Tampa Theatre is showcasing some lesser known Oscar nominees

After showcasing this year's leading Oscars contender, Tampa Theatre is pivoting to some of the academy's fringe nominees.

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Steve Persall
, Tampa Bay Times Movie Critic, Tampa Bay Times

After showcasing this year's leading Oscars contender, Tampa Theatre is pivoting to some of the academy's fringe nominees.

The Shape of Water ends its run today, 13 Academy Award nominations richer than when it debuted in December.

That's 12 more than Agnes Varda's latest documentary earned, same as an animated Afghan drama, every nominated short, Sweden's 16th best foreign film finalist and Lebanon's first.

None are coming soon to a theater near you except Tampa Theatre.

Three nominees get one 7:30 p.m. screening only, another gets two, and the shorts will be shown in categorized rotation. Blink and you'll miss an improved chance of winning your Oscars pool.

The crash course begins Friday with Varda's Faces Places, a best documentary feature nominee co-directed by the artist known as JR. Together they travel through France meeting everyday people. Varda captures their stories while JR paints their likenesses in murals.

Win or lose, Varda, 89, gets an honorary Academy Award this year for a career stretching back to the French New Wave.

Sunday brings The Square, a satire of art and outrage from Swedish director Ruben Ostlund. A museum curator (Claes Bang) prepares a controversial exhibit while distracted by a U.S. journalist (Elisabeth Moss) and a cellphone thief.

Monday's offering is Nora Twomey's The Breadwinner, a finalist in the best animated feature competition. It's the story of Parvana (voice of Saara Chaudry), a teenage girl growing up under Taliban oppression. When her father is arrested, Parvana cuts her hair and poses as a boy to support her family in a sexist society.

On Feb. 7 and 8, Tampa Theatre presents The Insult, marking Lebanon's first entry in the best foreign film competition. The neighborhood feud between a Palestinian refugee (Kamel El Basha) and a Lebanese Christian (Adel Karam) escalates to a courtroom media circus.

Tampa Theatre's annual collections of Oscar nominated shorts begin Feb. 9, divided into live action, animated and documentary collections shown in rotation for one week, perhaps longer.

Everything leads up to Tampa Theatre's Hollywood Awards Night on March 4, a red carpet shindig featuring a live broadcast of the 90th Academy Awards. Tickets ($20-$125) are now on sale at tampatheatre.org.

Contact Steve Persall at spersall@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.

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