Oscar nominees have Utah connections

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 25 2011 7:27 p.m. MST

In this Jan. 23, 2011 file photo, John Hawkes, a cast member in "Higher Ground," poses at the premiere of the film at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Hawkes was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in "Winter's Bone," Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011. The Oscars will be presented Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Chris Pizzello, Associated Press

PARK CITY —  Academy Award nominations were announced Tuesday and more than 20 of them have Utah connections, which has local film promoters and the Sundance Film Festival celebrating.

The story of hiker Aron Ralston, who severed part of his right arm to escape a slot canyon in southern Utah, received six Academy Award nominations. Shot in Utah, "127 Hours," with its sweeping vistas, serves as not only a showcase for the state but it brought jobs and money to the local economy.

"I keep calling it the movie that keeps giving," said Utah Film Commission Director Marshall Moore. "They were in the state for six months."

He said locally hired crews constructed large sets to mimic Blue John Canyon inside the Granite Furniture Warehouse in Salt Lake.

"Ninty percent of the crew members were really from Utah and that is a testament to our local crew, our local workforce, support vendors. Everyone who contributed to the making of that production should be proud today to be recognized by the Academy," Moore said.

As for the Sundance Film Festival, which is currently underway in Park City, Ogden and Salt Lake, one of last year's festival winners has now been nominated for four Academy Awards.

A small independent film titled "Winter's Bone" won the U.S. Dramatic Competition in 2010 at Sundance.  The Oscar nominations include one for best picture; best actress, Jennifer Lawrence; best supporting actor, John Hawkes; and best adapted screenplay. The story takes place in the Ozarks and follows the trials of a girl who searches for her father, who has disappeared into the world of illegal meth labs.

In all, 9 films in the 2010 Sundance Film Festival received 15 nominations — some for actors, others for best documentary, even a best animated short.

They include:

"Winter's Bone" — 4 nominations

"The Kids are All Right" — 4 nominations

"Blue Valentine" — 1 nomination

"Animal Kingdom" — 1 nomination

"Exit Through the Gift Shop" — 1 nomination

"Gas Land" — 1 nomination

"Restrepo" — 1 nomination

"Waste Land" — I nomination

Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage — 1 nomination

Brooks Addicott, associate director of media relations for The Sundance Film Festival, said a number of the nominated films began at the Sundance Institute labs.

"The whole point of the Institute is to be able to nurture storytellers, wherever they come from, whatever their stories and I think this year's nominations really show diversity," Addicott said. "It does support what we do here."

E-mail: cmikita@desnews.com

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