Academy Screenings Make for Odd Couples

AMPAS members screenings mix big and small, docs and foreign films, creating strange double and triple features

How’s this for an unusual double feature: the 3D version of James Cameron’s massive, big-budget blockbuster “Avatar,” followed by the quiet, tense, very low-budget military drama “The Messenger.”

Or “Precious,” with its near-operatic drama and rage and emotional pyrotechnics in a squalid urban setting, followed by the genteel, repressed 19th Century British love story “Bright Star.”

Or a “don’t ask, don’t tell” special: “The Hurt Locker,” followed by “A Single Man.”

AvatarThose are some of the options available to Academy members over the next three weeks, as the annual AMPAS screenings of nominated films take over the organization’s theaters in Beverly Hills and Hollywood.

The screenings begin on Saturday morning with a pair of Foreign-Language Film nominees, “The Milk of Sorrow” and “The White Ribbon,” and run through Sunday, February 28, when they come to a close with a double bill of “Il Divo” and “In the Loop.”

In between, each nominee will be screened at least twice, once in the 1,012-seat Samuel Goldwyn Theater in the Academy’s Beverly Hills headquarters and once in the more intimate Linwood Dunn Theater in its Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood.

The hardest films to see, the Foreign-Language, Documentary and short films, will all screen four times each; in those categories, members must see every nominee to be eligible to vote.

The foreign films, docs and shorts were slotted into the screening schedule even before the nominations were announced. Then studio reps participated in a nominations-morning lottery to choose the remaining times, resulting in some unusual juxtapositions as well as some pairings that work nicely.

The MessengerIn the latter category, February 9 brings a British teen night to the Goldwyn: “An Education” at seven p.m., followed by “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” at 8:50.

The next night provides a trip into a pair of fantastic fantasy worlds: “Coraline” at seven, “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” at 8:50.

And you could call February 18 Nine Night: first “District 9,” then “Nine.”

On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine too many viewers being equally disposed towards Neil Blomkamp’s sci-fi actioner and Rob Marshall’s lavish musical.

And are any Academy members who go to see the Coen Brothers’ “A Serious Man” on February 21 liable to stick around for Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” afterwards?

Of course, it’s not just offbeat double bills we’re talking about here. With two movies at the Goldwyn every night but as many as six at the Dunn, the schedule can make for some awfully wide-ranging movie days for adventurous Academy members.

On Sunday, for example, voters could start with a pair of foreign films, Israel’s “Ajami” and Agentina’s “The Secret in Their Eyes,” then shift gears for “Transformers,” then see the profane British comedy “In the Loop” and the documentary “Which Way Home.”

The members screenings bump gritty documentaries up against frothy animated features and big movies against little ones, and they produce some odd start times: 8:47, 4:02, 9:18. (That’s because each movie begins 10 minutes after the previous one ends. The Academy is very punctual.)

I’m sorry that the ultimate gastronomic double feature of “Food, Inc.” and “Julie & Julia” never materialized (“J&J” plays after “The Cove” and before “Inglourious Basterds” instead), but the point is hardly to create amusing pairings. It’s to make sure that all the Academy members, or at least the ones with lots of free time, have the opportunity to see every nominee before voting.

(AMPAS members’ screenings are held in New York, San Francisco and London as well, although those focus on the doc, foreign and shorts categories.)

For Academy members, the full schedule follows. SGT is the Samuel Goldwyn Theater; LDT the Linwood Dunn Theater.

Note: these are AMPAS-only screenings.

 

Bright Star

Saturday, February 6
THE MILK OF SORROW   10 am, LDT
THE WHITE RIBBON  11:48 am, LDT
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE  2:30 pm, LDT
SHERLOCK HOLMES  5:13 pm, LDT
AVATAR (3D)  7:00 pm, SGT
THE MESSENGER  9:52 pm, SGT

Sunday, February 7
AJAMI  10 am, LDT
THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES (EL SECRETO DE SUS OJOS)  12:16 pm, LDT
TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN  2:35 pm , LDT
IN THE LOOP  5:15 pm, LDT
WHICH WAY HOME  7 pm, LDT
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG  7 pm, SGT
THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS  8:33 pm, LDT
THE LAST STATION  8:47 pm, SGT

Monday, February 8
A PROPHET (UN PROPHÈTE)  10:00 am, LDT
PARIS 36  2:00 pm, LDT
IL DIVO  4:11 pm, LDT
BURMA VJ  7 pm, LDT
THE SECRET OF KELLS  7 pm, SGT
FOOD, INC.  8:39 pm, LDT
SHERLOCK HOLMES  8:25 pm, SGT

Tuesday, February 9
THE LAST STATION  2 pm, LDT
THE LOVELY BONES  4:02 pm, LDT
AN EDUCATION  7 pm, SGT
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE  8:50 pm, SGT

 

Precious

Wednesday, February 10
CRAZY HEART  2 pm, LDT
THE YOUNG VICTORIA  4:01 pm, LDT
THE COVE  7 pm, LDT
CORALINE (3D)  7 pm, SGT
THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS  8:50 pm, SGT

