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28th Annual Academy Screenings Offers Sneak Peek Into Several Potential Oscar Contenders

Jan 2, 2020

Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, John Lithgow, and Margot Robbie star in "Bombshell," a look inside the most powerful and controversial media empire of all time. Based on the real scandal, "Bombshell" tells the story of the women who brought down the infamous man who created Fox News. Directed by Jay Roach and written by Charles Randolph, the film opens Aspen Film's 28th annual Academy Screenings.
Credit Aspen Film

At the 28th annual Academy Screenings, which run Saturday through Tuesday, Aspen audiences can catch films likely to be Oscar contenders this year.

The festival opens Saturday with “Bombshell,” starring Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie as news anchors who came forward about sexual harassment by Fox News creator Roger Ailes.

While that hit theatres in December, Aspen Film’s executive and artistic director Susan Wrubel says Academy Screenings offers an early look at a number of other films. 

"We try to get as many films as we can that have not been out in the marketplace already," she said.  

Those include the World War 1 epic “1917” and “Just Mercy,” a look at racial bias in the American legal system starring Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan. 

A scene from "Just Mercy," the true story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his history-making battles for justice in Alabama. The film closes out this year's Academy Screenings.
Credit Aspen Film

The festival moved dates this year. In the past, it’s been held between Christmas and New Years Day. 

Wrubel says the change in schedule was driven by how crowded with events the holidays have become. 

"We just decided to try it out. I know from locals and second homeowners who stay for six weeks, they’re thrilled because they’ve said, there’s way too much going on, we can never make it to screenings," she said.

She says Aspen Film has heard from others who aren’t as pleased with the shift to the New Year and that the organization will gather input via a survey after the festival’s conclusion. 

This year’s Academy Screenings offers an array of buzzy films like “Uncut Gems,” starring Adam Sandler, as well as foreign language films and documentaries. Screenings take place at the Wheeler Opera House and Isis Theatre in Aspen.