Entertainment

The Birth of a Nation wins at Sundance amid Oscar diversity concerns

Nate Parker continued his victory lap around the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday night when The Birth of a Nation took both the U.S. drama grand jury prize and the Audience Award.

In the midst of #OscarsSoWhite, film with black director and cast members takes top prizes

This image provided by the Sundance Institute shows Armie Hammer, left, and Nate Parker in a scene from the film The Birth of a Nation, directed by Nate Parker. The movie won two top awards at the Sundance Film Festival. (Elliot Davis/Sundance Institute via Associated Press)

Nate Parker continued his victory lap around the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday night when The Birth of a Nation took both the U.S. drama grand jury prize and the Audience Award.

The historical slave rebellion drama had already broken the acquisition record when Fox Searchlight scooped it up for a cool $17.5 million, and quickly became the must-see of the festival, commanding reported $100 offers for tickets.

"I've poured everything that I am into making it," Parker said following the film's premiere on Monday. "I made this film for one reason, with hope of creating change agents, that people could watch this film and be affected."

Diversity concerns

This win for a movie with a black director and a largely black cast is significant in the midst of an award-show season that's been mired in controversy about diversity.

Prominent black people in the entertainment industry, including director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith, have vowed to boycott the Academy Awards, after the academy announced an all-white list of acting nominees for the second year in a row. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite made a resurgence on Twitter.

The recent Screen Actors Guild Awards stood in contrast with a comparatively diverse group of winners, including Queen Latifah, Uzo Aduba, Viola Davis and Idris Elba.

Other big winners at Sundance included the Anthony Weiner documentary Weiner, which took home the U.S. documentary grand jury prize, and Jim: The James Foley Story, which won the U.S. documentary audience award.

Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan also won the U.S. dramatic directing award for their wildly divisive film Swiss Army Man about a man stranded on an island (Paul Dano) who discovers a flatulent corpse (Daniel Radcliffe).

The 32nd Sundance Film Festival wraps on Sunday.

Other winners

  •  U.S. drama, grand jury prize: The Birth of a Nation.
  • U.S. drama, audience award: The Birth of a Nation.
  • U.S. drama, directing award: Swiss Army Man.
  • 'U.S. drama, special jury award: As You Are.
  • U.S. drama, special jury award for breakthrough performance: Joe Seo for Spa Night.
  • U.S. drama, special jury award for individual performance: Melanie Lynskey for The Intervention.
  • U.S. drama, special jury award for individual performance: Craig Robinson for Morris from America.
  • U.S. documentary, grand jury prize: Weiner.
  •  U.S. documentary, audience award: Jim: The James Foley Story.
  • U.S. documentary, directing award: Life, Animated.
  • U.S. documentary, special jury award for editing: NUTS!
  •  U.S. documentary, special jury award for social impact filmmaking: Trapped.
  • U.S. documentary, special jury award for writing: Kate Plays Christine.
  • U.S. documentary, special jury award for vérité filmmaking: The Bad Kids.
  •  Alfred P. Sloan feature film prize: Embrace of the Serpent.
  • Waldo Salt screenwriting award: Morris from America.
  • World cinema drama, grand jury prize: Sand Storm.
  • World cinema drama, audience award: Between Sea and Land.
  • World cinema drama, directing award: Belgica.
  • World cinema drama, special jury award for acting: Vicky Hernandez and Manolo Cruz for Between Sea and Land.
  • World cinema drama, special jury award for screenwriting: Mi Amiga del Parque.
  • World cinema drama, special jury award for unique vision and design: The Lure.
  • World cinema documentary, grand jury prize: Sonita.
  •  World cinema documentary, audience award: Sonita.
  • World cinema documentary, directing award: All These Sleepless Nights.
  • World cinema documentary, special jury award for debut feature: When Two Worlds Collide.
  • World cinema documentary, special jury award for cinematography: The Land of the Enlightened.
  • World cinema documentary, special jury award for editing: We Are X.
  • NEXT, audience award: First Girl I Loved.

With files from CBC News

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