While the Oscars are often criticized, fairly or not, for nominating films that no one has seen, there are three categories among the 24 for which the Academy bestows awards that traditionally have been next to impossible to see: short films. But for the seventh year, “The Oscar Nominated Short Films” program will showcase the five films nominated in each of the animated, live-action and documentary shorts categories in more than 200 theaters around the country.

Animation and live-action will open in Los Angeles Feb. 10; docs will open Feb. 17.

DirecTV’s short-film channel ShortsHD, working with Magnolia Pictures, is spearheading the program, which generated $1.4 million in boxoffice last year and is expanding its screens this year. Since the theatrical event commenced in 2005, attendance has grown by 800%.

Three theatrical programs will give audiences around the country an opportunity to watch the nominated shorts prior to the 84th Academy Awards ceremony on Feb.26. This year will mark the second theatrical outing for the nominated documentary shorts, after an enthusiastic reception from audiences for last year’s inaugural run.

In Los Angeles, the animation and live-action films will open at West L.A.’s Landmark Nuart Theater and Regency Theaters South Coast Village in Costa Mesa on Feb. 10. Docs will open Feb. 17 at the Laemmle Music Hall 3. The run times are 110 minutes for live action, 80 minutes for animation and 130 minutes for documentaries. Each program is a separate ticket for admission.

Along with the theatrical run, the nominated short films will be released individually on iTunes in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany and other iTunes stores throughout the world on Feb. 21. The films will also be available on demand through cable providers Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Brighthouse, Cablevision and Cox Communication, as well as on the ShortsHD channel on DirecTV.