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Last year’s top Sundance prize winner, “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” picked up four Oscar nominations, including best picture, director for first-time filmmaker Benh Zeitlin and actress for 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, who had never acted before. For Zeitlin, out of nowhere and into the company of fellow nominees Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee. For Wallis, into the company of Naomi Watts and Jennifer Lawrence, herself a breakout Sundance star for “Winter’s Bone.”

“That’s why we’re here,” Redford said. “When somebody comes out of nowhere and with our support goes somewhere, that’s a real pleasure to me.”