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Here are our favorite performances from the Sundance Film Festival

John Hawkes

John Hawkes Photo Credit: John Hawkes in "The Surrogate".

The Sundance Film Festival comes to a close this weekend. Here are five top-notch performances (well, technically seven) that continued to haunt and delight long after the final credits rolled.

John Hawkes
'The Surrogate'

Between "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and "Winter's Bone," Hawkes is usually a sure sign that you're in for a good movie. In "The Surrogate," he finally snags a worthy leading role as real-life journalist Mark O'Brien, a polio victim confined to life in an iron lung. When he decides he wants to have sex for the first time, he hires a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt, below) to assist.

Helen Hunt
'The Surrogate'

Hunt has always been a just-fine actress, but it's been a while since she's starred in a role as nuanced and inspired as this. As the aforementioned sex surrogate who awakens a polio victim to the joy of sex, Hunt displays an enormous capacity for tenderness.

Quvenzhane Wallis
'Beasts of the Southern Wild'

Wallis is ferocious, determined ... and only 6 years old. The precocious little star carries this ethereal movie, set in the Louisiana bayou, about a father and daughter who fight for survival through storm and flood. Her spitfire presence will give you goosebumps.

Mark Duplass, Rosemarie Dewitt and Emily Blunt
'Your Sister's Sister'

The performances in this pitch-perfect drama are so intertwined, it's impossible to single out one actor for praise. Most of the action takes place in a Northwest vacation home, where the three get caught up in a love triangle of sorts - Blunt and Dewitt are sisters; Duplass is in love with one of them, but he had a one-night fling with the other.

Mads Brügger
'The Ambassador'

Documentary stars don't usually belong on best-performance lists, but Brügger deserves props for going undercover as a diamond businessman in the Central African Republic. He goes to great lengths to maintain his identity, even when his life is endangered, and for that his performance is unlike any others at the festival.

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