Want to see some celebrities? Aspen’s Academy Screenings have you covered | AspenTimes.com

Want to see some celebrities? Aspen’s Academy Screenings have you covered

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Jose HaroAlejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Biutiful," starring Javier Bardem, shows later this month in Aspen Film's Academy

ASPEN – Celebrity stalkers coming to Aspen over the holidays can wander town in hopes of catching glimpses of Jack, Goldie and Mariah. But serious film lovers can bank on seeing the best actors doing the year’s finest work on the big screen in Aspen.

Aspen Film’s Academy Screenings series will present 18 films, all considered contenders for the Academy Awards, between Dec. 22 and Jan. 1. Each film gets one screening, all but two scheduled for Harris Hall. With no overlap in the screenings, it is possible for the most ambitious cinephile to catch the entire series. As a bonus, a handful of the films are not scheduled to open in general release until after the new year, giving moviegoers in Aspen a chance to be on the leading edge of the Oscar buzz.

Among the leading awards contenders included in the series are “The King’s Speech,” which earned the Audience Award at Aspen Filmfest in October and is up for eight British Independent Film Awards; “True Grit,” starring last year’s Best Actor winner, Jeff Bridges; and “Biutiful,” starring the 2008 Best Supporting Actor, Javier Bardem.

Also in the spotlight at Academy Screenings are Robert Duvall, who stars in the period drama “Get Low”; Ryan Gosling, for his role in the gritty romance “Blue Valentine”; Sally Hawkins, who leads a strong female cast in the British film “Made in Dagenham”; and Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, both featured in supporting roles in the boxing film “The Fighter.”

“The King’s Speech” stars Colin Firth as King George VI, attempting to overcome a debilitating stutter, with the help of a speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. “True Grit,” the Joel and Ethan Coen’s remake of the 1969 Western, stars Bridges as the stumbling U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn. “Biutiful,” by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, stars Bardem as a troubled man who uses his relationship with his daughter to pull himself back to life.

Also featured in the series: “Fair Game,” a dramatic telling of the real-life espionage saga of CIA agent Valerie Plame, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn; “Inside Job,” an analytic documentary of the economic collapse; “Barney’s Version,” starring Paul Giamatti as an irascible TV producer on a stroll down his personal memory lane; and “Rabbit Hole,” starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as a suburban couple trying to recapture their once happy lives.

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Also: “Casino Jack,” inspired by the true story of crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff, with Kevin Spacey in the title role; “Another Year,” a warm drama by British writer-director Mike Leigh; director Peter Weir’s “The Way Back,” based on Slavomir Rawicz’s memoir of his escape from a Siberian gulag in 1940; and “The Company Men,” a drama of corporate downsizing, starring Ben Affleck.

Rounding out the program: “The Illusionist,” an animated film about an aging magician feeling threatened by new forms of entertainment; “The Tempest,” director Julie Taymor’s adaptation of the Shakespeare play, starring Helen Mirren as Prospera; and “Somewhere,” Sofia Coppola’s examination of celebrity, and winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Tickets for Academy Screenings go on sale Dec. 13 at the Wheeler Opera House’s Aspen Show Tickets (aspenshowtix.com). For full program details, including screening dates and times, go to aspenfilm.org.

stewart@aspentimes.com

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