is 4th Film In Sundance History To Win Both Dramatic Audience & Grand Jury Prizes, More...

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act January 27, 2013 at 1:07PM

'Fruitvale' Is 4th Film In Sundance History To Win Both Dramatic Audience & Grand Jury Prizes, More...
12
FRUITVALE Director Ryan Coogler, Accepting Grand Jury Prize At Sundance 2013
FRUITVALE Director Ryan Coogler, Accepting Grand Jury Prize At Sundance 2013

Say goodbye to another Sundance Film Festival, as the 2013 edition of the nation's top event ended last night, with the usual Awards ceremony celebrating this year's winners.

As noted in my Sundance Awards awards wrap-up after the trophies were handed out (HERE), director Ryan Coogler's lauded feature film debut, Fruitvale, picked up, not one, but TWO major awards last night - the 2013 Audience Award in the US Dramatic category, as well as the grand-daddy of them all, the Grand Jury Prize, also in the US Dramatic category. 

Naturally, with that news, it didn't take very long for me to realize that these 2 wins may actually be history-making for the film. After all, it's not often that "black films" (films that tell stories primarily about people of African descent) win awards (especially the two that Fruitvale won) at the Sundance Film Festival.

So I did some digging, focusing strictly on the 2 categories that Fruitvale won its awards in (the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize, both in the US Dramatic category) going all the way back to 1984, which was the first year that the festival dished out awards (according to the archives on Sundance's website, which was my main source), and I made note of a few discoveries worth mentioning, especially in light of Fruitvale's wins this year - again, focusing solely on the 2 categories the film won awards in - the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize, both in the US Dramatic category.

It might start to get a little confusing, so read closely.

- First, despite the fact that the festival began handing out awards in 1984, it wasn't until 1990 when a black film would win either the Audience or the Grand Jury Prize awards in the US Dramatic cateogory. The Grand Jury Prize that year went to Wendell B. Harris' Chameleon Street (a film we've written about a lot here on S&A) - effectively making that film the first black film to win the festival's coveted Grand Jury Prize award in that category. You can think of winning the Grand Jury Prize as something almost akin to winning the Best Picture Oscar

- Second, it wasn't until 1997 when another black film would win either of those 2 awards. Theodore Witcher's Love Jones tied for the Audience Award in the Dramatic category, with another film called Hurricane (not to be confused with the Norman Jewison, Denzel Washington drama, The Hurricane). This made Love Jones the first black film to win the Audience Award in the Dramatic category. Chameleon Street was the first black film to win the Grand Jury Prize.

- A year later, 1998, Slam, which starred Saul Williams and Sonja Sohn, became the second black film to win the Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic. It's worth noting that, in that same year, Christopher Scott Cherot's Hav Plenty was also up for that same award.

- Fourth, it wasn't until 1999 when the festival saw the first film to EVER win in BOTH categories - Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize. That film was a Vietnamese drama titled Three Seasons

- Fifth, it took another 7 years before we would see a black film win either award again. In 2005, Hustle & Flow won the Audience Award in Dramatic competition.

- In 2006, Quinceañera became only the second film in Sundance history to win both awards; 7 years after the first film to do it - Three Seasons.

- In 2009, Lee Daniels' Push: Based on the novel by Sapphire, as it was titled when it debuted at Sundance (later to be called Precious), became only the third film to win in both categories. BUT, and more noteworthy, it became the first black film, to do that - winning the awards in both categories. Of course the film would go on to much more acclaim, and was met with much controversy as well, which was well-documented on this site that year.

- 3 years later, in 2012, a little film called Beasts of the Southern Wild won the Grand Jury Prize in the Dramatic category, but, surprisingly, it didn't win the Audience Award as well. That went to The Sessions.

- And finally, skip ahead to this year, 2013, as Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale becomes, first, the 4th film in Sundance history to win both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize in the US Dramatic category; and secondly, it's only the second black film to win both awards - following Precious 4 years ago.

That's it! I love compiling data like this, and identifying "firsts," as well as trends and patterns. And there's likely more to be done with this data, but I'll leave that for another post at another time.

With Fruitvale following in Precious' foosteps (as dual winners), might it enjoy a similar critical path throughout the year, on its way to Academy Awards glory? It's obviously too early to tell. But given that it's now in the hands of the inimitable Harvey Weinstein, who usually does quite well during awards season (The Weinstein Company acquired distribution rights to it), I like the Fruitvale's chances. At the very least, TWC will ensure that it's "in the conversation" when the time comes.

Unless TWC has other plans for it that we're just not aware of...

The much-buzzed-about drama, based on the murder of 22-year old Oscar Grant (played by Michael B. Jordan in the film), co-stars Octavia SpencerTristan Wilds and Melonie Diaz.

The film is produced by Forest Whitaker.

Zeba Blay reviewed it for us after screening it at Sundance; Read that review HERE.

This article is related to: Ryan Coogler


Shadow & ActNewsletter