Just one day after the Sundance Film Festival gave us our first 2016 Oscar contender with Manchester by the Sea, the second landed today in a very big way. It arrived in the form of Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, which Mr. Parker also cowrote and stars in. Nation tells the story of the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner. Costars include Armie Hammer, Jackie Earle Haley, and Gabrielle Union. The $10 million production reportedly took Parker (a semi well known actor known who’s appeared in Red Tails and Non-Stop) seven years to get off the ground.
At today’s Sundance screening, Nation was greeted with rapturous word of mouth and a prolonged standing ovation. There is expected to be a feeding frenzy among studios to purchase the film’s rights. Expect fervent buzz for this get attention for Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, and Actor with Parker seemingly on his way to becoming a household name.
Bottom line: two days at Sundance have already in January produced two real possibilities come next year at Oscar time.