You won’t be able to reach me this weekend, because I don’t pick up my phone in movie theaters. And that’s where I’ll be. All weekend.
Since 2007, select AMC theaters have shown every film nominated for the year’s best picture Oscar the day before the Academy Awards ceremony. This year, I’ll be joining the sellout crowd at AMC Georgetown to test my own movie-watching stamina.
Back when this madness started, there were only five nominees for best picture. With nine up for the ultimate trophy this year (since 2009, the academy has allowed five to 10 nominees), the 2014 AMC Best Picture Showcase is nearly a 24-hour experience.
The total running time for this year’s nominees is 16 hours and 39 minutes, but the Showcase is much longer, thanks to a few between-movie breaks. The final film, “Captain Phillips,” kicks off at 5:25 a.m. on Sunday, more than 19 hours after the 10 a.m. Saturday start; given the Tom Hanks film’s 134-minute running time, I should stagger out around 7:40 a.m. The last time I was up all night I had a 10-pound, 2-ounce baby and a C-section scar to show for it. This time I get a commemorative lanyard that gains me re-entry after the breaks.
“We want to make sure the guests have an opportunity to get up and stretch their legs,” says Ryan Noonan, director of public relations for AMC Theatres, by which I think he means “run to the nearest bar for multiple shots of their liquor of choice.” Marathoners also get a one-hour dinner break between “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “American Hustle,” so we don’t have to subsist on popcorn and Junior Mints alone.
Unless we want to. “We keep our concessions menu going,” Noonan says, “so if in the middle of the night you want to get some chicken strips, you can.” Noonan, who completed the challenge in 2011, when 10 films were nominated, offered me some tips. “Come prepared,” he says. “People bring pillows and blankets. Wear comfortable clothes and comfortable shoes.
“It’s something amazing, but it’s also a challenge,” he says. “It is great, but you’re talking about a lot of time watching movies.”
To experience Kristen’s inevitable descent into madness during the Best Picture Showcase, follow her at @kpagekirby. She promises not to tweet during the movies because that’s rude.
AMC Loews Georgetown 14, 3111 K St. NW; Sat., 10 a.m., sold out; 202-342-6033, amctheatres.com.