“It's so much better than a YouTube window ... and the audience response is one of the most fun things about it,” he said. “They're all so different — you know, some are horrific and some are hilarious — and you have all of that audience interaction going on.”
He admitted he has a favorite in the animated shorts category — “The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare.”
“I'm rooting for Maggie Simpson,” he said with a laugh. “She's going to the Oscars ... and it's also cool to see some of the independents.”
With the film program's dedication to indie film, Hearn is excited to feature “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” which earned four nominations: best picture, best director for Benh Zeitlin, best actress for young star Quvenzhane Wallis, and best adapted screenplay for Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar.
“It's an indie film success story,” Hearn said. “It proves that independents have a chance and the Oscars aren't just about giant corporate studio films gobbling up all the box office and the awards.”
The lineup also includes the heralded music documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” the stop-motion clay animated film “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” and director Joe Wright's adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's novel “Anna Karenina,” starring Keira Knightley. Hearn even programmed an Oscar-nominated date movie for Feb. 14.
“‘Moonrise Kingdom' on Valentine's Day, that just made sense,” he said. “That was definitely Wes Anderson's best film ever in my opinion, and I was glad he got some Oscar love.”
Although many of the nominated films are already available on DVD, Blu-ray or Video on Demand, Hearn said many cinephiles still want a theatrical experience.
“Since we moved downtown, this is by far the most popular annual thematic screenings that we do. And it's fun for me. I love doing it as a curator,” he said.
“And it's handy for scoring better on those Oscar ballots.”