8. Martha Marcy May Marlene
Directed by: Sean Durkin
, John Hawkes
, Sarah Paulson
, Hugh Dancy
Martha flees from an abusive cult in the Catskills and looks for help from the family she hasn’t seen in years. While trying to adjust to life in the outside world, she’s unable to get rid of her fear that the cult is still trying to bring her back.
Why It's a Contender:
An absolute critical darling, Martha
is attempting to get in with the elusive Winter’s Bone
slot. Don’t expect this one to win, since the Academy rarely cares for this sort of first-time-directed Sundance-pedigree picture, but it’s the only truly independent movie that seems likely to make it into the big 10. Expect critics to be working to get this underdog at least some of the recognition it deserves.