The Academy has finally built its museum. Will they come?

“It’s so shiny and new and huge!” Actress Anna Kendrick said at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures press conference on September 22. final pre-opening press conference after funding shortfalls, earthquake modernization, leadership reshuffles and a pandemic lockdown – before the museum opened on September 30, nearly four years after its date of opening initially planned (and very optimistic).

Speaking in the red plush round David Geffen theater, which the Academy says will attract several glitzy studio premieres (even if the bathrooms cross a glass walkway), Kendrick continued, “And it’s chock full of about 125 years worth of life changing ideas, dreams and cinematic experiences, and I can tell you that everyone who works in movies wants to see this place, and probably more, to be a part of it!

If the actress was giddy with excitement, she might have channeled the feelings of the Academy itself – although some of that energy could be sheer relief. Dawn Hudson, CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, spent a decade advancing this museum project at an official cost of around $ 484 million, well above the goal of $ 388 million.

“With our vast collections, the greatest film-related collections in the world,” said the beaming Hudson, “and our extraordinary members, who have first-hand knowledge of all aspects of cinema, we knew we could create a museum worthy from the movies themselves. And that vision was still in the air when I arrived at the Academy 10 years ago. But something had changed. Governing Council members knew the time to act was now. And so began the process of creating the real cinema museum.

Many moviegoers have devoured LACMA’s exhibitions dedicated to Tim Burton, Guillermo del Toro, and Stanley Kubrick, and the long-awaited museum will serve them well. It also comes at a time when two-hour movies don’t have the same cultural currency as limited series; when the theatrical experience is in decline for many moviegoers; and when movie studios are under duress as their parent companies turn to streaming.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Fairfax and Wilshire, Los Angeles

Iwan Baan, [email protected],

The Academy has spent nearly half a billion dollars to open its museum, but this is only the beginning. To financially support and maintain this magnificent building designed by Renzo Piano, the studio’s marketing teams will have to make the museum their preferred location for film premieres on the red carpet. I have heard that the Academy’s prices for the 1,000-seat Geffen Theater are of a standard worthy of its namesake; we don’t know how that will play out because the entertainment economy maintains films but invests in streaming. As the Academy – and everyone else – turns to a digital future, will its hard-earned museum reflect only the past?

Academy Museum Director and President Bill Kramer led the museum through to its final stages, taking over in October 2019 from first recruit Kerry Brougher and moving exhibitions away from deadlines and towards a thematic approach. more engaging. “We will be the first museum in the world dedicated to the art and science of cinema,” he said. “Visitors will have an unprecedented opportunity to explore all facets of cinema and to connect directly with the films that have left an indelible mark on their lives. And for filmmakers, we hope this museum becomes a hotbed of recognition, celebration and lasting discourse among those who make and appear in films. “

Also in attendance was Tom Hanks, one of the many hosts of the ABC special “A Night at the Academy Museum”, which airs on October 12. “Do we need a cinema museum?” he said. “Yes, because we have to celebrate all that this city has brought to the world and all that this art form has brought to the world in order to bring people together. Whether you watch a movie on the last of the surviving Cinerama screens or stream it at home – hopefully on a good TV screen with the right amount of lumens and the right sound system – the movies continue to be the place to be. magical art that speaks to everyone everywhere. And does this art deserve to be honored, explored and appreciated in a museum? Hope the question answers for itself!

The iconic ruby ​​slippers from “The Wizard of Oz”

Joshua White

Kramer also addressed the need to look at movie history in the context of his mistakes. “When we look at the history of cinema as an industry, we need to be clear, honest and transparent. When we claim that movies are a universal medium and that they can speak to everyone, we have to be able to support what we are saying, and if there has been a controversy, we have to explore it. And we do.

To this end, the Museum has relied on historian Jacqueline Stewart, who serves as the Academy’s artistic and programming director, and on an Inclusion Advisory Committee chaired by Academy member Effie T. Brown. Among the museum’s galleries are explorations of subjects such as “racist portrayals and transracial castings” and “the minstrel’s legacy in American animation”.

“We are committed to telling full, complicated stories,” Kramer told IndieWire. “This is our commitment… We cannot deprive ourselves of it. “

As for what’s on offer, the museum’s current repertoire schedule reflects current exhibits, including a Hayao Miyazaki retrospective, the Sundance escape “Real Women Have Curves” and Bruce Lee actor “The Way. of the dragon ”, as well as a series of Oscar horror contenders:“ Get Out ”,“ Pan’s Labyrinth ”and“ Psycho ”.

The permanent Stories of Cinema collection focuses on the trades of filmmaking, with the perfect drawing office from Disney Animation, and the work of ‘The Revenant’ cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, sound designer Ben Burtt (with a deconstruction of a scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” “), and Thelma Schoonmaker, longtime editor-in-chief of Martin Scorsese – all Oscar winners.

Antonio Banderas in “Pain and Glory” by Pedro Almodovar

Anne thomson

Also on display are Dorothy Gale’s blue and white gingham dress and her ruby ​​slippers (protected by a glass case), ET, R2D2, C-3PO, HR Giger’s terrifying “Alien”, the slotted spaceship in “2001 : A Space Odyssey ”, the Rosebud Sled from“ Citizen Kane ”, and the steps taken to design and execute ILM’s revolutionary blend of practical and visual effects in films such as“ Terminator 2: Judgment Day ”by James Cameron and “Jurassic Park” by Steven Spielberg.

Pedro Almodovar designed the exhibition in royal blue dedicated to his films, with key scenes and themes taking place on 12 giant screens. It covers the career beginnings of regulars such as Antonio Banderas (“Labyrinth of Passion”) and Penelope Cruz (“Live Flesh”) to their co-starring roles in Oscar nominated “Pain and Glory”. from Almodovar.

The matte paint of Mount Rushmore used in “North By Northwest”

Joshua White

My favorite exhibit was a dive into how Hitchcock had it called “Backdrop: An Invisible Art,” a double-height installation that features the matte paint of Mount Rushmore used in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller “North by Northwest, “with photos showing how the backdrop was used seamlessly and a video interview with production designer Robert F. Boyle, who put himself in danger climbing the South Dakota site to figure out what it is. ‘it was possible to reproduce on a platter.

If media interest was any indication, visitors will patiently line up for the immersive Oscars experience, which gives each person a burst of enthusiastic applause as they accept a (heavy) gold Oscar statue . The Academy’s history features memorable moments and speeches from the winners and 20 Oscar trophies starting with Best Cinematography for “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans” (1927) and ending with Barry’s Best Screenplay victory Jenkins for “Moonlight” (2016), with a handwritten congratulatory note from the memorably confused presenter Warren Beatty.

If only Piano didn’t like the popular nickname of his creation. “Please don’t call it the Death Star,” he said of the 300,000 square foot, seven story museum complex in Fairfax and Wilshire, with its sphere in concrete covered with glass and its roof terrace offering a breathtaking view of the Hollywood Hills. . He suggested a few alternatives: Airship? Flying ship? Soap bubble?

“But this soap bubble will never explode,” he said. “Don’t worry. It’s very well done. Thank you.”

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