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Aspen Academy screenings for 19 features


Strong performances, award-winning films and directors highlight program.

Aspen Filmfest announces the line-up for its 13th annual Academy Screenings, a holiday movie extravaganza of the movies everyone will be talking about at Oscar time. Running December 21st to January 2nd, this year¹s program features 19 titles in a program that showcases the best films of the year, and technical achievements in direction, production and performance.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
In America
The Human Stain
Cold Mountain
The Company
Calendar Girls
Big Fish
The Statement
Fog of War
The Barbarian Invasions
Monsieur Ibrahim
Veronica Guerin
The Triplets of Belleville
21 Grams
Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Station Agent
Shattered Glass
The Cooler

Although an officially sanctioned screening venue for voting members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and associated guilds, Aspen Filmfest Academy Screenings are open to the public.

The Academy won¹t be handing out their little statues until February 29th, but the awards season is already in full swing and many of the titles in the Academy Screenings program are already winners. The New York Film Critics Circle has named The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as its pick for Best Picture, and The Triplets of Belleville Best Animated Film for 2003. The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures has named The Station Agent, Cold Mountain, and In America amongst its picks for top ten films of the year. Also according to the Board of Review, The Barbarian Invasions and Monsieur Ibrahim (starring Omar Sharif) are among the top five foreign films of the year, and The Fog of War (a profile of Robert McNamara also short-listed for Oscar) tops the group¹s list of top five documentaries. The IFP Independent Spirit Awards will be decided just one night before the Oscars, but nominations are already in. Shattered Glass is being considered in a number of categories, including Best Feature and Best Screenplay.

Also highlighting the upcoming Aspen Filmfest Academy Screenings program are the latest films from well-known directors. Veteran filmmaker Norman Jewison (The Hurricane, Moonstruck) gets strong performances from a cast including Michael Caine and Tilda Swinton in the contemporary political thriller The Statement. With In America, director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father) tells a poignant and funny story of an Irish immigrant family¹s dreams. Tim Burton (Batman, Edward Scissorhands) uses his flair for the fantastic to spin a tale of a father and son seeking understanding in Big Fish. And award-winning maverick filmmaker Robert Altman (Gosford Park) explores the world within a ballet company in The Company.

This year¹s program also features a number of films showcasing what are being hailed as exceptional performances. Cate Blanchett in the title role of Veronica Guerin, Alec Baldwin and William H. Macy in the Vegas tale The Cooler, Gwyneth Paltrow and Blythe Danner in real-life mother/daughter roles in Sylvia, Sean Penn and Benicio DelToro in the gripping and suspenseful 21 Grams, and Scarlett Johansson in a role that brings art to life in Girl with a Pearl Earring are just a few of the strong performances creating Oscar buzz.


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