The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is the first museum in LA devoted to the city’s native industry, and the structure’s opening, delayed by the pandemic, is now set for September. Inside is the stuff that dreams are made of. Jacqueline Stewart, Chief Artistic and Programming Officer told me via Zoom that she hopes, “every visitor takes away from The Academy Museum an understanding of how much labor and love it takes to make films.”
The idea is to face history and ourselves, even when that might not be too comfortable. Stewart continued saying, “When we look at the history of filmmaking, we see tremendous artistry and accomplishment, and we also see traditions of misrepresentation and the hurt and harm those misrepresentations have created.”
For five years now, we have watched this museum take shape in LA’s Miracle Mile District. A building that once housed a department store (now called The Saban Building) is connected to a sphere designed by famed architect Renzo Piano. Two movies are inside the concrete globe and The Dolby Family Terrace sits on top with a striking view of the Hollywood sign.
“It’s almost hard to take it all in. It’s incredible,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson told me when she showed me around the construction site in 2018. Construction is now complete. Finishing touches are being applied to the galleries. Items like a pair of red slippers worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz” will be placed inside just before the opening. “This Museum is packed full of objects and information,” promised Ms. Stewart.
“How much of a part of this museum is the history of The Academy Awards?” I asked her. “How big a deal is Oscar in all of this?” She replied simply that, “Oscar plays a central role. We have an Academy Awards history gallery that features screens where we can see historic Oscar-winning speeches: Sidney Poitier for example and Marlee Matlin’s speech.”
During a recent Zoom call, the 1987 Oscar winner told me that she is, “just excited to go there. We get to share our vision through this museum. We get to share our thoughts on film.”
And…they’ve already begun sharing at virtual panel discussions like “Breaking The Oscars Ceiling” which is scheduled for Thursday. It features Whoopi Goldberg and Sophia Loren, among others. To find out how to see that for free, just log on here to register: https://www.academymuseum.org/en/programs/breaking-the-oscars-ceiling
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