A marathon, or a series of sprints?
That’s the decision movie fans may find themselves confronting as they race to see all nine Best Picture nominees before the Academy Awards are handed out on March 4.
The good news is, there’s more opportunity than ever to see these flicks the way the Movie Gods intended -- on the big screen, clutching a gigantic tub o’ over-buttered popcorn while surrounded by hundreds of strangers. Yes, despite the fact that one of the nominees (Phantom Thread”) has barely gone into wide release yet and another (“Get Out”) got into theaters nearly a year ago (it was released on Feb. 24, 2017).
The even better news this year is that two theater chains are offering two very different options for seeing all the nominated films.
First, there’s the marathon method: That would be AMC Theater’s incredibly popular, albeit demanding “Best Picture Showcase.” Now in its 13th year, the annual event takes place on the two Saturdays leading up to the live Academy Awards telecast. The nominees for best picture are shown back-to-back-to-etc. at select AMC multiplexes around the country, including three in metro Atlanta: AMC Parkway Pointe in Atlanta, AMC Sugarloaf Mills 18 in Lawrenceville and AMC Avenue Forsyth 12 in Cumming.
Related video: 2018 top Oscars nominations
The number of best picture nominees varies annually from a minimum of five to a maxium of ten. Almost as interesting as seeing what gets nominated is seeing what order AMC decides to screen them in. Including this year’s lineup:
On Feb. 24: “Phantom Thread” at 10:30 a.m., followed by “Lady Bird,” “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri” and concluding with “The Shape of Water.” The total running time, AMC helpfully informs us, is 9 hours, 33 minutes.
On March 3: It’s ”Dunkirk”at 10:30 a.m., followed by (what else?) “Darkest Hour, “ “Call Me By Your Name,” “The Post,” and wrapping up with the aptly named “Get Out.” Total running time this day is a whopping 11 hours, 29 minutes.
Tickets are $30 for each day and can be purchased in advance at amctheatres.com. To read more about the Best Picture Marathon, including what it’s like to actually sit through it in an Atlanta theater, go here.
But if you don’t have the time (or tush-y muscles) to sit through five consecutive movies, there’s another option this year: The Regal Best Picture Film Festival Pass will let you see all nine best picture nominees for just $35 and sort of at your own pace.
Here’s how it works: The festival runs from February 23 through March 4 at select Regal theaters around the country, including eight in metro Atlanta (see the complete list of participating theaters here).
All of the movies run at least four times or more during that period. You don’t have to see all the movies on the same day, or even at the same theater: Once you purchase the festival pass you can put together your own schedule -- for instance, see “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri” at 1 p.m. on Feb. 24 at Regal Perimeter Pointe Stadium 10 in Atlanta, then catch “Phantom Thread” at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the Regal Avalon 12 in Alpharetta, then hit the Regal Medlock Crossing Stadium 18 in Johns Creek at 10 p.m. on March 2 to see “Lady Bird.” (The complete festival movie timetable can be found here).
Think of it as a series of sprints. Or, if you prefer, the a la carte method of consuming all the nominated films in smaller bites.
Festival passes can only be purchased on the Regal Mobile App, which is available in the App Store or on Google Play.