Annual Academy Screenings lineup is announced |

Annual Academy Screenings lineup is announced

"Birdman" is among the films coming to Aspen for the 23rd annual Academy Screenings.
Courtesy photo |

Aspen Film’s 23rd annual Academy Screenings festival will include 20 films actively campaigning for Oscars this awards season. The screenings will run Dec. 21 to Jan. 2 and are open to both industry professionals and the general public. They include the season’s most talked-about films and award-caliber performances, notable directors and festival prizewinners.

Features include Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher,” for which he won the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival, starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. Julianne Moore stars in the drama “Still Alice,” and Jake Gyllenhaal leads “Nichtcrawler,” an unsettling thriller about the dark side of Los Angeles local TV news. Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep and her daughter, Grace Gummer, join Tommy Lee Jones ­— who also directs — in “The Homesman,” a journey of survival on the Western frontier. Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice” brings the first adaption of a Thomas Pynchon novel to the big screen, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon and Josh Brolin. And the animated adventure “The Lego Movie” features the voices of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman.

Among the directors whose films are garnering serious award attention are Clint Eastwood for his affecting military drama “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller; Rob Marshall for the fairytale musical “Into the Woods,” starring James Cordon, Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep, with a screenplay by James Lapine and music by Stephen Sondheim; and J.C. Chandor for “A Most Violent Year,” which screened at this fall’s Aspen Filmfest. Tim Burton directs Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams in “Big Eyes,” an outrageous true story of one of the most epic art frauds in history; and Alejandro G. Inarritu directs the razor-sharp Broadway satire “Birdman,” starring Michael Keaton, Ed Norton, Naomi Watts and Emma Stone. Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking coming-of-age story “Boyhood,” starring Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane, also will screen during the Aspen Film series.

True stories and biographical pictures in the lineup include Ava DuVernay’s inspiring “Selma,” the Jeremy Renner-starring “Kill the Messenger” and the Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything.” The documentaries included at Academy Screenings will be Steve James’ “Life Itself,” about film critic Roger Ebert, and the Cold War hockey documentary “Red Army.”

Festival-circuit entries include “Whiplash,” Damien Chazelle’s adrenaline-fueled jazz drama that won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. “Force Majeure,” a Jury Prize winner at Cannes, is the Swedish entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. And the World War II thriller “The Imitation Game,” a hit with festival audiences across North America and at the Aspen Filmfest, features an all-star cast led by Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.

“Aspen Film’s Academy Screenings offers a special opportunity for members of the film industry and general audiences to see a concentration of films both in release and previews of the most anticipated films of the year in a festival atmosphere,” Aspen Film Co-Director Laura Thielen said in the program announcement. “From festival award-winners to star-studded performances as well as the latest from esteemed directors to a number of true stories, there is something for everyone. Aspen is one of few places in the country where one can access such a wide array of films actively campaigning for Oscar nomination.”

Tickets will go on sale to the general public Dec. 10 at the Wheeler Opera House box office and online at Voting members of the American Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and associated guilds are invited to RSVP to Aspen Film directly at or 970-306-0662.

The complete schedule, with film descriptions and trailers, was scheduled to go online this morning at http://www.aspen

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