The Oscars this weekend will honor movies that millions of people have seen this year. But while not everyone who enjoyed those movies could see the screen, technology enabling blind people to enjoy movies may soon be legally required at your local theater.

Kim Charlson loves going to the movies. Even though she can’t actually see what’s happening. Charlson lost her vision when she was 11 years old.

"Back then, the only description I would get was from mother or father, whispering and telling me what was happening," Charlson said. "And people around us would get annoyed."

Now Charlson’s an advocate for more accessible movies as the president of the American Council of the Blind.

"A lot of people will say, 'Well, why, why do you care about going to the movies? You’re blind, why do you need to have accessible movie experience?’" she said. "And I think what I’ve said all along is, 'Just think of your own life without movies.' And movies are such an important part of our culture and our society, it’s a social experience. And people who are blind want to have that same experience with their friends and family."

They can, thanks to audio technology she holds in her hands.

“I take the headphones and I put them on, so now I’m going to be listening for the description," she said.

In those headphones, a narrator tells her what’s happening on the screen. Here’s an example from "Grand Budapest Hotel":

Descriptive video service, or DVS, is narrated in the pauses, so that it doesn’t interfere with the dialogue.

Seven of the films nominated for Best Picture at this weekend’s Oscars offer audio description. Charlson says she appreciated it in "The Theory of Everything," which dramatizes physicist Steven Hawking’s story, as he faces the neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

"As the character has the disability progress, he speaks less, there’s more things happening visually, and the description was so important to really understanding the struggles he was going through as his disability progressed,” she said.

The audio description for "The Theory of Everything" was done by the Media Access Group at WGBH. Production manager Ira Miller says the group started doing audio descriptions for TV shows, and then did it’s first movie in 1997.

"In those early years, we did about six films a year," Miller said. "We had to prove the concept to the theater producers, theater owners, the movie companies."

Audio descriptions have become more common as movie theaters go digital. The descriptions can be embedded in the movie itself, only to be heard by people in the audience with transmitters.

"Today we’re doing over 100 films a year, working with all the major studios," Miller said.

Like this scene, from "Birdman":

The Department of Justice wants to require theaters to offer devices for audio descriptions and for closed captioning based on the number of seats.

“We’re just requiring them that when they offer a film that has captioning and audio description, they choose that version of the film, and then they provide the equipment for the customer to actually access those services,” said Eve Hill, deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Justice.

The DOJ estimates the cost ranges from $3,000 for each digital screens to $8,000 per analog screen.

The National Association of Theater Owners says the DOJ proposal is too expensive.

Juliet Goodfriend of the Bryn Mawr Film Institute says smaller, independent, theaters are especially concerned.

“For some of the independent theaters that have these big, old, marvelous movie palaces with 800 to 1,000 seats, you would think there would be a lot of people in them on many occasions, but that rarely happens that you fill up," Goodfriend said. "And even if you were to fill up, the concept that all of them would want hearing assistance is very unrealistic. Or any of these devices.”

The DOJ will issue a final rule in the fall. No matter what it winds up being, Charlson says accessibility should be standard practice for all movies.

"If accessibility can be part of the game plan right from the beginning, it’s going to benefit everybody," she said. "It will cost less money, it will be there for the community to use and to have access to the movies that are created, that are part of our culture, that everybody’s enjoying."

Watch the Greater Boston segment: