Get in gear for Oscar season
February 26, 2010
Destiny Grose saw 42 movies during the Sundance Film Festival, but now her attention is fixated on a different set of cinematic masterpieces.
Grose and her fellow co-directors of the Park City Film Series, George Dymalski and Libby Wadman, recently announced an Oscar-themed lineup of films that will screen at the Park City Library over the next two months.
Grose says the trio made their own short list and booked the spring calendar before they knew which actors and films would be nominated for Academy Awards. When the nominees were announced earlier this month, they had to give themselves a pat on the back.
The spring docket includes two of the Best Picture nominees, five of the films featuring Leading Actor/Actress nominees, four of the films featuring Supporting Actor/Actress nominees, and several films with numerous nominations in both the major and more obscure categories.
"This is a chance for people to get caught up," says Grose. "It makes the Oscars more interesting when you know that someone’s won and then you can go see their performance on the big screen."
Below, Grose provides a rundown of the upcoming screenings and shares why those who frequent the Film Series will be fully equipped when it comes to Oscar talk:
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The first selection on the calendar, a nominee for both Art Direction and Costume Design, is a must-see for fans of the late Heath Ledger. A heartwarming sidebar, says Grose, is that the actors who stepped in for Ledger after his death Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell donated their salaries to his young daughter Matilda.
The Film Series, in conjunction with Summit Land Conservancy, will host a night of eco-minded short films that run the gamut from beach erosion to the downstream adventures of a pair of cornfield owners. The night will begin with live music by Rich Wyman and an opportunity to browse the Eco-Fair, followed by the films at 7 p.m. "I think it’s really important that besides just showing fun films, we do things that raise awareness," says Grose.
The absence of Pedro Almodóvar’s latest film from the Best Foreign Language Film category has been lamented by many as a "Oscar snub." However, the film still has some relevance to the award show with Penelope Cruz, who is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Nine."
This documentary covers the 2009 Leadville Trail 100-mile bike race and features elite and amateur cyclists including Lance Armstrong and Dave Wiens. A must-see for cycling enthusiasts, "It should get everyone going for mountain-biking season," says Grose.
Grose has been gunning to get this film on the calendar since she saw it during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. It’s a documentary about a Slovenian man who swims the rivers of the world. He also happens to be rather overweight, in his fifties, and an avid red wine guzzler. "It’s very, very fascinating," says Grose.
These aren’t your typical surf/snowboard films. "Walking On Water" tells the story of a pair of young surfers who find faith on the journey of a lifetime. The director, professional surfer Bryan Jennings, started Walking On Water as a Christian nonprofit in 1995 with the vision of using his surfing abilities to share his faith with young people.
"ONEYEAR" provides a look at the lifestyles at some of the world’s top snowboarders, including Vancouver bronze medalist Kelly Clark. The film covers a yearlong adventure that reveals what really matters and makes sense in the hearts of the athletes. Both films feature a litany of pro athletes, and the screening boasts the potential for some special guests.
One of the lesser-known Best Picture nominees, "An Education" premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. It features Leading Actress nominee Carey Mulligan opposite Peter Sarsgaard, and rounds out its three Oscar nods with an Adapted Screenplay nomination for writer Nick Hornby.
Colin Firth, Grose’s personal preference for Best Actor, plays a gay man in the early 1960s who must hide his grief over the death of his lover. "I’ve always loved him and thought he’s a great actor," she says.
Another Best Picture nominee, "Up In the Air" has six total Oscar nominations, including George Clooney’s Best Actor nod and Supporting Actress nominations for both Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. "I have heard on the rumor circuit that it could win best picture because Avatar and Hurt Locker could split the votes and it could sneak in. You never know," says Grose.
Jeff Bridges’ depiction of a washed-up country-western singer earns him Grose’s Oscar prediction for Best Actor. "People really think that this is the role of a lifetime for him," she says. "He was unrecognizable in a way, and that’s always good for an actor." Maggie Gyllenhaal also earned Oscar recognition for her supporting role as a young journalist who falls for Bridges’ character.
Grose is especially proud of her premonitions about Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer, who were both nominated based on their performances in this film about Russian author Leo Tolstoy. "That was lucky on my part," she says. "It also has James McAvoy, who isn’t unfortunate to look upon."
Aside from its Oscar features, Grose says the Park City Film Series team is constantly considering small changes to improve its community draw. A recent example is making healthier choices in popcorn-popping by using 100 percent canola oil. "Commercial theatres are commercial theatres. You have to have that local touch," she says. "I think the little changes like make us different than everybody else."
All screenings are held at the Jim Santy Auditorium, located on the second floor of the Park City Library. Regular weekend screening times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays. Tickets for regular screenings are $7 for adults or $6 for students and seniors. A 10-pass punch card is $50. Prices for special screenings are listed online. Tickets may be purchased online or at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 5 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 615-8291 or visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.com . To get insiders’ tips, see movie trailers and engage in viewer discussions, become a fan of the Park City Film Series on Facebook.