Golden Globes and Variety Sundance Party Honors Normani, Dylan O’Brien, and More with Breakthrough Awards
The Golden Globe Awards and Variety celebrated upcoming talent at an invite-only party presented by Adobe on Jan. 19 at the Adobe space on Main Street in Park City, Utah.
The Breakthrough Awards highlight the next generation of exceptional talents in front of the camera. This year’s recipients included Normani, the singer-turned-actress who stars in Sundance opener “Freaky Tales”; Dylan O’Brien, star of “Ponyboi”; Maddie Ziegler, “My Old Ass”; and Justice Smith, who toplines two Sundance entries, “I Saw the TV Glow” and “The American Society of Magical Negroes.”
Jane Schoenbrun received the Breakthrough Director Award presented by Adobe for A24’s “I Saw the TV Glow.” The acceptance speeches were emotional and often funny. Normani thanked her co-workers, saying working with vets like Pedro Pascal and Ben Mendelsohn was a “masterclass in acting … I showed up every day feeling valued and equaled throughout my entire experience.”
O’Brien praised his film’s costar, writer, and director, River Gallo, saying the award “means a lot because of the light it shines on this project. There hasn’t been anything like it… there’s never been a feature film starring an intersex performer as a lead intersex character.”
Schoenbrun continued that theme, saying, “I’m proud of trying to negotiate this weird tightrope of art and commerce as a trans person.” The filmmaker added, “…there aren’t many people like me, but (change is) inevitable.” Talking to classes of young people, “…all those moth***ers are trans. So they’re coming!”
Ziegler got emotional talking about her friendship since age 10 with costar Maisy Stella, when they used to dream about appearing in movies together. Smith discussed acting in his room as a child and requested that this award be added to his IMDb profile since the only thing there so far is a nomination for a Razzie Award. He ended sincerely, saying it was his first time at Sundance: “I rarely get awards, so I’m grateful.”
One or two of the honorees’ colleagues presented each award, including Jack Champion, Gallo & Victoria Pedretti, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Megan Park & Stella, and Austin Abrams. Ramin Setoodeh and Tim Gray opened the program, with Setoodeh pointing out that Sundance continued the Variety-Golden Globes alliance, awarding breakthrough acting awards at film festivals around the world, including Venice and Cannes.
Gray added, “The Golden Globes have a tradition of recognizing up-and-coming talent dating back to our first ceremony in 1944.” Heather Freeland, chief brand officer at Adobe, said the company “has been proud to support and celebrate independent and emerging filmmakers at Sundance” for 13 years, including its roles as presenting sponsor and official editing platform. “In a world where technology connects us in unprecedented ways, film remains a universal language that transcends cultural barriers,” she added. “Tonight, we come together not only to recognize the incredible talent showcased at Sundance but also to celebrate the profound importance of film on the world stage.”
Sundance runs from Jan. 18-28.