Hollywood hits the slopes at Sundance, and fetes the best in film and TV at the Producers Guild Awards.
Sundance Film Festival
Sundance 2011’s opening weekend didn’t disappoint as showbiz types and hopefuls converged on the snowy Utah resort town. Such A-list talent as Bryan Cranston and Paul Rudd roamed Main Street (almost) unnoticed in search of the next gratis glass of Merlot, as the Jan. 22 UTA party competed with a Cee-Lo concert three blocks away. Brisk sales, led by Paramount’s $4 million pickup of Like Crazy, led to a buoyant mood. The fest quickly produced a breakout star in 21-year-old Elizabeth Olsen of Martha Marcy May Marlene. Even Oprah came to town to promote OWN’s documentary club. Many converged nightly at the Bing Bar, which hosted a surprise Park City performance by Florence + the Machine. Upon making a paparazzi-accented arrival for The Ledge’s cast party, Liv Tyler captured Sundance perfectly, “It’s insane!” — Stacey Wilson
The producers guild Awards at the Beverly Hilton were, in the words of producer Bruce Cohen, “our chance to remind the industry that movies start with us.” With its black-tie dinner only five weeks before the Oscars, the PGAs are a key — and often on-target — predictor of the awards race (the period HBO’s Sue Naegle called “the season of the constant prom”). Host Judd Apatow used the night to critique his Golden Globes counterpart, Ricky Gervais: “It’s not like he fought the power and said, ‘f--- Comcast.’ ” Sean Penn received the Stanley Kramer humanitarian award. Mad Men and Modern Family took home top TV prizes, and the best picture win for The King’s Speech pushed one campaigner to say, “It’s a race again.” — Bill Higgins