It is never too early in the year to start talking about next year's Oscar race or the newest, hottest face on the planet.
We're smack in the middle of the best-of-2011 awards season, the 2012 Sundance Film Festival kicks off today (and runs till Jan. 29) in Park City, Utah, and there is so much going on both onscreen and off, we felt it necessary to prepare a cheat sheet for the indie-film extravaganza.
Here's what—and who—will be making noise in the next 10 days:
4. Coming to a Theater Near You: What's expected to get picked up and distributed with gusto? Early buzz pins high hopes on all of the aforementioned celeb-driven vehicles; the time-travel-utilizing comedy Safety Not Guaranteed; Red Hook Summer, in which Spike Lee reprises the role of Mookie from Do the Right Thing; the Peter Jackson-produced documentary West of Memphis, about three young men convicted of murder who were recently released but not declared "not guilty"; Robot and Frank, starring Frank Langella and a robot with Peter Sarsgaard's voice; the latest incarnation of Wuthering Heights; the Indonesian action flick The Raid; and Where Do We Go Now?, from Lebanon, which won top honors at Toronto.
5. Cold Play: When they don't have a movie to watch or promote, what will the celebs do to stay busy? Well, first they hit up gifting suites to score free stuff. Then, according to talent manager and Sundance party-list overseer Christopher Ryan, there will about 350 events to choose from (and this isn't even including the impromptu hangouts that tend to occur among the tip-top A-listers). From Issey Miyake Sport's Supper Club to Element Electronics Apres Ski House to the Fender Music Lodge, there is a zero percent chance that one person can see everything. And these are just places to go during the day! There's the annual Day One Party tonight at Legacy Lodge and, after Parker Posey hosts the end-of-fest awards ceremony on Jan. 28, there will be the annual Awards Night Party at Basin Recreational Field House. But in between, stars will be gathering at Park City outposts of Tao, STK, Hyde and Goodnight Gansevoort, and hot tickets include HBO's party Sunday at LIVEstyle Film Lounge and the 7 for All Mankind party at Bertolli Meal Soup Chalet. LMFAO is headlining Park City Live on Saturday.
Oh, and we hear there's good skiing.