Oscar winners to the fore in a packed weekend at Royston Picture Palace

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game - Credit: Archant

There’s a packed weekend of award winners and crowdpleasers in store at Royston Picture Palace.

The Bletchley Park codebreakers pore over an Enigma machine

The Bletchley Park codebreakers pore over an Enigma machine - Credit: Archant

First up on Friday night is The Imitation Game, in which Benedict Cumberbatch leads an impressive ensemble cast in the true Brit biopic about tragic genius Alan Turing.

As everyone knows now, but nobody knew at the time, Turing was the maths mastermind who helped crack the German Enigma code at Bletchley Park during the Second World War – a feat which is credited with shortening the conflict and saving millions of lives.

But while he was forced to keep his contribution to the war effort under wraps, he wasn’t able to hide his homosexuality.

Falling foul of the law which then made such behaviour illegal, he endured chemical castration rather than go to jail – and then committed suicide less than 10 years after the war was over.

You can catch the respectful movie version of this remarkable story at 7.30pm.

Next up on Saturday afternoon, with the Easter holiday family market in mind, you can catch Paddington, which was such a hit the last time it came to Royston that the Picture Palace team had to hurriedly arrange extra screenings.

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Michael Bond’s ursine hero from darkest Peru is lovingly transferred to the big screen, and again there’s a strong cast including Hugh Bonneville and Nicole Kidman, with Ben Whishaw providing Paddington’s voice.

Saturday evening offers another Brit biopic of sorts, and this one is garlanded with even more honours than The Imitation Game.

Eddie Redmayne took best actor honours at the Oscars for his tour de force turn as Professor Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, not so much a science lecture as a moving examination of a relationship under extraordinary pressure. It’s based on the book written by the prof’s first wife Jane, telling the story of their marriage and how they coped with his cruel motor neurone disease diagnosis and his determination to push the boundaries of human knowledge despite his disability.

And there’s another Oscar winner on Sunday afternoon, with a 5pm screening for Still Alice, which won Julianne Moore the best actress statuette at the same ceremony which honoured Eddie.

She plays a woman grappling with a diagnosis of early onset dementia, struggling to cope with her life slipping out of her control and realising that there’s no chance of a happy ending.

Some have said it’s a TV movie which found a cinema audience, but it’s a moving story told with sensitivity.

Check on ticket availability on the Picture Palace website