Thursday, February 11
JULIE & JULIA  2 pm, LDT
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS  4:13 pm, LDT
DOCUMENTARY SHORTS  7 pm, LDT
PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘PUSH’ BY SAPPHIRE  7 pm, SGT
BRIGHT STAR  8:49 pm, SGT

Friday, February 12
UP (3D)  2 pm, LDT
DISTRICT 9  3:46 pm, LDT
THE BLIND SIDE  7 pm, SGT
CRAZY HEART  9:18 pm, SGT

Saturday, February 13
AN EDUCATION  2 pm, LDT
ANIMATED SHORTS  2:30 pm, SGT
THE HURT LOCKER  3:50 pm, LDT
LIVE ACTION SHORTS  3:50 pm, SGT
DOCUMENTARY SHORTS  7 pm, SGT

Sunday, February 14
THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS  2 pm, LDT
WHICH WAY HOME  3:44 pm, LDT
UP IN THE AIR  7 pm, SGT
COCO BEFORE CHANEL  8:59 pm, SGT

Monday, February 15
STAR TREK  2 pm, LDT
INVICTUS  4:17 pm, LDT
ANIMATED SHORTS  7 pm, LDT
LIVE ACTION SHORTS  8:20 pm, LDT
WHICH WAY HOME  7 pm, SGT
THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS  8:33 pm, SGT

Tuesday, February 16
FOOD, INC.  2 pm, LDT
BURMA VJ  3:43 pm, LDT
THE WHITE RIBBON (DAS WEISSE BAND)  7 pm, LDT
THE HURT LOCKER  7 pm, SGT
A SINGLE MAN, 9:20 pm, SGT
THE MILK OF SORROW (LA TETA ASUSTADA)  9:34 pm, LDT

Wednesday, February 17
THE COVE  2 pm, LDT
A SERIOUS MAN  3:40 pm, LDT
THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES (EL SECRETO DE SUS OJOS)  7 pm, LDT
BURMA VJ  7 pm, SGT
FOOD, INC.  8:39 pm, SGT
AJAMI  9:19 pm, LDT

Thursday, February 18
UP IN THE AIR  2 pm, LDT
FANTASTIC MR. FOX  3:59 pm, LDT
A PROPHET (UN PROPHÈTE)  7 pm, LDT
DISTRICT 9  7 pm, SGT
NINE  9:03 pm, SGT

Friday, February 19
THE SECRET OF KELLS  2 pm, LDT
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG  3:25 pm, LDT
THE COVE  7 pm, SGT
JULIE & JULIA  8:40 pm, SGT

Saturday, February 20
LIVE ACTION SHORTS  10 am, LDT
ANIMATED SHORTS  11:44 am, LDT
DOCUMENTARY SHORTS  2 pm, LDT
PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘PUSH’ BY SAPPHIRE  5:24 pm, LDT
UP (3D)  7 pm, SGT
THE YOUNG VICTORIA  8:46 pm, SGT

Sunday, February 21
AVATAR (3D)  2 pm, LDT
THE BLIND SIDE  4:52 pm, LDT
A SERIOUS MAN  7 pm, SGT
TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN  8:55 pm, SGT

Monday, February 22
BRIGHT STAR  2 pm, LDT
NINE  4:09 pm, LDT
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS  7 pm, SGT

Tuesday, February 23
THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS  10 am, LDT
WHICH WAY HOME  11:44 am, LDT
THE WHITE RIBBON (DAS WEISSE BAND)  2 pm, LDT
THE MILK OF SORROW (LA TETA ASUSTADA)  4:34 pm, LDT
INVICTUS  7 pm, SGT
PARIS 36  9:25 pm, SGT

Wednesday, February 24
FOOD, INC.  10 am, LDT
BURMA VJ  11:43 am, LDT
THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES (EL SECRETO DE SUS OJOS)  2 pm, LDT
AJAMI  4:19 pm, LDT
THE MILK OF SORROW (LA TETA ASUSTADA)  7 pm, SGT
THE WHITE RIBBON (DAS WEISSE BAND)  8:48 pm, SGT

Thursday, February 25
THE COVE  10 am, LDT
A PROPHET (UN PROPHÈTE)  2 pm, LDT
A SINGLE MAN  4:45 pm, LDT
AJAMI  7 pm, SGT
THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES (EL SECRETO DE SUS OJOS)  9:16 pm, SGT

Friday, February 26
DOCUMENTARY SHORTS  10 am, LDT
LIVE ACTION SHORTS  2 pm, LDT
ANIMATED SHORTS  3:44 pm, LDT
A PROPHET (UN PROPHÈTE)  7 pm, SGT
THE LOVELY BONES  9:45 pm, SGT

Saturday, February 27
CORALINE (3D)  2 pm, LDT
COCO BEFORE CHANEL  3:50 pm, LDT
STAR TREK  7 pm, SGT
FANTASTIC MR. FOX  9:17 pm, SGT

Sunday, 2/28
THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS  2 pm, LDT
THE MESSENGER  4:12 pm, LDT
IL DIVO  7 pm, SGT
IN THE LOOP  9 pm, SGT