Sundance, the first major film festival of the year, is just wrapping up its 11-day run. As usual, several films that premiered at the Park City, Utah-based fest generated tons of buzz and there’s lots to look out for over the next year. We narrowed down a list of the ones you’ll want to take note of – we predict some of these films may be Academy Award contenders in 2021. 

Miss Americana

This is the most accessible film of the bunch, premiering at the festival mere days before its official Netflix release. There have been plenty of critiques of the Taylor Swift doc, dissecting Swift (her career and politics, especially) and the film itself, but the main takeaway is that fans will enjoy getting a rare glimpse into Swift’s life. 

Release date: Now streaming on Netflix.

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Miss Americana 🎬 January 31 on @netflixfilm

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At this point, the origin story of Zola is practically folklore. Yes, it really was inspired by a riveting 2015 Twitter thread, which details a stripper’s wild road trip with a sex worker and her pimp. After the success of movies like Hustlers, it’s clear that stories about strippers and sex work are not only being accepted but celebrated. Zola is sure to keep the momentum going. 

Release date: TBD.

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Never Rarely Sometimes Always

This film is an intimate portrait of a girl en route to New York with her cousin, seeking an abortion. It’s directed by Eliza Hittman, who has been making waves over the past few years with her films Beach Rats (2017) and It Felt Like Love (2013). According to critics, it’s a touching and significant snapshot of the struggles women can face when dealing with unplanned pregnancies.

Release date: TBD.


Minari is pretty much guaranteed to be a popular release, having already received the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance. Fans of coming-of-age films will be drawn to the premise: Korean American director Lee Isaac Chung paints a moving portrait of his childhood experience in the 1980s as a recent immigrant in rural Arkansas. 

Release date: TBD.

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Go @Minari

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Bad Hair

Dear White People creator Justin Simien has changed lanes a bit with his new horror-satire, Bad Hair. Taking cues from the likes of Jordan Peele (Get Out), the film deals with themes of race and sex in a hilarious-yet-terrifying manner, using hair as the catalyst for horror. It stars Lena Waithe, Vanessa Williams, Jay Pharoah and features appearances by Kelly Rowland and Usher. We are curious and excited to see how the eclectic cast blends the opposing genres.

Release date: TBD, set to premiere on American streaming service, Hulu.

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