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Where To See All The Oscar-Nominated Shorts On The Big Screen

By Joel Wicklund in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 27, 2016 8:00PM

Image from “Last Day of Freedom.” (Picture courtesy ShortsHD.)

In an era of viral videos and shorter attention spans, you would think short films would be enjoying a golden age. In a way they are, as economical technology allows countless more people to make them and the internet offers immediate distribution. Yet most short films attract a very limited audience and are somehow still unfairly viewed as the minor leagues of the industry.

So a theatrical showcase for short films is always welcome and, thankfully, the annual release of the Oscar-nominated shorts has become increasingly popular. This year's slate of nominees will show at multiple theaters: three within city limits and several suburban venues. There are separate presentations for Animated, Live Action and Documentary shorts.

In the Animated category, Don Hertzfeldt's World of Tomorrow has definitely received the most buzz, winning awards at Sundance, South by Southwest and many other festivals, along with widespread critical acclaim.

The Live Action category seems to reflect the Academy's frequent bias for films about war or social issues, though the trailer for British short Stutterer has a melancholy vibe that stands apart from the other snippets we've seen.

The Documentary nominees are also naturally very issues-oriented, though the use of animation to tell a tragic, true story about crime, punishment and PTSD makes Last Day of Freedom especially intriguing.

Starting this Friday, Jan. 29, Landmark's Century Centre Cinema hosts the Animated and Live Action programs for weeklong runs. The theater is alternating showtimes for the programs, so you can catch them back to back. Both programs will also show at Cinemark's Century 12/CineArts 6 in Evanston beginning Feb. 26 (the weekend of the awards), and AMC's River East 21, Village Crossing 18 in Skokie, and South Barrington 30 (opening dates TBA). Two showings at the charming and historic single-screen Catlow Theater in downtown Barrington have already sold out, but check their website for possible added screenings.

Beginning Friday, Feb. 5, the Music Box hosts two separate programs of the nominated Documentary Shorts. Showtimes have not been announced, but you can count on multiple showings for both programs. The Music Box is definitely your best bet for the docs program anywhere near the city limits, as the next-closest regional venues showing it are in Batavia, Oswego and Portage, Indiana.

If the big screen showings aren't convenient, ShortsHD will also be making all the films available through multiple video-on-demand and online platforms on Feb. 23. Those outside of the Chicago area can find other theaters showing the three programs across the country here.