They're the land mines in your Academy Awards office pool, hardly seen and blowing up in your face.
Short subjects. Three categories spoiling more Oscar nights for fans than Rob Lowe waltzing with Snow White.
Tampa Theatre is once again lending a hand in making your picks smarter.
Starting Feb. 10, the historic movie palace presents a rotation of shorts showcases: live action, animated and for the first time, documentary. The program continues through Feb. 28, two days after the 89th annual Academy Awards are presented in Hollywood.
The schedule varies daily, so visit tampatheatre.org for screening information.
Animated shorts get the most showcases (eight); documentary shorts the fewest (five). The live action shorts package will be shown seven times over the series. Live and animated packages also include several shorts that aren't Oscar nominated.
Among animated short nominees, Disney-Pixar's Piper is likeliest to be known to moviegoers. This wordless, photo-realistic tale of a beach bird learning to swim played before Finding Dory.
The longest animated nominee (34 minutes) is also the showcase's most adult. Pear Brandy and Cigarettes, tracing a friendship wrecked by drugs and violence, is "not appropriate for children" according to a news release. A parental guidance warning will be issued before it begins.
Live action nominees feature topical subjects like terrorism (Ennemis Interieurs), a homeless illegal immigrant (Silent Nights) and standing up to power (the Budapest drama Sing).
Oscar's short documentary finalists continue the ripped-from-headlines concept with topics of Afghan refugees (4.1 Miles), the Syrian civil war (Watani: My Homeland) and rescue volunteers in Aleppo (The White Helmets).
Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for Tampa Theatre members, seniors and military personnel with proper ID.
Now, if we can just get a little Oscars pool help with those pesky sound categories.
Contact Steve Persall at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.