By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 4, 2015 at 1:15PM
And what of the Oscar chances for this year's Sundance slate?
People are already chalking up Fox Searchlight's "Brooklyn," written by Nick Hornby, directed by John Crowley and starring Domhnall Gleeson and Saoirse Ronan, and Jury and Audience Award-winner "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl," starring breakouts Thomas Mann and RC Cyler, 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.") The film releases on the awards-friendly date of November 6, 2015. Searchlight has notched 12 Best Picture nominations in the past 11 years, more than any other company, and with "Birdman"'s haul, the company is at this point the industry Oscar leader.
With the right handling, Searchlight could also push Greta Gerwig as co-writer/star of Noah Baumbach's entertaining comedy "Mistress America." Sony Pictures Classics will support rookie breakout Marielle Heller's stylish "The Diary of a Teenage Girl," starring Brit newcomer Bel Powley, Kristin Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard, and Lily Tomlin in Paul Weitz's "Grandma," and A24 could push James Ponsoldt's "The End of the Tour," written by Donald Margulies and 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 Liz Garbus's "What Happened Miss Simone?," Oscar-winner Morgan Neville's "Best of Enemies," Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering's "The Hunting Ground," Alex Gibney's "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief" and Stevan Riley's innovative heart-tugger "Listen to Me Marlon."
Other possibilities still to come include:
Andrew Haigh's Berlin two-hander "45 Years" starring Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling. (Sundance Selects)
Luca Guadagnino's "A Bigger Splash," starring Matthias Schoenaerts, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, and Dakota Johnson. (Fox Searchlight)
Scott Cooper's "Black Mass," starring Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sienna Miller, and Dakota Johnson. (Warner Bros., 9/18)
Angelina Jolie's romantic comedy "By The Sea" starring Jolie, Brad Pitt, Niels Arestrup, and Mélanie Laurent. (Universal)
Todd Haynes' "Carol," adapted by Phyllis Nagy from the Patricia Highsmith novel, and produced by Christine Vachon, starring Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, and Kyle Chandler. (The Weinstein Co.)
Peter Landesman's "Concussion," starring Will Smith, Albert Brooks, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Paul Reiser, Luke Wilson. (Sony)
Tom Hooper's "The Danish Girl," starring Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, and Matthias Schoenaerts. (Working Title)
Jean-Marc Vallee's "Demolition," original New York relationship drama by Bryan Sipe starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, and Chris Cooper. (Fox Searchlight)
Baltasar Kormákur's mountain ascent thriller "Everest" starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, John Hawkes, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, and Robin Wright. (September, Working Title/Universal)
Thomas Vinterberg's "Far from the Madding Crowd," adapted by David Nicholls from the Thomas Hardy novel, starring Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen and Thomas Sturridge. (Fox Searchlight)
The Coen Brothers' comedy "Hail Caesar!" starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, and Jonah Hill. (Working Title started production in LA in January, set for February 2016 Universal release, but things could change.)
Quentin Tarantino's western "The Hateful Eight" starring Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Dern, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Demián Bichir, and Kurt Russell. (Weinstein Co.)
Warren Beatty's untitled Howard Hughes movie, starring Beatty, Alden Ehrenreich, Lily Collins, Matthew Broderick, Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Taissa Farmiga, Chace Crawford, and Candice Bergen. (no US distributor)
Stephen Frears' "Icon," starring Ben Foster, Lee Pace, and Chris O'Dowd. (Working Title, no US distributor)
Ron Howard's "In the Heart of the Sea," starring Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Whishaw, and Brendan Gleeson. (Warner Bros.)
Woody Allen's "Irrational Man," starring Joaquin Phoenix, Parker Posey, Emma Stone, and Jamie Blackley. (Sony Pictures Classics)
David O. Russell 's "Joy," starring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, and Édgar Ramirez. (20th Century Fox, 12/25)
Sean Penn's "The Last Face" starring Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem, and Adèle Exarchopoulos.
Brian Helgeland's "Legend" starring Tom Hardy as the Kray twins and Emily Browning. (Working Title, Universal)
Justin Kurtzel's "Macbeth," starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. (The Weinstein Co.)
Jeff Nichols' "Midnight Special" starring Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, and Joel Edgerton. (Warner Bros.)
Jodie Foster's "Money Monster" starring George Clooney, Jack O'Connell, and Julia Roberts. (TriStar/Sony)
David Gordon Green's "Our Brand Is Crisis" starring Sandra Bullock, Scoot McNairy, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, and Ann Dowd. (Warner Bros., 2015/16)
Alejandro Amenábar's "Regression" starring Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, and David Dencik. (The Weinstein Company)
Alejandro González Inarritu's "The Revenant" starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson. (20th Century Fox)
Jonathan Demme and Diablo Cody's "Ricki and the Flash" starring Meryl Streep, Mamie Gummer, Kevin Kline, Sebastian Stan, Rick Springfield, and Ben Platt. (Sony/TriStar)
Steven Spielberg's "St. James Place," written by Matt Charman, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen and starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, Alan Alda, Billy Magnussen, Eve Hewson. (Touchstone/DreamWorks /20th Century Fox)
Gus Van Sant's "Sea of Trees" starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe, Naomi Watts, Katie Aselton and Jordan Gavaris.
Martin Scorsese's "Silence" starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Issei Ogata, Adam Driver, and Tadanobu Asano. (Paramount)
Oliver Stone's "Snowden," starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans, Joely Richardson and Timothy Olyphant. (Open Road, 12.25)
Antoine Fuqua's fighter picture "Southpaw" starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Naomie Harris, Forest Whitaker, and Victor Ortiz. (Weinstein Co.)
Thomas McCarthy's "Spotlight" starring Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Brian d'Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, Liev Schreiber, Billy Crudup, and John Slattery.
Danny Boyle's "Steve Jobs" biopic written by Aaron Sorkin and produced by Scott Rudin and Mark Gordon, starring Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Katherine Waterston. (Universal)
Richard Linklater's "That's What I'm Talking About" (Annapurna/Paramount)
Brad Bird's space adventure "Tomorrowland" starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy, Thomas Robinson, Kathryn Hahn, Tim McGraw, Keegan-Michael Key, and Judy Greer. (Disney)
Judd Apatow 's comedy "Trainwreck" starring Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, Tilda Swinton, Vanessa Bayer, Ezra Miller, John Cena, Barkhad Abdi, and Norman Lloyd. (Universal)
Stephen Daldry's Brazil-set "Trash" starring Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen. (Working Title, Focus Features)
John Hillcoat's "Triple Nine" starring Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Chris Allen, and Anthony Mackie. (Open Road)
Jay Roach's "Trumbo" starring Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Elle Fanning, Louis C.K., Helen Mirren, and John Goodman. (Bleecker Street)
James Vanderbilt's "Truth" starring Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, Elisabeth Moss, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid and Bruce Greenwood.
Robert Zemeckis's "The Walk" starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale and Charlotte Le Bon. (Sony/TriStar, 10.2)