Indie theaters around D.C. to catch this year’s Oscar-nominated films

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Suns Cinema, an unconventional independent movie theater, has mis-matched antique chairs for guests to sit in while watching the movie.

As the Oscars are just a few weeks away, carve out time to catch some of the nominated films in theaters.

We’ve compiled a list of independent movie theaters around D.C. where you can grab tickets to see some of the Oscar-nominated films this year. To catch a larger selection of the nominated films than the blockbusters available at Georgetown AMC, grab a date and head to a one-of-a-kind theater around the District this week.

Landmark Theaters
With multiple locations in D.C., Landmark screens a wide range of films from independent and foreign to Hollywood blockbusters. At the beginning of the pandemic, its E Street, Bethesda Row and Shaw locations all closed temporarily. Closest to campus, Landmark’s E Street Cinema at 555 11th St. NW was the last to reopen in September.

The screening rooms aren’t decked out with state-of-the-art reclining chairs like AMC, but they are reminiscent of how movie theaters used to look, which makes the experience even more enjoyable.

Landmark is running multiple Oscar nominations like “House of Gucci,” “Spiderman: No Way Home,” “The Hand of God” and “West Side Story.” And compared to AMC’s $15.29 tickets, adult tickets at Landmark are $7 on Mondays and Tuesdays, $11.50 on Wednesdays and Thursdays and $14 on Fridays and weekends.

If you get hungry during your screening, Landmark’s concession menu is packed with classic theater snacks like popcorn ($6.50 to $8.50), a long list of candies like M&Ms ($4) and nachos ($5.75). Or you can try out specialty concessions like sweet potato tater tots ($7.50) or Italian soda ($4.75).

Suns Cinema
You might not register it as a theater when you walk by the cozy Mount Pleasant townhouse that is Suns Cinema. This unconventional independent movie theater, located at 3107 Mt. Pleasant St. NW, opened in 2016 after the owners launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised $16,000.

The red and blue, arcade-like lights adorning the front of the townhouse and its signs welcome guests inside where eccentric decor like bright red wallpaper adorned with prints of zebras set the tone for your experience. Forget reclining chairs – Suns Cinema has a gallery of mis-matched antique chairs for guests to sit in while watching the movie.

Since this independent theater only runs one movie nightly, you may have to wait a while to snag a ticket. But before the Oscars at the end of next month, you can catch nominated films like “Dune,” which is nominated for 10 Oscars in categories like cinematography and best picture.

Before you settle in for the movie, hit up the bar for $13 specialty cocktails like the rootbeer negroni with gin, campari and cardamom bitters or the ‘Honey, I drunk the kids’ with bourbon, chamomile honey liqueur, lemon and soda.

Avalon Theater
Opening its doors in 1923, Avalon Theater originally screened only silent films and for many years hosted the Chevy Chase School of Music on its second floor. But today, Avalon specializes in independent and foreign films.

Located in the Chevy Chase neighborhood at 5612 Connecticut Ave. NW, Avalon Theater’s exterior is straight out of the movies, pun intended. A gold, metal overhang detailed with intricate molding covers the entrance and classic black marquee signs with adjustable white letters display movie times.

If you’re an Oscar buff or short-film fan, head over to Avalon Theater to watch a screening of its one of three Oscar-nominated short-film compilations, which are coming soon according to the website. The categories for this screening are documentary (160 minutes), live action (122 minutes) and animated (97 minutes). You can also catch “The Worst Person in the World,” up for an international feature film Oscar and an original screenplay writing Oscar.

The theater has an accompanying restaurant, The Avalon Café, and while the menu is not publicly listed, you can bring any food or beverage purchased into the theater, according to the website.

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center
More than just a movie theater, AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center hosts filmmaker interviews and panels, film discussions and live musical performances.

Take advantage of your U-Pass and head to Silver Spring, Maryland, where the theater is located at 8633 Colesville Rd. You won’t miss the huge pillar that sits on the theater’s entrance overhang spelling ‘Silver’ in neon electric letters. And inside there are three screening rooms, with the largest seating up to 400 guests.

You can also catch the same Oscar-nominated short film compilation screenings showing at Avalon Theater here along with a laundry list of other full-length nominated films like “King Richard,” “Drive My Car” and “The Lost Daughter.”

You can satisfy any food craving at the theater’s cafe, which sells your go-to movie snacks like popcorn, candy, hot dogs and pretzels along with other elevated options like paninis, wraps and cheese plates.

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