San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Which Oscar-nominated films are coming to Costa Rica?

See a complete list of the 2012 Oscar nominees.

See movie showtimes at Costa Rican cinemas.

Costa Ricans will not have to wait long to see this year’s top Oscar nominees. Frontrunners “The Artist,” “The Descendants” and “Hugo” will arrive in local theaters in upcoming weeks.  

The Academy Awards announced its finalists for the film industry’s most prestigious honors Tuesday morning. The Oscars will be handed out Feb. 26. 

But Costa Rica residents can see most of the favorites before that date. Award-season hype has production companies seeking more international audiences.

“A lot of films they bring faster because of the nominations, so that people get to see them before [the Oscars], if it’s possible,” said Anabelle Carcheri, of film distributor Romaly.  

Most mainstream films do make it to Costa Rica, Carcheri said, while documentaries and independent films are harder to come by.

Eight of the nine best picture nominees currently are scheduled for Costa Rican theaters or have already played here. More Oscar-nominated films potentially could make their way to Costa Rica as the award season intensifies. 

Baseball drama and best picture nominee “Moneyball” (“Juego de fortuna”) is currently in theaters. “Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen’s ode to France’s capital, received a fall release, and is no longer in theaters. The only best picture nominee not scheduled for Costa Rica is “Tree of Life,” a multi-generational epic starring Brad Pitt (who received a Best Actor nomination for “Moneyball”). “Tree of Life” did not receive a wide-release in the United States.

Even art-house selections like the silent film “The Artist,” and the Cold War thriller with the obfuscate name “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” have Costa Rican release dates.

However, production companies often send limited prints for these lesser-known pictures. The audience and number of screens available determine where the films will play. 

An independent movie has a better chance of playing in Nova Cinemas in Escazú and Paseo de las Flores in Heredia, or on one of the 15 screens at Terramall in Curridabat, Carcheri said, than in San José’s Cinepolis Desamparados, a theater with limited screens that often show family films, comedies and action flicks. 

For example, “The Artist” will arrive with six prints, and Carcheri – who has “The Artist” atop her “must watch” list – plans to catch it no matter where it plays.

 “I think it’s very different,” Carcheri said. “Nothing like that has come out in years.”

A Look at the Films

Friday: “The Descendants” (“Los descendientes”): This dysfunctional-family drama earned nominations for best picture, best director, best actor (George Clooney … swoon) and several other categories.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (“La chica del dragon tatuado”): A suspense tale based on the Swedish novels earned lead Rooney Mara a nomination for best actress.

Feb. 3: No Oscar movies. Instead we get three universally slammed films: “Devil Inside” (“Con el diablo adentro”), “Man on a Ledge” (“Al borde del abismo”), Adam Sandler cross-dressing comedy “Jack and Jill,” and “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island in 3D” (“Viaje 2: La isla misteriosa”), which hasn’t been released in the United States yet either, but with a title like that, it’s fair to assume it won’t be garnering any gold statues.

Feb. 10: “The Artist” (“El artista”): The black-and-white “love letter” to the silent-film era picked up 10 nominations including best picture.

“War Horse” (“Caballo de guerra”): Directed by Steven Spielberg, this story of a boy and his horse during World War I is a best picture nominee.

Feb. 17: “Hugo”: Martin Scorsese’s family film about a 12-year-old’s life inside a Paris train station led all movies with 11 nominees. 

Feb. 24: “The Iron Lady” (“La dama de hierro”): Meryl Streep earned her record 17th nomination for this biopic on Margaret Thatcher. It opens the same week as this year’s first release by a Costa Rican filmmaker, the apocalyptic “El Fin.” 

March 2: “The Help” (“Historias cruzadas”): The movie about an author writing on the lives of black maids working for white families during the civil rights movement scored best picture and three acting nominations.

“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”: Panned by critics, this 9/11 film starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock was a surprise best picture nominee.

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (“El espía que sabía demasiado”): Beloved character actor Gary Oldman earns his first Oscar nomination (best actor) for this Cold War spy thriller.

“Shame”: Considered this year’s biggest snub, “Shame” didn’t receive any Oscar nominations despite a brilliant performance by Michael Fassbender as a man with a sex addiction.

The best picture nominees are: “The Artist,” “The Descendants,” “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” “The Help,” “Hugo,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Moneyball,” “Tree of Life” and “War Horse.”

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