In an earlier era, movie buffs often planned snack and restroom breaks during the presentation of the short film Oscars on the annual Academy Awards TV broadcast from Los Angeles. These days, however, there is no excuse for being in the dark concerning the quality of the nominees for best live-action, animated and documentary short films.
Shorts HD has found great success with an annual theatrical presentation of the competing films, and "The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2014" will open in more than 250 theaters nationwide on Friday, Jan. 31, and an additional 400 theaters are slated to screen the package of films before Oscar night Sunday, March 2. In this area, the shorts collection will open on Friday, Jan. 31, at the Criterion Cinemas, New Haven; and Real Art Ways, Hartford; and will be screened on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 1, 2, and Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Avon Theatre, Stamford.
The Fairfield Theatre Company is showing the Oscar nominated shorts on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 3, 4, and Monday, Feb. 10. The Bethel Cinema is set to screen the films on Wednesday, Feb. 12, and Wednesday, Feb. 26.
The Palace in Danbury will be screening the shorts on March 1. The contenders will be introduced on screen by past Oscar winners and a number of renowned filmmakers who have made their mark in short films.
For the live action nominees the hosts include: Shawn Christensen ("Curfew"), Matthew Modine ("Full Metal Jacket"), Tom Vaughan ("What Happens in Vegas"), Peter Webber ("Girl with a Pearl Earring"), Jim Field Smith ("She's Out of My League") and Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine ("Inocente").
For the documentary shorts, the hosts include: Lucy Walker ("Waste Land"), Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, Eva Orner ("Taxi to the Dark Side"), Peter Webber and Shawn Christensen.
The animated shorts will be hosted by one of the high-diving giraffes from YouTube and his ostrich buddy in a special commission by the Paris-based studio Cube Creative and Nicolas Deveaux.
This year's nominated shorts originate from all parts of the globe, including Japan, the United Kingdom, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Spain, Finland, Yemen, Canada and the United States.
Last year, the Oscar nominated shorts theatrical package was one of the most successful independent film releases in the country, grossing $2,175,000, up 28 percent from the previous year, and more than 800 percent since the concept originated a decade ago.
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For more information on the films and the local venues, visit http://shorts.tv/theoscarshorts.