Over the years the Sundance Film Festival has proven the extra wind in the career sail of a number of actors and actresses. Catching audiences and Hollywood’s attention, they have quickly gone from little-known or unknown to Oscar nominees and winners. Jennifer Lawrence’s breakout role in Winter’s Bone, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2010, led to a Best Actress nomination for the then-20-year old actress. Since then, Lawrence has become one of the most in-demand actresses in Hollywood, landing roles in 2011’s X-Men: First Class and The Hunger Games and receiving another Best Actress Oscar nomination this year for Silver Linings Playbook. Or look at Quvenzhane Wallis, the 9-year old lead of last year’s breakout Sundance film Beasts Of The Southern Wild. Having never performed in a film before, Wallis is now also up for Best Actress at this year’s Oscars. Perhaps a similar future is on the horizon for some of this year’s crop of actor and actresses?
Related: Mike Fleming’s Sundance 2013 Preview
Miles Teller, The Spectacular Now: The actor first gained notice for his role as the teenage driver who killed Nicole Kidman’s young son in 2010’s Rabbit Hole. In his Sundance debut in the James Ponsoldt-directed coming-of-age tale The Spectacular Now, the 25-year-old Teller is now the leading man. Taking a one-two-punch approach, the CAA-repped actor looks well poised to find mainstream appeal with the comedy 21 And Over, which is directed by The Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and comes out March 1. That takes Teller from Park City to multiplexes all over America in less than six weeks time.
Related: Sundance: Five Directors To Watch
Ahna O’Reilly, jOBS: The WME-repped actress has appeared on CSI: NY, 2011’s The Help and in the upcoming CBGB. However, her role as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ first love Chris Ann Brennan alongside with Ashton Kutcher brings O’Reilly front and center for the first time. The mother of Jobs’ first child, the relationship with Brennan makes up the emotional heart of the movie, and that can’t be a bad place to be.
Skylan Brooks, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister And Pete: The 13-year-old has been in the acting game since 2009, appearing on Nickelodeon’s iCarly and with Forest Whitaker in the 2010 family comedy Our Family Wedding among other projects. In his role as Mister in the George Tilman Jr.-directed Inevitable Defeat, Brooks has to hold his own against a heavyweight like Jeffrey Wright and Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson. He also has to carry large swaths of the film with a larger-than-life attitude of a scared boy abandoned by his mother and trying to survive in the city. If the murmurs around Park City are any indication, the LB Talent Agency-repped Brooks has already attracted a lot of attention.
Ambyr Childers, We Are What We Are: Her small role as Elizabeth, the newly married daughter of cult leader Lancaster Dodd, in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master saw the WME- and McKeon/Myones Entertainment-repped Chiders sharing the screen with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix. At Sundance this year, the former All My Children actress really chews it up in her leading role as the cannibalistic Iris Parker in director Jim Mickle’s English-language remake of the 2010 Mexican horror film.
Tyler Ross, Milkshake: As Jolie Jolson, the great-great grandson of Al Jolson, Ross plays a middle-class white guy desperately wanting to be black and gangsta. Directed by David Andalman, the dark comedy about the 1990s aims to capture the cultural shift as hip-hop goes mainstream and O.J. Simpson goes to court — all of which is played out via the 23-year-old actor. As much recognition as Ross is getting for the role, Milkshake isn’t the first time he’s carried the leading man load. In Nate And Margaret last year, Ross played a gay 19-year-old whose best friend is his 52-year-old female neighbor. That role earned the New Wave Entertainment managed actor a lot of praise; Milkshake looks set to get him ever more.