Free Popcorn Oscar Nominees

I was trying to figure out why this family of four had brought in some throws and pillows to my local AMC movie theatre yesterday. The kids were in tow, too, and they seemed just as eager as their parents to go see…..”Cop Out”? “Tooth Fairy”? It couldn’t be. When I looked closer at the displays, it turns out they (and quite a few others) were queueing up for AMC Theatre’s annual tribute to this year’s Academy Award Best Picture nominees.AMC Popcorn FREEBIE

Select AMC theatres all around the country are showing back-to-back films in their auditoriums this weekend and next. This is a great way to finally see those films that will be honored next Sunday night in Hollywood, especially because some of the films are no longer in the movie theaters in the first place.

What makes this year so interesting, both for the Oscars and for the annual AMC event, is that there are 10, count ‘em 10, nominees and AMC has created a special program schedule for movie-goers who are eager to see their special film. Tickets went on sale last February 12, but there are still some seats left for many of the films.

Here is the official list of Best Picture nominees:

•    Avatar
•    The Blind Side
•    District 9
•    An Education
•    The Hurt Locker
•    Inglourious Basterds
•    Precious based on a novel by Sapphire
•    A Serious Man
•    Up
•    Up in the Air

My money’s on “The Hurt Locker” because it’s an incredibly intense and artfully-constructed film –a war film without any politics but filled with a lot of humanity. It has also been nominated for a total of 9 awards, more than any other and has won a lion’s share of critics’ awards this season. Not only did Kathryn Bigelow win the Director’s Guild award recently –a bellweather for Best Picture almost always—but if she wins the Best Director award (as she is expected to do) she would be the first woman to nab this ever.

The Hurt Locker

The other favorite would be “Avatar”, not just for the technical skill but because the Academy likes to sometimes reward a film that has brought in a truckload of cash. The  darkhorse would be “Basterds” but only because Miramax has mounted a clever “upset” campaign, much like “Shakespeare in Love” that pulled the rug under the heavily-favored “Saving Private Ryan” in 1999. It could happen, but we don’t think so.

Avatar Oscar Nominee

Finally, we’re glad that such a smart and clever film like “An Education”, with a luminous and touching performance by Carey Mulligan, is getting the attention it deserves. We were thrilled at every moment of “District 9”, last year’s best political sci-fi film, and marveled at the timely but moving document that “Up In the Air” was, but we wish the Academy hadn’t plumbed the depths of maudlin feel-goodery by including “The Blind Side” among this august list.

District 9 Oscar Nominee

OK, so what’s the freebie part? We’ll get to that in a minute. First, here is the list of participating AMC theatres that are participating in this promotion:

Yes, this started on Saturday, but there’s still time to prepare for next Saturday (March 6). The catch is that you have to pay for the day of movies, which starts at about $30 (or $25 if you’re an AMC Movie Watch member).

Here are the pricing details:

Program Information 
Double the films also means more ways to enjoy the showcase!  

Standard Ticketing Options:
- Two-Day Pass - Online: $60
- Two-Day Pass - Box Office: $50
- One-Day Pass (February 27 or March 6) - Online and Box Office: $30

MovieWatcher Ticketing Options:
- Two-Day Pass - Box Office: $40
- One-Day Pass (February 27 or March 6) - Box Office: $25

Outside food and beverage will not be allowed for all events.  But, we’ll take care of you with a Free Large Popcorn and unlimited refills.

Wait, back up: did you read that last sentence? Yes, it’s free large popcorn with unlimited refills. See, we told you there was something free here! In fact, I think AMC still has those self-serve butter pumps so you can squirt, squirt, squirt to your heart’s desire before you grab those Red Vines and head back in their for “Up” in 3D. What a cool deal!

AMC Popcorn Theater

Last, we want to mention something for true die-hard people –OK, lunatics—but AMC wants you to have the opportunity to attend a 24-hour marathon of ALL the 10 Best Picture nominees back-to-back, and therefore you can brag to everyone that 1) you are a movie fan without equals or 2) you have no life on weekends. Only five theatres in North America will let crazy people in to do this –in LA, Chicago, Manhattan, Washington DC and Toronto.

Here is the schedule for the marathon, which begins at 12:01 am next Saturday:

24-Hour Marathon Show Schedule

12:01AM:  AVATAR 3D
3:00AM:   A Serious Man
5:00AM:   Up 3D
7:00AM:  District 9
9:10AM:  Inglourious Basterds
12:00PM: The Blind Side
2:30PM:   An Education
4:30PM:   Precious
7:00PM:   Up in the Air
9:30PM:  The Hurt Locker

For some pictures of last weekend’s AMC “Best Picture Showcase” event, follow this link to a Facebook page.

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