Catching Up on Oscar Bait


As the movie season at the Flint Institute of Arts winds down (and it does every spring), it takes time to catch up on some of the Academy Award-nominated work that you might have missed in commercial theaters or via streaming services.

Museum visitors in May will have the opportunity to experience Oscar-finalist emoting by Melissa McCarthy and Willem Dafoe, the Best Documentary nominee “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” or the Best Foreign Film nominees “Capernaum” and “Never Look Away.”

A McCarthy performance nominated for Best Actress highlights “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” – coming to the FIA’s Friends of Modern Art film series May 3-5. In a comedy based on a true story, McCarthy portrays a show-business journalist who resorts to artistic deception in the face of hard times. Abetting her fine, funny work is an Oscar-listed supporting performance by Richard E. Grant as the writer’s eccentric best friend.

Dafoe was nominated as Best Actor for his standout portrayal of the aging Vincent van Gogh in the drama “At Eternity’s Gate,” slated for an FIA run May 10-12. The film, from the accomplished French director, Julian Schnabel, covers a period of self-imposed exile by the artist in which he developed much of his personal style.

On the FIA screen May 16 and 18, “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” is an intimate, inspired view of a place and its people. It follows two young African-American men from rural Hale County in Alabama; the two travel widely divergent paths as they experience life’s joys and sorrows. Director RaMell Ross spent nearly a decade in the community living among his subjects and documenting a social construction of race. Film Threat has called the result “a film too real to be written.”

In Lebanon’s “Capernaum,” playing May 24-26, a 12-year-old boy serves a jail sentence for a violent crime. Toronto Star lauds the film as “an absolute heartbreaker about children in peril and the plight of undocumented people.”

The May 30 through June 2 FIA film selection is “Never Look Away,” an epic German romantic drama that follows a contemporary artist from his boyhood in Nazi times to a new life in the post-Cold War West.

In addition to the above core FIA films, the museum is collaborating with the Flint Jewish Federation for the 15th annual Karen Schneider Jewish Film Festival of Flint on May 19-23. The five-film event in the FIA Theater launches May 19 with a showing of the documentary “Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema.” Features from Israel, Canada, Hungary and Argentina are also part of the festival.

As always, information on all FIA screenings is available by visiting or calling 810.234.1695.

Photo: Willem Dafoe in “At Eternity’s Gate”


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