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Speed Cinema Shows Oscar-Nominated Films

After spending last year virtually, the Speed Art Museum is screening Oscar-nominated short films in person again

By Lane Levitch Photos provided by Speed Art Museum Millions of Americans tune in to watch the Oscars every year. However, most of us haven’t seen a film outside our home in what seems like forever. The Speed Cinema is back to screening films in person, and a new COVID policy has been in place since mid-October, such as proof of vaccination or negative COVID test within 72 hours. This year Oscar nominations are announced on Feb. 8, with the ceremony on Mar. 27. The Speed Cinema will screen Oscar-nominated short films for Animation, Live Action and Documentary categories from Feb. 25 through Mar. 6. The Curator of Film at the Speed Art Museum, Dean Otto, has several predictions on which films will take home the gold. What films are currently showing that were shortlisted? What were they shortlisted for? We have several Oscar shortlisted films that have played or will play at the Speed Cinema. Upcoming, we have Flee (Best Feature Documentary and Best International Feature Film, screening Feb. 11-13) and The Worst Person in the World (Best International Feature Film, screening Feb. 5). Do you have a favorite film that’s currently showing? Flee is one of my favorites. I also think it will get nominated for Best Animated Film too. It’s a story of a young Afghan boy who traveled to Denmark as an unaccompanied minor. He was a refugee. Because you don’t have any footage of that trip since it was 30 years ago, the director decided to tell the story using audio recording and work with an animator to depict what was going on. It’s a fascinating way to overcome a real challenge in making a documentary. It’s alluring to mix animation with documentary, creating a compelling film. What does award season mean to you? It brings attention to really great cinema. Many films wouldn’t get the same type of attention if there weren’t these awards. A lot of people wait until the awards season for the nominations to come out and say, “I’m going to use this as my guide to what I’m going to see because I don’t want my time to be wasted.” Film is a time-based medium, so it’s going to take some time, you’re going to need to devote two or three hours to something, and you want that to be worthwhile. Do you think the pandemic has shifted the way films are made? It’s thrown the whole film exhibition industry into a dire situation. We saw several films that were shot during the pandemic, one of the best ones was The Power of the Dog, which is now streaming on Netflix. The Speed Cinema screened it for two weeks before it was available for streaming. The whole cast and crew flew to New Zealand, quarantined, then shot the entire film in a bubble. The director was at the first U.S. screening, and when the movie ended, we were all just speechless. Everyone was stunned. It’s a film that plays great dividends to see it projected in a cinema. There’s so much work that went into the cinematography and sound design for that film that I don’t think you’re going to get if you watch it on your phone or tablet. I think that will probably take a number of the top prizes such as Best Actor to Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Kirsten Dunst will definitely be nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Speed Art Museum 2035 S 3rd St. Louisville, KY 40208 502.634.2700 speedmuseum.org

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