Sundance Film Festival Awards Winners List: ‘CODA’ Takes U.S. Grand Jury Prize & Audience Award

The marquee of the Egyptian Theatre is shown Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Park City, Utah. The largely virtual Sundance Film Festival opened Thursday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) Rick Bowmer/AP

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival awards went off at a very fast clip tonight, in an hour’s time. Host Patton Oswalt — or as he billed himself, “Discount Giamatti” — kept the jokes flowing.

CODA Sundance Film Festival

Siân Heder’s CODA, which we first told you was swooped up by Apple with a rich $25 million bid, came up big. It won both the U.S. Grand Jury Prize, U.S. Dramatic Audience Award and a Special Jury Ensemble Cast award too. Heder also won Best Director in the U.S. Dramatic section. The movie follows a girl named Ruby. As the only hearing person in an otherwise deaf family, she is divided about staying with them as their fishing business is threatened. 

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s Summer of Soul took the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for Documentary.

Blerta Basholli’s Hive, about a woman in Kosovo who fights against a patriarchal society and whose husband is missing, also came up big with three prizes for World Cinema Audience Dramatic, Grand Jury Prize and Best Director in its section. 

Flee, which was acquired by Neon, is taking home the World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize.

Early on in the night, Akinola Davies, Jr.’s Lizard took the Grand Jury Prize in the Shorts category. The movie follows Juwon, an 8-year-old girl with an ability to sense danger who gets ejected from a Sunday school service. She unwittingly witnesses the underbelly in and around a megachurch in Lagos. 

“I have a busy evening, I’ll be hosting the Slamdance Festival later on the WIFI they’ll be stealing from you,” quipped the Young Adult actor at the top of the show.

And making an aside, Oswalt joked, “So, they’re not letting anyone back in the hotel because Steve Buscemi stole all the towels.”

Alison Brie, Shira Haas, Diego Luna and Cynthia Erivo presented virtually.

This year’s jurors for the shortened festival, which kicked off on Thursday Jan. 28 and runs through today, were Zeynep Atakan, Raúl Castillo, Ashley Clark, Julie Dash, Tacita Dean, Cynthia Erivo, Isaac Julien, Inge de Leeuw, Kim Longinotto, Laura Mulleavy, Kate Mulleavy, Joshua Oppenheimer, Mohamed Ouma Saïd, Jean Tsien, Daniela Vega, Lana Wilson, and Hanya Yanagihara.

Last year, Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari, which is in the awards conversation this year from A24, took home both the U.S. Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in U.S. Dramatic. Netflix’s Crip Camp won in the U.S. Doc Audience Award category, while AppleTV acquisition Boys State won the Grand Jury Documentary Award.

By the end of tonight, 31 prizes will have been handed out by the festival:

U.S. Grand Jury Prize – Dramatic
CODA, dir. Siân Heder

U.S. Grand Jury Prize – Documentary
Summer of Souldir. Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson

Directing Award – U.S. Dramatic
CODAdir. Siân Heder

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic
On The Count of Three, Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch

Directing Award: U.S. Documentary
Natalia Almada, Users

Editing Award: U.S. Documentary
Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award goes to Kristina Motwani and Rebecca Adorno for Homeroom

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Awards
Ensemble Cast – the cast of CODA
Best Actor – Clifton Collins, Jr. for Jockey

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Awards
Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker goes to Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt for Cusp
For Nonfiction Experimentation – All Light, Everywhere, dir. Theo Anthony,

U.S. Audience Awards
Documentary – Summer of Soul, dir. Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson
Dramatic – CODAdir. Siân Heder

World Cinema Audience Awards
Documentary  – Writing With Firedir.
Dramatic – Hive, dir. Blerta Basholli

Yllka Gashi appears in Hive by Blerta Basholli. Sundance

World Cinema Dramatic
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Hivedir Blerta Basholli,
Jury Award for Acting goes to Jesmark Scicluna in Luzzu.
Special Jury Award for Creative Vision: One for the Road, dir. Baz Poonpiriya
Directing Award: Hivedir Blerta Basholli.

Sundance Film Festival

World Cinema Documentary
World Cinema Jury Prize – FleeJonas Poher Rasmussen
Directing Award: Hogir Hirori for Sabaya
Special Jury Award in Impact for Change — Writing With Fire, dir. Rintu Thomas
Special Jury Award in Verite Filmmaking —President, dir. Camilla Nielsson


Audience Award – Ma Belle, My Beauty, dir. Marion Hill

Innovator Award – Cryptozoo, dir. Dash Shaw

Short Film

–Short Film Grand Jury Prize – Lizard, dir. Akinola Davies, Jr.

–Short Film Jury Award – U.S. Fiction – The Touch of the Master’s Handsdir. Gregory Barnes

–Special Short Film Acting Award, Wiggle Room, Deanna Gibson

–Short Film Special Jury Award – Screenwriting, The Criminals, dir. Serhat Karasslan

–Short Film Special Jury Award, Animation – Souvenir Souvenir, dir. Bastien Dubois

–Short Film Jury Award Nonfiction – Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma, dir. Topaz Jones and Rubberband

–Short Film Jury Award – International Fiction – Bambirak, dir. Zamarin Wahdat

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize
Sons of Monarch, dir. Alexis Gambis

Sundance Institute / Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing
–Fiction, Terilyn Shropshire
–Nonfiction, Juli Vizza

Amazon Studios Producers Award for Nonfiction:
Philly D.A., dir. Nicole Salazar

Sundance Institute NHK Award
Motherhood, dir. Meryam Joobeur

Gayle Stevens Volunteer Award
Rebecca Stover


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