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The only people angrier than the guys on screen were possibly the press and industry folks stranded outside when the paltry screening facilities proved inadequate. While cooling their heels out in the snow, they might have gotten hot realizing that all those supposed independent Sundance nominees from 2010 on the Oscar ballot this year are in fact, as Kevin Smith suggested, indie films on steroids — larger-budgeted, character-driven films with lower-tier actors taking on riskier subjects for lesser returns. In short, they are what the old studios used to call "A" pictures, intended to make enough money to satisfy the shareholders, but ginned up as socially redeeming ventures so they can look themselves in the mirror after the Oscars.

Some contend that Hollywood is doing this because — post–Crash, The Hurt Locker, etc. — it was tired of being left out of the Oscar box-office boost. But I think these movies are less about money and more about self-respect. Which they're getting, but at the expense of Sundance's credibility.

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ARTICLES BY HARLAN JACOBSON
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