An Education in Moving Pictures

The Academy Awards are upon us.  Like St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland or Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Oscar weekend takes over the city of Los Angeles in a joyous display of self-congratulations.  Don’t get me wrong, being from Los Angeles makes it actually required (I believe it’s legally binding) that I watch and enjoy all that the Oscars have to offer each year.  Going into the final stretch before the big show, I feel an annual commitment to seeing all, or most, of the nominated films so that when yelling at the TV, I will be doing so with educated qualms.  The American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood seems to have similar obligations, which must be why they are setting all of us up this week with a number of programs to get us good and ready for Sunday evening’s broadcast.

Before taking a look at this week’s programs, let’s just be clear – there are ten films up for Best Picture this year.  See whichever ones you feel drawn to; ten is a lot.  If, for example, you feel like you’ve seen District 9 once you finish the trailer, save your $10 or go see The Hurt Locker again.  Don’t be hard on yourself if you haven’t seen them all, I’d bet that there really are only 5 contenders anyway.

Over at the Egyptian Theatre, though, your pre-Oscar education can get underway with Fridat evenings show of Oscar-Nominated Short Films – Animated and Live Action.  You’ll get a chance to see shorts like “The Lady and the Reaper,” “A Matter of Loaf and Death,” “French Roast,” “Instead of Abracadabra,” and my personal favorite “The New Tenants.”

Head back into Hollywood on Saturday morning at 10am (no whining, this is Oscar weekend – we’ve got to get you in shape!) for their Invisible Art, Visible Artists panel with the Oscar-Nominated editors of Avatar, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, and Precious.  Stop off for lunch somewhere nearby, but don’t stray too far.  The panel with Oscar-Nominated Art Directors begins at 2:30pm and will give you the chance to discuss your ideas for set design with those creative minds behind The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Avatar, Nine, Sherlock Holmes, and The Young Victoria.

You’re all set and squared away.  You should feel very capable of making some educated bets – not that we encourage gambling… much.  Here’s to the Oscars – LA’s version of a national holiday.  (Good luck making a reservation just about anywhere in town this week, too.)

Click here to check out the Egyptian Theatre’s full calendar of events.

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